A successful cyberattack can be crippling to an organization. Lost sales, service disruptions, regulatory fines, falling share price, brand damage, and stolen intellectual property are all common consequences.
Today’s threat actors, including cybercriminals, nation states, hacktivists and insiders, are highly motivated. They have the expertise, are armed with a constantly evolving set of tools, and can exploit a range of vulnerabilities to bypass existing defenses and accomplish their objectives.
Most CIOs now accept that a breach is not an “if”, but a “when”. And although breaches can happen very quickly, they can take many months to detect. The longer it takes to detect it, the more expensive and damaging it can be. This is why many organizations have established a security operations center (SOC) as a core part of their cyber attack protection strategy.
A SOC is a team of security and threat experts tasked with a range of responsibilities that typically includes managing security devices, 24/7 monitoring, incident response, threat intelligence, threat hunting, vulnerability management, information assurance, and risk and compliance support.
There are several key trends that are highlighting the importance of a “modern” 24/7 SOC, one that leverages data science and automation, and cloud computing to better handle today’s IT realities and threat landscape:
- Data Sources: The adoption of cloud (SaaS/IaaS) and IoT/OT is forcing SOCs to figure out how they can quickly and readily monitor these, and a growing list of other data sources, to find evidence of hidden threats in an environment.
- Data Volume: The rapid growth in the volume of security telemetry and other relevant data and contextual information, along with the growing cost of a breach, has magnified the importance of understanding the detection value of different data sources and the need to apply ML, data science and automation to more quickly sift through all the noise to find real threats and respond to them.
- Proactive Security: The value of threat hunting—for identifying gaps in security controls and sensor coverage, injecting a greater level of threat intelligence into existing security processes, validating and enhancing existing detection capabilities, detecting previously undetected attacks, and supporting incident response and forensics and as a source of new rules for automatically detect similar threats when they occur again—has become more widely recognized.
- Skills Shortage: The global skills shortage has made it more difficult than ever to staff a modern SOC, and underscored the importance of using existing security analysts and other resources as efficiently as possible.
- Work Anywhere: The pandemic has highlighted the need for a modern SOC to be able to operate remotely, from the cloud, enabling the team to work anywhere without disruption.
Unfortunately, the time, cost and expertise required to build, staff and operate a modern 24/7 SOC is beyond the means of most organizations. And those that already have a SOC, or rely on a managed security service provider for these functions, are trying to figure out how to cost-effectively modernize it, to address the trends noted above. Thankfully, there’s a new approach that can address the needs of both types of enterprises. It’s called SOC-as-a-Service, or SOCaaS.
SOCaaS becomes an organization's modern SOC. Like so many other technologies and services these days, it is delivered from the cloud, and it addresses each of the trends noted above. The vendor’s team of skilled cyber experts—data scientists and engineers, security analysts, incident responders, threat hunters and researchers—leverage a modern technology platform to provide around the clock monitoring for threats. They operate as a seamless, remote extension to the customer’s IT and security team, constantly communicating with it to collaborate on the end-to-end investigation and response process and to continually elevate the organization’s security posture and resilience.
The SOCaaS platform is really the key to being able to intelligently process and correlate data and telemetry from across the enterprise, including on-premises, remote, datacenter, multi-cloud and IOT/OT environments, to quickly and consistently find the threats that warrant deeper human investigation. The platform combines essential SOC technologies—SIEM, data lake, data science/ML, user entity behavior analytics (UEBA), security orchestration automation and response (SOAR), a threat intelligence platform (TIP), case management, and persona-based dashboards—into a single, unified SaaS that is constantly updated with new rules and features.
SOCaaS, with predictable and flexible billing options, can often be operational in a few weeks. There’s no staff to hire, no technology to license or integrate, and it leaves organizations to focus on other security priorities. Customers get peace of mind knowing that a team of professionals equipped with the right tools is continuously on the lookout for anything suspicious that might get past their other defenses, and leave them scrambling to defend themselves.
Proactive security leaders are now exploring modern SOCaaS to augment their existing security team and strategy. It can help better manage and reduce cyber risk and meet compliance requirements, while improving SOC efficiency, reducing costs and overall resilience. And, it can help ensure they don’t end up as headline news because of a successful cyberattack.