Cybersecurity is not a one-person job. Rapidly expanding networks and sophisticated threats require round-the-clock cybersecurity operations. But establishing an efficient cybersecurity team in-house is not an easy task. This is why managed SOCs have become highly sought-after services in the security industry.
If you’re curious about managed SOC (also called SOC as a service), you’ve clicked on the right link. This blog contains the A-To-Z of fully managed SOCs. Find out the function and benefits of managed SOC services for your business, and bust common myths surrounding outsourced SOCs.
To get to a comprehensive discussion on managed SOCs, we need to first talk about SOCs in general. So, let’s start there.
Table of Contents
What Is A Security Operation Center?
A security operations center (SOC) is a team of IT security professionals responsible for all cybersecurity processes in an organization. They monitor the organization’s complete IT infrastructure in real-time, detect security events as soon as possible, and effectively respond to them to ensure minimal damage. The SOC team also implements, operates, and manages all aspects of the organization’s security solutions. That includes fine-tuning and reconfiguring cybersecurity technologies constantly to maintain optimal performance.
Establishing a security operations center ensures your organization’s cybersecurity operations are conducted in a centralized and coordinated manner. Having clear objectives and goals is crucial for efficiency. SOCs are the best way to achieve a policy-oriented and well-planned approach to organizational cybersecurity processes.
Security operations centers are usually headed by a CISO (chief information security officer) who oversees the entire organization’s IT and cybersecurity requirements by developing, implementing, and enforcing company-wide security policies. The SOC manager runs the team and coordinates all operations. In pivotal roles, SOC teams also consist of security analysts, security engineers, and threat hunters. The size of SOC teams depends on the organization’s size and requirements. Some SOCs also include forensic investigators.
Managed SOC – The New Age Deployment Model
Managed SOCs are IT cybersecurity services outsourced to third-party service providers who perform security monitoring, threat analysis, detection, and response for the organization. It is a subscription-based model where external cybersecurity experts are entrusted with managing certain security operations.
We live in the era of cloud computing, where dynamic businesses are constantly looking for low-commitment and cost-effective cybersecurity operations. Managed SOCs are the perfect solution fit for this space.
When Do You Need A Managed SOC?
Security posture is a serious concern for organizations, and of course, every company wants top-tier security professionals and solutions. But creating in-house SOCs is fraught with challenges and barriers. If your organization faces the following issues in developing an internal SOC, you should consider the managed SOC option.
- You have limited internal security capabilities and expertise.
- You don’t have a big enough budget for significant capital investment.
- Establishing an internal SOC takes too long.
- Internal SOCs are inflexible and difficult to scale.
What Does A Managed SOC Do?
SOC-as-a-service providers undertake a wide range of cybersecurity functions and responsibilities. Here are the highlights of all the duties SOCs perform.
1. Round-the-clock monitoring
Managed SOCs monitor the organization’s entire IT infrastructure for signs of suspicious activities or known anomalies. The monitoring scope includes all endpoints, applications, system software, and cloud workloads.
2. Log management
Aggregating, normalizing, and analyzing log data from every network event is a core function of monitoring. Analyzing regular log data helps SOC teams establish a baseline level of activities, which reveals behavioral anomalies in the infrastructure.
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is the central solution for automating real-time monitoring and log management. SIEM tools are a central technology for most SOC teams.
Suggested reading: What is SIEM(Security Information & Event Management)?
3. Threat detection
Within cybersecurity analysis, false positives create a lot of distracting noise. A significant task for SOC analysts is to differentiate the real alerts from all the noise and identify actual threats. Modern SOC teams incorporate machine learning and AI capabilities that process data intuitively to detect potential threats and eliminate non-essential alerts.
4. Incident Response
When an actual security event occurs, the SOC is responsible for accurately responding and limiting the damage. SOC teams perform various functions within the large scope of threat response, including:
- Root-cause investigation
- Isolating compromised files and endpoints
- Rerouting network traffic away from the compromised area
- Deleting damaged files
- Resetting passwords for all users
5. Remediation and recovery
The story doesn’t end with threat response actions. After a security incident is contained, SOCs focus on recovery and remediation. Wiping and restoring the impacted devices, restoring network traffic, and restarting closed-off applications and processes are part of the remediation process.
6. Compliance management
The SOC’s primary responsibility is to ensure all security applications and processes follow data privacy regulations like GDPR, PCI DSS, and HIPAA. SOCs also perform post-incident compliance responsibilities like notifying users, regulators, and law enforcement and preparing incident data for evidence and auditing.
7. Maintenance and upkeep
The “install it and forget about it” approach doesn’t work with security tools and solutions. SOC teams regularly monitor security tools to ensure effectiveness and optimum performance. They apply software patches, edit whitelists and blacklists, and update security policies and procedures.
8. Regular assessments
Regular vulnerability assessments are like health checks for your IT infrastructure. SOC teams conduct comprehensive vulnerability and risk scanning to identify potential threats and gaps in the current security posture.
The Benefits Of Managed SOCs
Organizations can leverage the capabilities of managed security service providers and take their security posture to the next level. Along with the functions discussed above, managed SOCs add a lot of extra value to an organization’s cybersecurity processes.
1. Access to global expertise
The cybersecurity skills gap makes hiring skilled professionals extremely difficult. Organizations with a managed SOC get instant access to a whole team of dedicated security experts. Managed SOC teams consist of experienced security engineers, analysts, and threat responders with world-class knowledge. Hiring security experts of the same caliber for in-house teams is almost impossible.
A security operations center is made of multiple tools and technologies, and none of them come cheap. When creating an internal SOC, organizations need to pay for the procurement, implementation, and licensing of each aspect of the SOC. On top of that, a contingent of security personnel is required for 24/7 monitoring and real-time analysis. Managed SOCs provide this entire package on a subscription model. It eliminates capital expenditure and dramatically reduces operational costs as well.
3. Increased customer trust
When customers find out your organization has a dedicated security operations center, they immediately trust you with their data. It signifies to stakeholders that your organization prioritizes cybersecurity and data protection.
4. Quick deployment
With managed SOC, there is no need to build the SOC infrastructure from scratch. They can be deployed in about a month, which is quicker than in-house SOC deployment. In-house SOCs can take several quarters to become fully functional.
5. Reduced complexities
Operating an in-house SOC is a complex process. Designing, implementing, configuring, testing, maintaining, operating, and optimizing the SOC infrastructure is a resource-intensive process. It’s not something most enterprises are capable of doing on their own. Managed SOC providers simplify this process by undertaking these tasks on behalf of the organizations.
It’s NOT Risky To Outsource Your SOC
Many decision-makers worry that outsourcing SOC operations will lead to loss of control or sensitive data exposure. These worries keep CISOs from partnering with managed SOC providers. But these concerns don’t always apply.
As an organization, you retain ultimate responsibility for your cybersecurity. Managed SOC teams provide dashboards that give you real-time information about what’s happening in your network. When there is a threat or a network breach, you are notified and given all the feedback at the highest priority. Depending on the SLA with the provider, you can take action as you see fit or give authorization to the provider’s threat response team to act on your behalf.
Several organizations also worry about handing over their sensitive files and data to a third-party service provider. But this is an unfounded concern. When you outsource your SOC, your data remains with your organization. SOC teams, during monitoring, look at the metadata and not the content of the files. Managed SOC providers are specialized in maintaining data security as per regulations. Although, to be on the safe side, check the compliances and certifications of the provider.
Effective cybersecurity requires specialized and round-the-clock focus, which most organizations are incapable of providing. Managed SOCs are essential for organizations that need enhanced security operations but lack internal capabilities and large enough budgets to establish in-house SOCs.
Managed SOCs provide world-class security expertise with the added benefit of cost-effectiveness. If you want enhanced security operations, accelerated threat detection, and on-point remediation, you need to consider partnering with a managed SOC provider without delay.
ACE Managed Security Services provides a 24x7x365 security operations center, where security experts ensure round-the-clock monitoring of your network and in-depth analysis. ACE’s team of experts and CISOs enable a proactive approach to cybersecurity for organizations that value instant threat responses and intelligent threat hunting.
While you consider the next step in strengthening your security posture, are you addressing the existing vulnerabilities in your network? A single zero-cost security consultation with ACE experts will highlight the gaps in your security.
To stay ahead of advanced cyberattacks, book a free security consultation today!