What is a SOC and Why is it Important?: A Managed Services Report


September 21, 2023

As cyber threats grow both more numerous and more malicious, security operations centers (SOCs) are more crucial than ever. Whether in-house or outsourced through an MSP, it’s the only efficient way to constantly monitor an organization’s IT structure stem-to-stern.

Why is ceaseless and comprehensive monitoring so vital? Here’s a good nutshell answer from IBM: “The chief benefit of operating or outsourcing an SOC is that it unifies and coordinates an organization’s security tools, practices, and response to security incidents. This usually results in improved preventative measures and security policies, faster threat detection, and faster, more effective and more cost-effective response to security threats. An SOC can also improve customer confidence, and simplify and strengthen an organization’s compliance with industry, national and global privacy regulations.”

In short, an SOC isn’t something to skimp on when it comes to budgetary considerations. Hire the right people, implement the right processes (response plans) and technology to prioritize and neutralize incidents, stay current on threat intelligence and never stop improving your defensive measures. Even if they’re solid now, they can always be better — and they’ll soon be antiquated, which means more easily breached by bad actors. Not least of all (by a long shot), make sure to keep communication channels open with other key non-IT departments like legal and compliance. Siloed security is the weakest security, especially as more employees than ever are working remotely and as a result have “expanded the attack surface” tremendously.

If all of that seems like it might be expensive to implement and maintain, you’re right. But keep in mind that spending more up front — especially on things like multiple platforms and licenses — will likely save you a bundle later on. “A centralized SOC enables an organization to reduce these costs by sharing them across the entire organization,” according to a report from cyber security firm Check Point. “Elimination of departmental silos reduces the additional overhead caused by duplication and redundancy. Additionally, an effective Security Operations Center helps an organization to save money in the long run by reducing cybersecurity risk. A data breach can easily carry a price tag in the millions of dollars, and a successful ransomware attack carries heavy costs in terms of downtime and system recovery. A SOC that blocks even a single cyberattack before the damage is done has already demonstrated a significant return on investment.”

As you might imagine, maintaining a top-notch SOC is no easy feat and there will always be challenges. Courtesy of Check Point and tech thought leadership repository IIoT World, here are the top challenges with which many organizations must contend:

  • Cybersecurity skills shortage: It’s no secret that hiring qualified cyber security specialists is more difficult than ever. That’s bad news for SOC crews and the organizations they serve. According to the [2022] ISC Workforce Study, there needs to be massive growth (145 percent) in the cybersecurity workforce to meet current and future needs.
  • Nonstop security alerts: Cyber attackers are relentless, which results in a deluge of daily security alerts. Not only is this annoying and time-consuming — particularly when one-fifth to fully half of those threats are likely false positives — it’s expensive.
  • Operational Overhead: If security tools are disconnected rather than integrated, as is the case at many companies, even the best security pros are far less effective than they could and should be because they “must translate security alerts and policies between environments, leading to costly, complex, and inefficient security operations.”
  • Insufficient technology: This includes “a lack of appropriate tools” as well as “a gap in filtering and analytics metrics.” There’s also a dearth of integration and automation.

You’ll be shocked to learn, however, that AI (alongside 5G, machine learning and IoT) is already stepping in to fill gaps and enhance human efforts.

One major example, as a Forbes write-up noted, is tech from IBM. Its QRadar Suite for threat detection and response “offers a comprehensive set of security software built around a new user interface that is embedded with AI, and connects security data and response workflows between SOC analyst toolsets. It is delivered as SaaS and is designed so businesses small, medium and large can select and customize products from the suite that specially fit their unique situations.”

The field, in fact, is crowded with useful tech tools from numerous providers. Among them are so-called security information and event management (SIEM) platforms, which are key for forensically investigating cyberattacks, hunting for threats to pinpoint vulnerabilities, offering threat intelligence and security analytics and providing advanced analytics visualization so a glut of complex data is far simpler to comprehend. The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants lists a handful to consider. They include Splunk, SolarWinds Security Event Manager, LogRhythm, Trellix Platform and AlienVault OSSIM.

This is all a lot to take in, we know. But if you’re in the process of improving your SOC (applause) and sweating the details, just know your toil won’t go unrewarded. And if you need a hand, it might be wise to seek some offsite help rather than trying to handle everything internally.

Every org is a tech org these days, the saying goes, and the robustness of your SOC is central to your short- and long-term success.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you aligned with a recognized security framework?
  • When was the last time you conducted a Penetration Test?
  • Are all Critical Security Controls in place and monitored?
  • Do you have a dedicated CISO overseeing your security?
  • Is there a clear Security Roadmap you’re following for your organization?
  • Have you analyzed the financial risks associated with potential security threats?

Contact Mindsight to discuss your cybersecurity strategy and learn more about our Managed SOC Services.

About Mindsight

Mindsight is industry recognized for delivering secure IT solutions and thought leadership that address your infrastructure, cybersecurity, and communications needs. Our engineers are expert level only – and they’re known as the most respected and valued engineering team based in Chicago, serving medium-sized to enterprise organizations around the globe. That’s why clients trust Mindsight as an extension of their IT team.

Visit us at http://www.gomindsight.com

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