It’s clear that our technological and work environments are constantly evolving and, with this evolution, comes a new wave of advanced threats and risks.
Now more than ever, organisations, of all sectors and sizes, are on the receiving end of cyber security attacks.
According to gov.uk, nearly 40% of UK businesses were hit by a cyber-attack or breach last year, which may have increased due to the pandemic and firms not taking cyber security seriously.
Employing Security Operations Centre as a Service (SOCaaS) allows companies to consolidate their security tools, systems, and measures whilst monitoring and responding to all potential points of cyber threats and breaches.
What actually is SOC as a Service?
So, you may be wondering, what actually is SOC as a Service? Shortened even further, SOCaaS is a way for companies to outsource their security obligations to a third-party provider.
Rather than delegating the responsibilities to an in-house team, the external provider oversees security monitoring and defending the organisation from cyber security threats around the clock.
Why is SOCaaS so important?
The importance and popularity of SOCaaS is driven by the shift towards digital transformation and the growing demand for cloud-based comprehensive and managed threat detection and response systems.
The pandemic catalysed a shift towards remote working practices. Nowadays, hundreds of companies are increasingly mobile, and staff are able to access sensitive systems, data, and applications through cloud networks. These changes have yielded an impressive wave of cyber attacks and threats that many SMEs cannot afford to manage.
In other words, as workforces embrace digital transformation, cloud environment, and remote working practices, the parameter for potential cyber-attacks has also expanded. Now organisations must invest in monitoring tools for their on-premises and cloud-based network security systems.
Another key factor driving the demand for SOCaaS is the palpable discrepancy between an abundance of attacks and a lack of skilled staff. The surplus of cyber security issues has affected companies of all sizes and hence created a shortage in the availability of relevant talent.
Who can benefit from SOCaaS?
It could be argued that small businesses benefit the most from SOCaaS, as they require providers to fulfil all types of SOC functions. However, large organisations can also reap the benefits of SOCaaS analysts as they partner with providers to enhance their internal teams.
Smaller companies typically require insight and guidance about their security practices whereas larger enterprises expand their competence around more complex notions, such as risk and edge security.
Medium-sized companies tend to fall somewhere in between these two extremities. Therefore, a comprehensive security operations centre (SOC) provider is something businesses of all sizes can benefit from.
Advantages of SOCaaS
There are many benefits that SOCaaS can bring to you and your business, which are explained below.
Access to paramount security expertise
SOCaaS providers offer round-the-clock networking monitoring and defence from a highly skilled and specialised team of security experts and talent, including malware analysts, cloud security architects, and incident responders. This improves the detection of security events and incident response times whilst reducing the potential impact of security compromises or threats.
Sophisticated use of Artificial Intelligence
Many SOCaaS providers use artificial intelligence to develop their continual assistance, detection, and protection services. This cost-efficient technology reduces the possibility of human error and enhances the decision-making process by quickly providing relevant cyber security solutions. Machine learning and AI allows organisations to keep up with the speed and volume of modern threats with improved efficiency.
Modern and updated security practices
Not only will your SOCaaS provider handle any incoming threats but they will also evaluate the effectiveness of your existing strategies and systems to improve your security practices. This helps mitigate the risk of future cyber security attacks and provides cutting edge security to your company.
Enhanced and uninterrupted security staffing
Given the lack of access to cyber security staffing, many organisations may find it difficult to retain qualified and skilled talent. Employing a third-party provider ensures your company can benefit from an enhanced and uninterrupted stream of security personnel.
Wealth of security knowledge
Organisations in the SOCaaS sector have access to a wealth of security knowledge that can often take years, if not decades, to accumulate. Companies can benefit from a mature cyber security program and yield the maximum value from their existing security systems.
Reduced costs of security operations
Employing an external provider to manage your security operations centre reduces both the cost of security management and the financial impact of security incidents. With a fixed, or albeit predictable, cost, you can cover the cost of equipment, licences, and cyber security payroll.
Challenges of SOCaaS
There are clearly many advantages that SOCaaS can bring, but as with anything, there are also some challenges you should consider.
Time-consuming onboarding process
The onboarding process, such as deploying and configuring security stacks, can be rather time-consuming, which creates a vulnerable gap in the organisations’ security network. This is because time is spent configuring and updating security systems, increasing the chances of new attacks happening.
The onboarding process, such as deploying and configuring security stacks, can be rather time-consuming. The time spent updating new security stacks could also create a gap in the organisation’s security network, making it more prone to cyber-security attacks.
Transfer of sensitive data
In order to mitigate potential threat intelligence, you must grant your SOCaaS provider access to large hauls of sensitive data, which could generate added risk.
Changing regulatory compliance
Regulatory environments are constantly in flux, meaning organisations must continuously update their policies to comply with new rulings. When employing a third-party provider, you must trust them with these vital responsibilities.
What a typical process might include
The security operations centre definition encompasses all types of cyber security threats. Like any traditional Managed Security Service (MSS), SOCaaS can monitor and manage intrusion detection systems, virtual private networks, firewalls, antivirus systems, anti-spam systems, as well as your endpoint detection, protection, and response.
However, SOCaaS also provides 24/7 access to a security team of experts to identify, resolve, and analyse any indicators of compromise. Not only will it respond to attacks, but it will also analyse them, minimising the impact of these security incidents.
Furthermore, this cloud-hosted service can help organisations optimise their protection, detection, and response capabilities by conducting continual assessments and reports on their security strategies and policies. In essence, SOCaaS focuses on being proactive, not reactive.
In this blog, we’ve covered the security operations centre definition, its importance in our current environment, the advantages, and the challenges of employing this service. Although organisations of all sizes can benefit from SOCaaS, it is extremely useful for smaller to medium-sized enterprises.
The need to rethink cyber security strategies and policies cannot be understated, especially for SMEs that need to rapidly adapt to the ever-evolving technological landscape. The proliferation of internet usage, remote working, and cloud-based technologies, coupled with a lack of skilled talent has ultimately driven the demand for SOC as a service.