Why are Companies Choosing SOC as a Service in 2024?

Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Feb 03, 2024

In October 2023, IT Governance reported 114 security incidents, which compromised 867,072,315 records. Hence, it’s clear that the threat of cyber attacks looms larger than ever for digital businesses, necessitating a stronger security stance to prevent potential harm and losses. 

An important component in this defense strategy is the Security Operations Center (SOC), a tool deemed indispensable for monitoring and investigating security events.

In light of the escalating challenges, you might face challenges in building a SOC team from scratch with the growing talent gap in the cybersecurity sector. 

That’s why many are turning to SOC as a Service (SOCaaS) providers for a solution to address these concerns. 

SOCaaS is an external service that manages internal security like an on-prem SOC. It ensures continuous protection against modern cyber threats, offering a viable option for you to navigate financial considerations and talent shortages. 

If SOCaaS is a new concept to you, this article will aim to demystify their services, shedding light on how it works. 

What is SOC as a Service?

Security Operations Center as a Service (SOCaaS) is a cloud-based subscription model that offers organizations a plug-and-play command center to create and improve their cybersecurity posture or bridge any gaps in their existing posture without having to hire a team of security experts for the job or spend thousands of dollars to acquire tools.

SOCaaS thrives best in business environments with limited resources (talent pool, capital).  Creating an efficient cybersecurity posture from the ground up is a significant investment, and often, early-stage companies find it difficult to justify that expense. 

Hence, businesses usually scale their operations before setting up their security function. 

The need of the hour was an efficient security model that did not break the bank, and SOCaaS does that and more. 

It offers a blend of expertise from seasoned cybersecurity personnel and superior technology solutions in a subscription model. Thus decreasing the acquisition cost by thousands of dollars while offering enterprise-grade security. 

SOC as a Service steps in as a tactical hub and allows organizations to gain visibility of their business environment, identify weaknesses, fortify sections, continuously monitor security alerts, and improve their overall security posture.

Here is a simple representation of the workings of SOCaaS:

Security Operations Center’s equipment
 +
The expertise of cybersecurity professionals
=

SOC as a service

How is SOCaaS relevant to your company?

SOCaaS is a revolutionary solution that lowers your dollar spent on security-related activities while offering the latest security solutions with the best defense.

A recent research report from Forbes shows that cyberattacks affect at least one business every 39 seconds globally.

That means, in the time you spent learning about SOCaaS today, at least one hacker has successfully breached a business system and accessed intellectual property somewhere in the world. Organizations must find a way to prioritize scaling over security.

SOC as a Service

This is how SOCaaS works:

SOCaaS offers a well-rounded tech stack and a team of security experts to help set up security processes, implement guardrails, automate control monitoring, alert mechanisms, escalation matrix, and more.

After integrating the tech stack and training your employees on using the solution, these security personnel oversee your security operations remotely while maintaining continuous communication with you. They also enable you to monitor your infrastructure, run tests to measure operational efficiency, and leverage reports for improving your posture. 

With SOCaaS in play, business leaders sleep well at night, knowing their business can now defend against breach scenarios.

Ace continuous compliance with Sprinto

What are the types of threats under SOCaaS?

A typical SOCaaS leverage will be a variety of tech stacks to detect vulnerabilities in real-time, use AI to identify patterns, and predict future threats, attack sources, and their tentative impact on your organization. While these are the most common service offerings people pick, SOCaaS offers tens of hundreds of other ancillary services too. 

Few SOCaaS providers go to the extent of offering compliance automation services to centralize your security and compliance needs.

As a SOCaaS user, you decide the depth of your subscription (to a certain degree, more on that later). Sometimes, based on the SOCaaS provider you work with, you can get yourself a custom security solution.

It is important to know that SOCaaS has its shortcomings as well. While they are designed to improve continuously, they are not foolproof. They are not immune from the threats of tomorrow. That said, SOCaaS has exhibited exceptional defensive capabilities against different breach vectors, and we’ve listed a few here:


SOC as a Service

1. Malware

Since its inception in the ‘70s, its attack profile and methods have evolved. Malware is sophisticated software that will harm your system by just listening to data going in and out. It infects your system to run the attacker’s program and will cause huge damage.

How does SOC help?

A SOC defends your system from Malware using detection tools like IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems) or malware analysis tools to identify the impending threat.

2. Phishing

Phishing is another cyber attack that begins with a fraudulent email entering your system or any other communication. The main goal of this threat is to lure you (a victim) into clicking a malicious link. Once you do, God forbid, all your sensitive information is for them to pick and use it the way they choose.

How does SOC help?

A SOC usually uses email filtering or other tech stacks to identify and mitigate this risky email from getting into your system. This is helpful before you face a major financial blackout or reputational damage to your brand name.

3. Insider threats

This is quite unexpected but a very common threat in a business. Sometimes, people who want to see you fall are right under your nose. Insider threat is an intense security risk originating from your own company, say your employees.

How does SOC help?

A SOC here can help you monitor your employees and control unnecessary access with processes like an access control system or a compliance automation platform to monitor suspicious behavior.

For example, Sprinto is a compliance automation platform that helps you implement SOC with continuous monitoring features. With controls like access management or vendor management, the platform can easily detect suspicious behavior and send alerts to the admin for remediation.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware is another kind of malware mainly used against an organization or a user to deny access to files on their own system. The interesting thing about these advanced threats is that attackers have grown notoriously creative over the years, and the payment to get access is nearly impossible to trace.

For example, Fusob wanted the victims to pay using Apple iTunes gift cards instead of standard dollars or crypto coins.

How does SOC help?

Within SOC, it uses a ransomware detection tool to identify the attacks. It will also help you set up a basic system to recover data instantly, rendering Ransomware powerless.

5. Distributed Denial of Service (DoS)

Very recently, OpenAI openly admitted they were fighting a battle against a series of DDoS attacks. This led to periodic outages due to numerous traffic patterns. DDoS will shut down your network and make accessing the platform harder for your users. It ultimately triggers a crash of the system.

Millions of users were denied to use the app normally as it should, and it probably cost the company its reputation and resources to fix it. 

How does SOC help?

A SOC usually employs an intrusion detection system to monitor the traffic and find patterns of unusual traffic resembling a DDoS attack.

6. Countries that sponsor cybercrime

Some countries support cybercrime, making it more likely for illegal online activities to thrive there. 

While not every connection to such a country implies cybercrime, it does raise the possibility of your threat landscape.

How does SOC help?

SOC notifies your IT team if a user engages with a country that supports cybercrime. This way, you will allow them to investigate your critical systems and decide whether to terminate the connection.

Get ahead of breach scenarios

How does a SOC as a Service function?

SOC as a Service offers one of the best solutions in the market, and often those solutions offer enterprise-grade. It also provides you with the guidance and support of the security veterans who help identify weaknesses in your security network and fortify them. There are several other functionalities of SOCaaS, and we’ve listed a few here: 

SOC as a Service

1. SOCaaS plans and configures your systems

You can plan a tech stack, which usually includes cloud infra, SaaS apps, and endpoints to eliminate suspicious activity. This ensures that your data is always connected.

2. Security event monitoring and analysis

In simple words, SOCaaS can address your advanced threats in real-time. It continuously monitors your system and gathers log data to pinpoint any unusual security mishaps.

3. Detection and remediation

Once the issues are detected with the help of SOCaaS, the next step should be to investigate the source to see if it is accurate or just a false alarm. Now, if the threat is real, take appropriate actions after evaluating the advanced threats’ risk level.

How does SOCaaS fit within your security stack?

SOCaaS is built to be a managed security model to be a part of your security stack. When you implement SOCaaS in your company, you get a dedicated team and advanced technology offerings to monitor your security posture continuously. 

This, in turn, helps in the early detection, analysis, and response to potential threats. As SOCaaS is a managed security model, the responsibilities are shared between the service providers and users. A perfect example of a successful shared responsibility is in the security of cloud assets.

Remember

Cloud Service Providers (like AWS, GCP, and Azure) rely on their users to ensure holistic security.

If you were the user, the CSP secures the cloud environment (physical measure (if applicable), infra, firewall, security integrations, etc). The responsibility to secure the account lies with you.

As a user, you should use a strong password, avoid connecting to unknown public networks, leave your devices unattended, etc, and follow other best practices to minimize breach occurrences etc.

Similarly, in SOCaaS, the responsibility for security is shared. For SOCaaS to deploy its security package and ramp up its security posture, your organization must have the infrastructure to enable seamless integration. The security tools you currently use should be able to integrate with the new tech stack.

What are SOCaaS roles and responsibilities?

SOCaaS has several roles and responsibilities that help keep your security posture upright with various technology investments. Some of the roles and responsibilities of this service are:

  • Giving the power to decide which services among the broader security package are relevant to them
  • Analyze and remediate any cyber threats
  • Convert the complexities of cyber threats or outcomes into jargon-free language that can be understood by a layman or any stakeholder

Now, when it comes to the role of a SOCaaS, as you are finalizing the vendor, you need to know who will be part of the team to manage the security concerns. They are:

SOC ManagerThis person will take care of managing the security team and overseeing the process of security monitoring
Security Analyst Tier 1 – TriageThis person will oversee the field of alerts and oversee the investigation to determine cyber incidents where remediation should fall
Security Analyst Tier 2 – Incident ResponderIf the said alert from the Tier 1 analyst ends up on the incident responders’ plate, the alert is serious and should be prioritized
Security Analyst Tier 3 – Threat HunterThe game is on. If the incident response looks into the alert’s response, threat hunters who have expert threat response plans need to find evidence of how the bad actor got past the security checks in place
Compliance AuditorThis person will oversee your company’s overall adherence to compliance requirements and regulatory bodies
Security ArchitectAs the name suggests, this person is responsible for creating security architecture or engineering new systems that support incident response. Moreover, they will take care of implementing those systems too
SOC CoordinatorThis person acts as a liaison between the SOCaaS vendor and your company’s internal security teams

Benefits and challenges of SOC as a Service

Not to forget, SOCaaS is one of the highest levels of cloud protection you can receive in the market today. The benefits and challenges of SOC as a Service varies based on your company’s requirements and integration capabilities. Hence, you must evaluate the ins and outs before proceeding with the solution.

The benefits of SOCaaS are:

1. Lowers the level of your risks or breaches

This is, of course, self-explanatory. The main reason you’re looking for a SOC vendor is to reduce the breach scenarios and SOCaaS does that perfectly well.

This is because, unlike a traditional SOC, SOCaaS will provide 24/7 monitoring and detection capabilities. This way, you can neutralize any threats quickly before they go into a critical window.

2. Cost-effectiveness

With a managed service, you don’t need to pay any upfront costs to deal with cybersecurity. Its subscription model is designed to lower overhead costs.

3. Quick detection and remediation

Another benefit is, of course, the speed. Since the managed SOC services use a combination of tech and automation, the SOC team can easily handle cyber threats with their tired roles and responsibilities.

It also reduces the time you spend investigating and remediating a security event.

4. Automated security processes

Usually, in the traditional approach to SOC, you face the challenge of being understaffed to perform all the security tasks. However, SOCaaS, with the help of automation, streamlines repetitive processes and helps you focus on business scaling.

For example, Sprinto is a compliance automation platform that helps monitor the controls of your systems 24/7 with a continuous monitoring feature. It conducts millions of daily checks and keeps you updated if any anomaly is detected.

5. Single and intelligent solution

An efficient security posture is usually achieved by relaying multiple secure tools and using their capabilities in cohesion. And this can be stressful.

SOCaaS decreases the stress involved to a large extent and gets your team the best integration and advanced security solutions in a single solution.  

Challenges of SOC as a Service

There is no doubt that a SOCaaS can contain your threats on many levels. However, you need to be familiar with some challenges to find the solutions head-on. The challenges also depend on several factors; let’s take a look at those:

1. Adapting to the new process

Introducing managed services like SOCaaS will inevitably bring new changes to processes and protocols because it is the beginning of a new phase itself. You’re essentially turning over a new leaf in your business’s journey.

Figuring out the vendor’s tech stack and finding how it fits your environment can be confusing. And you also need to be ready to implement the continuous monitoring process provided by the new vendor.

This stage requires a lot of A/B testing and deployment cycles to get used to the system, and you do need a ramp-up period.

2. False positives and negatives

This is another challenge that usually accompanies an automated system. In some instances, the system may generate false alerts, leading the security team to get desensitized to warnings.

This is where you need to be careful in fine-tuning the SOCaaS system to reduce the false positives.

3. Regulatory requirements

This is one of the most critical challenges you can face. Keeping up with regulatory standards is one of the vital aspects of maintaining your security operations. Not every SOCaaS today has modules built in for compliance activities (for GDPR, HIPAA, ISO 27001, etc), and integrating 3p systems with such SOCaaS can be daunting.

This is where Sprinto shines.

Sprinto’s automation platform takes away the burden of getting compliance with its pre-approved and pre-built, auditor-grade compliance programs. It also offers security-first solutions like entity-level control mapping, continuous monitoring, a single dashboard to track failing checks and compliance scores, automated evidence collection, and more.

What Next?

Overall, SOCaaS is an important control hub for your company in defending against cybersecurity threats. Your security assessment posture grows stronger when you have complete visibility of your business environment and have strong security solutions in your arsenal. 

You can now automate repeatable tasks and gather insights that transition your business’ security journey from reactive to proactive.

Sprinto: A security-first automation tool that helps automate compliance processes. The automation services include evidence collection for security controls, control monitoring, conducting risk assessments, risk scoring, implementing entity-level checks, and more. 

Sprinto has seamlessly enabled hundreds of organizations to strengthen their security posture while setting up processes and systems required for compliance. 

Talk to our security experts about how Sprinto can help you in your security-led compliance journey.  

FAQs

1. Should you choose SOCaaS?

Yes. SOCaaS offers 24/7 security monitoring and other advanced security features at fractional costs. This way, you can avoid future threats and minimize the consequences without spending hundreds and thousands of dollars.

2. Is SOCaaS the same as MDR?

No, SOCaaS and MDR are definitely not the same. However, there are a few similarities in their services catalog. By default, SOCaaS is a managed service with various other tech stacks, while MDR helps in threat hunting, response, and monitoring.

3. What to look for in a SOCaaS provider?

The right SOCaaS provider should fit your business needs perfectly well. First, clarify what kind of protection they provide your business and clients. Check if they align with your industry and the frequency of threats.

4. How to Evaluate SOC as a Service Provider?

There are some parameters you can use to evaluate a SOC as a Service provider, and they are:

  • Integration with your complex security infrastructure
  • Typical client size of the provider
  • On-premise/cloud-based security system to manage detection and remediation
Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Meeba, an ISC2-certified cybersecurity specialist, passionately decodes and delivers impactful content on compliance and complex digital security matters. Adept at transforming intricate concepts into accessible insights, she’s committed to enlightening readers. Off the clock, she can be found with her nose in the latest thriller novel or exploring new haunts in the city.

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