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The Security Operations Centre is critical to maintaining a successful security posture.

In this blog, we outline the benefits of opting for a managed SOC instead of setting up and running your own in-house SOC.

 

What is a SOC?

Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a facility in which a dedicated team maintains and improves an organisation’s cyber security. The team is usually made up of specialists such as incident responders, security analysts and engineers, and is responsible for monitoring cloud and on-premises infrastructure 24/7. The SOC is also responsible for continuously configuring and managing all security technologies deployed to detect and respond to potential security incidents.

A Managed SOC service provides a hassle-free and cost-effective option for organisations that lack the necessary resources to build their own in-house SOC. By deploying, configuring and maintaining your security products and providing the security experts, threat intelligence and automated actions needed to hunt for threats 24/7, an outsourced SOC reduces the complexity of managing disparate security technologies and provides the threat notification and remediation advice needed to respond effectively to attack.

 

Reasons to use a managed SOC

The advantages of a managed SOC include:

Reduced stress on internal IT teams

Internal IT teams are often burdened with maintaining security alongside other network management and maintenance responsibilities. Many security systems generate a large volume of alerts and, without a team of specialists dedicated to investigating them, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and experience cyber security alert fatigue. Using a managed SOC service reduces the day-to-day pressures on your IT team and can also help to lower instances of employee burnout.

Better return on investment

Many businesses are seeking more effective ways to proactively hunt for and eliminate threats. However, despite the importance of mitigating against serious financial and reputational damage, the cost of setting up an in-house SOC means that this is often only an option for very large organisations.

Research shows that the more effective the SOC, and the more comprehensive its security coverage, the more the cost increases. However, even when organisations make that investment, only 50% rate their in-house SOC as being effective, according to research by Devo Technology and the Ponemon Institute. Beyond this, just 24% of organizations say that they can resolve security incidents within hours or even days. For organisations without the budget and resources to build an in-house operation, a managed SOC provides a more consistent option and a better return on investment.

More effective tracking of mean time to detect (MTTD)

MTTD, the average time it takes to identify that a cyber breach has taken place, is an important measure in cyber security. When an organisation suffers multiple breach incidents over time, it is possible to use the data to calculate an average figure for the amount of time each discovery takes. However, in reality, while most security staff are confident in their ability to detect cyber threats, far fewer have a realistic understanding of how long detection actually takes. This is a serious issue for organisations that seek to constantly improve their ability to respond to and detect issues. In a managed SOC, this type of key detection management and measurement is done for you, providing better insight and enhanced cyber security.

Continually updated security insight and technology

By harnessing a combination of prevention, detection and deception technologies, as well as a range of in-house and external cyber threat intelligence sources, a SOC should have the capacity to detect threats across an organisation’s networks and endpoints. The security technologies managed by SOCs include endpoint detection and Response (EDR), security information and event management (SIEM), extended detection and response (XDR) security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), vulnerability scanning and many others. However, gaining and maintaining consistent visibility into all these types of technologies concurrently and ensuring that they are kept up to date is challenging for organisations to achieve in-house. A managed SOC reduces the complexity of managing disparate security technologies by deploying, configuring and managing chosen security tools around the clock.

Continually updated threat intelligence

Access to the latest threat intelligence and the capacity to incorporate it into the threat detection process is critical to the success of a SOC. However, achieving this within your organisation can be complex and time-consuming. An effective managed SOC has the capacity to gather the latest intelligence, such as indicators of compromise, and harness this information to enhance the effectiveness of detection systems and processes. This insight can be gained through sources such as intelligence-sharing partnerships, internal cyber research and red team insight. While achieving this internally can be challenging, a good managed SOC service should include regularly updated threat intelligence.

Specialist knowledge and skills

A wide range of employees with diverse skill sets is essential to ensure that a SOC has both the capacity and capability to function consistently – all day, every day. From cyber security analysts to engineers to cyber incident responders, a diverse array of skills is required to ensure the ongoing success of a SOC. However, it isn’t always easy to find the specialist staff required for continuous monitoring, comprehensive data analysis and incident response. To ensure ongoing protection, organisations need a minimum of 10 employees to cover three eight-hour shifts a day, 24/7/365. For very large enterprises, this figure can rise to 30 or more.

With the global skills shortage persisting, it can be expensive to recruit, retain and continuously train staff for a SOC’s successful operation. Even when they do find and hire the right people, organisations are also under pressure from high SOC staff turnover caused by burnout and stress, particularly when coordinating a 24/7 shift rotation. A managed SOC service will have the right specialists in place, removing the effort and complexity of recruiting and retaining them yourself.

 

Selecting the right support for your organisation

SOC services are available in a number of forms, including SOC-as-a-service, virtual SOC and managed SOC. The range of options means that it can be challenging to differentiate between services and identify the right provider. Before reaching out to a vendor, ensure that you have a clear idea of the type and level of support you need, such as cloud monitoring or incident response assistance.

Many organisations are now opting for advanced detection and response capabilities from providers of Managed Detection and Response (MDR). This type of service offers a complete turnkey approach – providing the people, tools and intelligence needed to hunt for, disrupt and contain cyber threats – including the support of an external SOC staffed by security experts 24/7/365.

 

How Kroll can help

Our award winning MDR service supplies the people, technology and cyberoffensive intelligence required to hunt for threats across your organisation’s networks & endpoints and helps shut them down before they cause damage and disruption.

Learn about our MDR service