What is a Managed SOC?

Security Operations Center (SOC)

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a team within an organization dedicated to identifying and remediating cyber threats.  A SOC is responsible for monitoring the solutions within an organization’s security infrastructure, investigating alerts, and responding to any true cybersecurity incidents.

In order to effectively protect the organization, a SOC must perform round-the-clock monitoring and be able to respond to a security incident at any time.  Cyber threat actors can and will take advantage of decreased staffing during non-business hours to increase attack effectiveness and time to remediation.  This increases the impact and cost of the attack to an organization.

What is a Managed SOC?

Many organizations lack the resources to staff a fully-functional SOC with 24/7 network monitoring and personnel with all of the skills required to respond to a security incident.  The cybersecurity industry is facing a significant skills shortage, making finding and retaining skilled personnel difficult and expensive.  This is especially true for the specialized skill sets required for high-level SOC analyst roles or the incident response team.

A managed SOC or SOC as a Service provider is a third-party partner that helps an organization to fill the gaps in their cybersecurity staffing needs.  A managed SOC remotely performs monitoring and protection of the organization’s network and investigates and responds to any security incidents.  Clearnetwork provides 24/7 Managed SOC Services.

Advantages of a Managed SOC

A managed SOC provider enables an organization to outsource the responsibility for their cybersecurity to an experienced third-party provider.  By taking advantage of outsourced security, an organization can reap a number of operational and security benefits.

Decreased Alert Overload and Fatigue

Alert overload and fatigue is one of the most common issues faced by an organization’s SOC personnel.  The average SOC receives at least 10,000 alerts from its security infrastructure.  Each of these alerts must be investigated to eliminate false positives, and true incidents must be responded to.

In reality, many SOCs ignore a large percentage of alerts due to the overwhelming alert volume.  As a result, the organization may be vulnerable to security incidents due to missed or overlooked alerts.

A managed SOC can help to decrease or eliminate the strain of alert management upon an organization.  A managed SOC provider has the tools and employees with the experience necessary to differentiate between false positive alerts and true security events.  This minimizes the risk to the organization that an overlooked or ignored alert – buried in a deluge of false positives – will lead to a costly data breach or other security incident.

24/7 Threat Detection and Response

The Internet is a global network, and cybercriminals and other cyber threats can be operating from anywhere.  This means that not all cyberattacks to an organization will occur during standard business hours when the SOC is fully staffed and ready to respond.

Protecting the organization against cyber threats requires round-the-clock threat detection and response.  However, many companies lack the resources required for effective 24/7 network monitoring, alert investigation, and incident response.

A managed SOC provides an organization with the ability to easily deploy 24/7 threat detection and response.  A SOC as a Service provider will already have in place the infrastructure that is required to detect and respond to incidents at any time.  This reduces the time between the beginning of an attack and its final remediation, which is essential to limiting the cost, impact, and damage caused.

Scalable Security

The cybersecurity industry is currently facing a massive skills shortage.  According to recent estimates, over four million cybersecurity positions are currently unfilled worldwide.

This skills shortage makes it difficult for an organization to attract and retain the cybersecurity personnel required to man an internal SOC and protect the organization against attack.  Organizations’ attack surfaces are growing and becoming more complex, cyber threats are more numerous and sophisticated, and executives are more aware of the importance of cybersecurity to maintaining business operations and profitability.  All of these contribute to a growing demand for cybersecurity talent, exacerbating the impact of the skills gap.

With a managed SOC, an organization can effectively and affordably scale their SOC to meet the needs of the business.  Instead of competing with other organizations for scarce cybersecurity talent, an organization receives access to a team of skilled cybersecurity personnel when they need it.

Access to Experienced Cybersecurity Personnel

The cybersecurity skills shortage makes it difficult for organizations to gain access to cybersecurity talent in general.  The demand for cybersecurity professionals is much greater than the supply, driving up the cost and competition for talent.

As organizations move their infrastructure to the cloud, an understanding of how to secure cloud environments is essential; however, many cybersecurity professionals lack basic understanding of essential cloud security concepts.  Incident investigation and response can require malware analysis, device forensics, and other specialized skills.  Acquiring and retaining professionals with these skills can be difficult and expensive.

A managed SOC provider will have a team that includes all of the specialized skills required to secure an organization’s infrastructure and to respond to security incidents.  Since most organizations do not require constant access to these skill sets, taking advantage of a third-party provider that can provide access to them when needed is an efficient and cost-effective method of addressing critical skills gaps.

Cost Sharing for Cybersecurity Solutions

Organizations’ attack surfaces are growing rapidly.  Digital transformation initiatives and efforts to improve business efficiency and customer experience result in an organization operating growing networks that contain a diverse collection of different platforms, endpoints, and software.  The growing size and diversity of enterprise networks introduces new security risks.

Addressing these risks often requires specialized cybersecurity solutions that can effectively operate on a given platform and address a certain type of threat.  Protecting the organization against cyber threats can require a wide array of different solutions; however, acquiring, deploying, monitoring, and maintaining these systems requires significant up-front and long-term investment and access to specialized talent to ensure that solutions are properly configured and used.

With a managed SOC provider, many of the costs associated with an organization’s security infrastructure can be shared across the provider’s customer base.  If a solution has support for multi-tenancy, the provider can purchase a single appliance and configure it to protect all of its customers in parallel and in isolation.  This enables an organization to take advantage of the protection offered by a robust security stack without paying the full price of deploying, configuring, and operating it in-house.

Compliance Management

In recent years, the regulatory compliance landscape has rapidly grown more complex.  New regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have introduced new requirements for businesses processing the protected data of individuals within their jurisdiction.  This is in addition to the requirements of existing laws, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA).

These regulations require an organization to not only protect sensitive customer data against exposure but also to be capable of demonstrating that these protections are in place.  In most cases, this requires having certain security controls in place and being able to pass compliance audits demonstrating that the organization’s current security configuration meets regulatory standards.  As the number and complexity of data protection regulations grows, meeting these requirements can become a significant burden for an organization.

A managed SOC provider can help to ease the burden associated with maintaining and demonstrating regulatory compliance.  The provider should have knowledge of applicable regulations and a security stack capable of meeting their requirements.  Additionally, a managed SOC provider can help to demonstrate compliance by helping to generate required reports regarding the organization’s implementation of required security controls and demonstrating that sensitive data is properly protected against exposure.

Threat Hunting

Many organizations rely heavily upon a perimeter-focused security model, where a range of security appliances are deployed at the network boundary to identify and block potential attacks before they enter the protected network.  While this is an important part of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy, it is not enough to protect the organization on its own.

Advanced cyber threats are aware of common methods that organizations use to protect themselves, such as a corporate firewall and antivirus.  Specially crafted attacks can be designed to slip past these defenses by hiding within the noise created by normal, benign network traffic.

A managed SOC provider can help an organization to detect these subtle and sophisticated threats via proactive threat hunting.  While cyber threats can often hide from traditional security solutions, achieving their objectives often requires steps that can reveal their presence within the network.  Through proactive threat hunting, an managed SOC provider can identify threats that are resident within an organization’s network and help their client to identify the scope of the infection and to remediate it.

Why Partner with Clearnetwork?

Clearnetwork enables an organization to consolidate its security across cloud and on-premises environments and provides 24/7 threat detection and response for the company’s entire infrastructure.  Clearnetwork’s solutions can be deployed in less than an hour and provides an organization with the security benefits of an experienced SOC with a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and need for security expertise than managing security in-house.