What is Managed SOC and why should you care?
Rowan Troy, senior security consultant at Littlefish shares his thoughts about the benefits of using a SOC
It’s a truth often repeated by those in the cyber security sphere, that the number of cyber-attacks across all industries is rising and that the financial impact continues to accumulate. It’s one of those things we hear so often; I worry there’s a risk of readers becoming indifferent to it.
Sadly, though, 2023 looks set to follow a similar – if not more challenging – vein. The worldwide economic outlook continues to blight cyber security efforts; inflation, the energy crisis, and supply chain issues are affecting all industries, impacting company budgets and, in some cases, reducing headcounts and stretching security teams thin.
The news isn’t great, either, for cautious organisations looking to protect themselves with cyber insurance. Reports suggest that the number of businesses that will be unable to afford cyber insurance, be declined cover, or experience significant coverage limitations, is set to double in 2023. On top of this, the insurance industry has also decided that paying out for cyber-attacks is no longer cost-effective and has begun pulling products altogether – a hangover from rising inflation and ongoing skills shortages in the insurance sector.
What is a SOC and how can it help?
Moving on to some more positive news, let’s start with the basics: a Security Operations Centre (SOC) refers to a team of IT security specialists that work to detect and isolate cyber-attacks before they become a major incident in real-time.
The SOC team oversees managing the daily operational activities connected with an organisation’s network and infrastructure security and can be outsourced as a ‘Managed SOC service’ to provide this vital support. In this case, the SOC team would work as an extension of your IT department, helping to identify, detect, and address cyber threats and improve the organisation’s security awareness by developing the security strategy or (re)designing the security architecture.
A Managed SOC Service is beneficial to many organisations because it can often provide a level of visibility and security that’s difficult to maintain in-house, both in terms of availability and expertise – great news for organisation’s looking ahead with trepidation at cyber security in 2023.
In this sense, then, employing a managed SOC team can offer an organisation peace of mind, as well as several other benefits which, in my opinion, are well worth considering:
Independence from IT
Remember, cyber security isn’t solely ‘the job of the IT team’; lumbering them with SOC responsibilities on top of their other important duties can lead to a lack of focus and diminished transparency (as things get lost or ‘hidden’ to scrape by).
A managed SOC solution is designed to detect threats, analyse alerts, and handle advanced threats that an in-house IT team cannot manage on its own.
A unique skillset
The ability to contextualise and analyse alerts is an essential skill of cyber security professionals alone, and these are difficult skills to recruit, keep up-to-date, and retain internally.
Managed SOC services provide threat intelligence, threat hunting, and advanced analytics alongside human analysts. Together, these things offer a holistic view of the organisation’s infrastructure that reduces the level of potential harm and can quickly isolate compromised endpoints in the event of a breach.
Cross-pollination of intelligence
A SOC provided by a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) has the added benefit of working across multiple industries and sectors. This means it can offer organisations extensive knowledge from different fields and leverage cyber security intelligence across a varied customer base.
Outsourcing SOC services is cost-effective compared to the investments in tooling and skillset required to operate a SOC in-house. Organisations benefit from access to sophisticated tools they may not otherwise be able to afford or maintain and are not burdened with the constant training and up-skilling the cyber security industry requires.
Rowan Troy is Senior Security Consultant at Littlefish, a managed IT and Cyber Security Service Provider, including managed SOC services.