Cygilant Blog

Managed SOC: A Beginner's Guide to a Security Operations Center

Posted by Justin Quinn on Jan 9, 2019

SOC as a service is now a fully realized and effective way to protect SMBs from a cyber attack.

Keep reading to find out how you can benefit from SOC-as-a-Service.


What is a Security Operations Center?

A SOC is a centralized command center for your organization's cybersecurity needs. It is a 24/7 capability staffed with cybersecurity experts to monitor your security posture and identify potential threats.

The most important purpose of the SOC is to centralize all cybersecurity operations. It removes the vulnerabilities that come from having several siloed IT security experts in different areas of your business. It also makes sure that all operating procedures are being carried out correctly in real time.

Another important purpose of a SOC is the ability of our "people" to fine tune our service and filter out false positives. We will only escalate incidents/alerts that are concerning to the client based on their specific needs.


The Importance of Processes and Automation

Don't think that just because you purchased the newest and most high-end security software that your company is safe. Deploying, properly configuring and tuning security software solutions to deliver on the promise of reducing cyber risks requires specific skills and commitment

The importance of adopting proper security processes applies to both everyday users and cybersecurity professionals.The first step in protecting your organization from a cyber attack is instilling a security-first mindset in all your employees. They need to know the proper steps to take in both everyday operations and emergencies. 

Having a fully implemented SOC means that there are clear procedures in place for any foreseeable incident. This helps you avoid the initial panic and flurry of activity that comes from trying to 'figure things out.' There are clear lines of command for all incidents, and effective response procedures are already laid out.

Having well thought out security processes in place gives your responses a degree of automation. Having security maturity is much better for overall preparedness than simply having the best software on the market, but that is not delivering value.


How to Choose Between Providers

Not all SOC service providers are the same. Before you sign any agreement, you need to make sure they meet all your needs.

At a minimum, they should provide services relating to:

  • 24x7 Security Monitoring
  • Vulnerability Management
  • Patch Management
  • Compliance Reporting
  • Advisory services

Many SOC providers don't offer the full range of services you'll need for total security.


Why You Should Use SOC as a Service

There are significant costs involved in building a SOC from scratch. These come down to things like physical capital, software, and human costs. These costs don’t take into account the cost of the frequent upgrades to both the processes and equipment needed to stay up to date.

Just building a SOC can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. You need a properly outfitted space with expensive equipment to monitor all your network traffic. You also need to plan for a constantly changing security and threat landscape.

Employing cybersecurity professionals can be even more expensive in the long term than SOC technology. Quality IT professional commands a fairly high salary, and specialized cybersecurity experts are even more costly. Add in benefits, raises, and the cost of education and training to keep security professionals current with threats and technologies and you've got a very expensive proposition.

Putting aside the cost of hiring a full-time staff for your SOC, just finding qualified cybersecurity professionals is proving to be extremely difficult for many organizations. Industry estimates predict that by 2021 there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions. Not only does this make staffing your jobs a huge challenge, but scarcity also makes good cybersecurity professionals even more expensive..

With the high value placed on their skills, you can expect  significant churn among your engineers. Once you add in the cost of frequent software updates and training for everyday employees, SOC as a service becomes an attractive idea for many organizations.


What SOC Service Providers Do

A SOC as a service provider gives you a well thought out and fully realized system right out of the gate (remember, implementation is one of the most expensive steps when dealing with any project).

SOC-as-a-Service providers also will provide you cybersecurity staff who will monitor your systems and stay up-to-date with the cyber threatscape. They also can provide guidance on patches for any system that has a vulnerability before it becomes an issue. Prevention is far, far less expensive than remediation in these cases.

In the event of a major incident having a SOC-as-a-Service allows you to respond immediately. Your team is already there and working on an issue as it takes place. There's no need to call in extra personnel in a rush or try and generate on the fly responses.

If you do experience a major breach, with a SOC-as-a-service, your provider should have the ability to rapidly scale up your remediation in a matter of hours. This flexibility is one of the best benefits of using a a SOC as a service.

Lastly, a substantial financial benefit of using a SOC as a Service and cybersecurity experts from a provider is that costs are in the form of monthly or annual operating expense (OPEX) subscriptions, rather than requiring capital expenses to purchase technology.


Remember, Cybersecurity is a Mindset

The best systems and engineers in the world will only be as effective as the weakest link in a system. Make sure your SOC as a service provider can give you fully realized security plans for your entire organization. Having improved security processes will greatly reduce the risk of breach or cyber-attack. 

If you would like to learn more about outsourcing your organization's security operations center, contact us here for more information.


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Tags: SOC as a Service

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