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What Is SOC-as-a-Service? Benefits & Best Practices Explained

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A 24/7 security operations center (SOC) has long been considered an essential part of an effective cybersecurity strategy. However, SOC implementations tend to be very complex and expensive, putting a modern SOC out of reach for many companies. It can take years to simply become operational, with costs in the millions.

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And despite best efforts and money spent, a Ponemon Report found that only 42% of organizations rate their SOC as highly effective. For these reasons, companies are increasingly turning to SOC-as-a-Service providers to carry out critical security functions, including 24/7 threat monitoring and response.

What Is SOC-as-a-Service?

SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) is a subscription-based model for managed threat detection and response that brings a best-in-class security operations center within the reach of every business.

SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) is a subscription-based model for managed threat detection and response that brings a best-in-class security operations center within the reach of every business.

SOCaaS delivers all of the benefits of a dedicated 24/7 SOC, but without the high costs, complexity, and frustrations that come with building, staffing, and managing one in-house. With a managed SOC service, organizations are able to outsource the people, processes, and technology needed for a SOC, which is operated and managed offsite and delivered as a cloud-based service.

Organizations of all sizes need defenses and expertise that allow them to monitor for threats day and night. SOC-as-a-Service provides an avenue for organizations to gain an end-to-end detection and response solution designed to account for today’s SOC challenges and at a manageable price point.

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What Are the Benefits of SOC-as-a-Service?

SOC-as-a-Service goes beyond what traditional managed security service providers (MSSPs) and managed detection and response (MDR) vendors have on offer. Legacy MSSPs aren’t positioned to offer advanced security operations center (SOC) capabilities for threat detection and response. SOCaaS has some crossover with MDR, but provides a more comprehensive, flexible, transparent, and, most importantly, more effective approach to threat detection and response.

SOC-as-a-Service brings a number of benefits, including:

  1. Faster detection and remediation: SOC-as-a-Service providers reduce the burden on in-house security teams. They monitor security 24/7 and use automation and data science to speed up detection and deliver high-confidence alerts. Higher-confidence alerts mean faster and more efficient detection and remediation.
  2. Lower cyber risk: Working with a SOC-as-a-Service provider reduces the risk of a breach and the probability of incurring costs (legal fees, regulatory fines, customer service costs, etc.) and brand damage associated with a successful attack.
  3. Enhanced business agility and scalability: Between IoT, remote work, acquisitions, and service expansions, businesses are growing and changing more quickly than ever. SOC-as-a-Service supports secure growth, since businesses can alter and scale their outsourced SOC consumption as needed for their priorities.
  4. Cost reduction: Companies pay for SOC-as-a-Service as a monthly operating expense, based only on consumption. For the majority of businesses, this is more cost-effective than the capital and operating expenses for establishing and staffing an on-premise SOC.

What Types of Organizations Benefit from SOC-as-a-Service?

Organizations of all types and sizes can benefit from SOC-as-a-Service. When getting started, the first question to ask is “what stage is my security currently at?” Whether you’re looking to launch your SOC, pivot your SOC, or elevate your SOC, the below chart highlights the key areas where SOC-as-a-Service plays a role.

Cysiv SOC Stage

Why Choose SOC-as-a-Service Over Build Your Own?

Choosing whether to build your own on-premise security operations center or to outsource it to a company specializing in SOC-as-a-Service is a critical decision. An effective SOC is the heart of an organization’s security, operating 24/7 to detect and prevent threats before they cause damage as well as enabling a quick response in the event an attack is able to bypass security controls.

There are a number of key considerations when deciding whether to operate your own on-premise SOC or to partner with an enterprise SOC-as-a-Service provider. 

1. Technology

A SIEM forms the technological backbone of the SOC. But, as the threat landscape changes, organizations often have to layer on new tools. Over time, it becomes a patchwork: difficult to manage, and difficult to extract meaningful security insight from. Procuring, deploying, configuring, integrating, updating, and maintaining the various products required to operate an effective SOC is expensive; data collection, storage, and licenses can add to costs of an on-premises SOC. 

2. People 

Nearly 80% of organizations don't have enough analysts to run their SOC. Beyond analysts, recruiting qualified experts in threat hunting, incident response, security engineering and more is difficult. According to the November, 2019 “Cybersecurity Workforce Study” by (ICS)2, there are 561,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in North America alone, 4 million worldwide. An additional challenge is the rate of turnover. In addition to analysts, and depending on the size and sophistication of SOC you think you’ll need, you’ll also have to find data scientists and engineers, threat hunters and researchers, and someone to manage the whole team. SOC experts are hard to find and harder to keep, which means you’ll need to constantly be recruiting, on-boarding, and training new team members.

3. Compliance & certification

Data privacy and protection is a business imperative. Organizations must maintain high standards to prevent a breach. A SOC must be aligned with ISO 27001 or SOC II Type 2, and certain industries also have to consider other regulations or frameworks like HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, PCI DSS, and NIST. Achieving and demonstrating compliance on an on-going basis can be a time-consuming and expensive process that needs to be factored into the total cost of ownership for a SOC.

4. Effectiveness 

According to Ponemon, “SOCs that are highly effective cost an average of $3.5 million versus $1.96 million if the SOC has very low effectiveness.” But, effectiveness requires more than funding. It requires the right people, processes, and tools to detect, investigate, triage, and remediate threats. These threats constantly evolve, meaning staff must constantly learn and tools require regular review and updating. It takes effort and human knowledge to run a powerful, capable SOC.

5. Facilities

Traditionally, a security operations center (SOC) is a dedicated office space where experts work and collaborate together. The cost of acquiring, fitting and securing a space, with room for enough staff with 24/7 HVAC, can be significant.

Why Cysiv SOC-as-a-Service?

Cysiv is a pioneer in the field of SOC-as-a-Service and has been recognized as a vendor in the Gartner 2021 Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response, the Gartner 2020 Market Guide for Managed Security Services, and been recognized as a top provider by analyst firm, KuppingerCole.

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“We’ve always believed that a robust, cloud-native next-gen SIEM platform that is powered by data science, automation and a blend of threat detection techniques, and is operated 24/7 by a team of experts, would be a dramatic improvement over traditional SIEMs that are plagued by high costs, complexity and often aren’t monitored,” said Partha Panda, Cysiv CEO. 

Cysiv SOC-as-a-Service provides:

  • A modern, cloud-native SaaS platform that accelerates, and improves the effectiveness of, threat detection, hunting, investigation, triaging, case management, and remediation
  • A team of experts that operate as an extension to your security operations team
  • Comprehensive and timely threat intelligence and research
  • Incidence response services and professionals
  • Security device deployment, monitoring and management
  • Maturity and repeatability through SLAs, runbooks, and playbooks
  • ISO 27001 and SOC II Type 2 certification

Choosing whether to build your own on-premise SOC or to outsource it to a company specializing in SOC-as-a-Service is an important decision. If you’re interested in learning more, download our white paper for a complete look at current SOC challenges and an overview of Cysiv SOC-as-a-Service.