SOC as a Service: Everything You Need to Know
August 12, 2022
A major pillar of any organization’s smooth operations is a solid cybersecurity plan. And with cyberthreats on the rise – and constantly evolving – maintaining monitoring, updates and security compliance is a major consideration.
These tasks are often out of the scope of most IT team’s skills or bandwidth. That’s why many organizations partner with third-party providers for specific services. One of these services is SOC as a Service (SOCaaS).
In this article, we’ll explain what Security Operations as a Service (SOCaaS) is, its benefits and how to choose the right SOCaaS provider, so you can make the best decision for your organization’s cybersecurity and operational needs.
What is SOC as a Service (SOCaaS)?
Security Operations Center (SOC) is a team within an organization that’s responsible for monitoring, preventing, detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats. Similarly, SOC as a Service (SOCaaS) is a service provided by third-party professionals who are dedicated solely to this responsibility: monitoring, preventing, detecting and responding to all cybersecurity threats – potential or active – for an organization.
Businesses often outsource cybersecurity to experts who can provide SOCaaS simply because the resources required to do this effectively in-house are often not feasible or beneficial. Acquiring and retaining the niche expertise required to perform this job can be difficult and expensive.
A SOCaaS package often includes:
- Vulnerability management
- Continuous security monitoring
- Managed endpoint protection
- Security information and event management (SIEM)
- Advanced threat detection & automated response
- Security analytics
SOC as a Service vs. Managed Security Service (MSS)
There are a few strategies within the cybersecurity space. In addition to SOCaaS is managed security service (MSS).
Managed security service (MSS) has been around for a while. Generally, it’s a blanket term for a broad set of security services. These can include technology management and security threat monitoring, and are often ideal for organizations with internal security operations teams that need assistance with tasks across multiple security technologies.
By extension, SOCaaS is a type of MSS that’s a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform that goes beyond the traditional offerings of MSS providers (MSSPs). It expands upon the offerings of MSSPs in that it also provides a team of experts focused on resolving every alert, analyzing security gaps, and responding to all security incidents.
By this definition, SOCaaS is essentially an evolution of MSS.
Benefits of SOC as a Service
There are many benefits of using a SOCaaS provider. We’ve listed just a few of them below.
1. Security Staffing Improvements
As mentioned above, when it comes to cybersecurity, one of the biggest challenges companies face is talent acquisition and retention. Simply reviewing and assessing alerts can be a full-time job. With SOCaaS, this isn’t a concern.
By partnering with a third-party SOCaaS provider, you’re assured that the team looking after your assets are experts and that you don’t have to worry about employee turnover.
2. Specialized Security Expertise
Even with in-house IT, there can be plenty of times when specialized expertise is required that may be outside the scope of in-house IT security professionals.
Security experts such as malware analysts, incident responders and cloud security architects are professionals whose skill sets are highly specialized and may be out of the scope of standard IT professionals. They can be difficult to find and even more difficult to retain on an in-house level.
For many smaller organizations, the cost alone of hiring these experts in-house can be prohibitive. This is where SOCaaS is beneficial as it can offer access to a swath of highly skilled cybersecurity experts on an as-needed basis.
3. Round-the-Clock & Up-to-Date Security
It may seem like a simple and obvious consideration, but round-the-clock and up-to-date security and monitoring can be a challenge for organizations without the full scope of cybersecurity professionals in-house.
Maintaining round-the-clock security is an ongoing process that can be outside the capability of many organizations and their limited IT budget. However, security considerations are not just considerations, but legal requirements in many jurisdictions, to say the least for asset protection. This also includes compliance with control frameworks, such as ISO 27001, NIST Cybersecurity framework, and so forth. This is important not just for a company’s cybersecurity, but security of their workers and clients as well.
By partnering with a third-party SOCaaS, organizations have access to round-the-clock and up-to-date security without worrying about – or investing in – in-house IT personnel.
4. Cost Effective
While mentioned above, one of the biggest hurdles organizations face when implementing an SOC is feasibility and cost. Shouldering the full expense of not just equipment, but specialized talent is a barrier that can stop companies from ensuring they are properly secure.
A cost effective solution to this is soliciting an SOCaaS provider. With managed SOC services, organizations share the cost of equipment, licenses and payroll with the provider’s other clients.
How to Evaluate SOCaaS Providers
Handing over security responsibility to an SOCaaS provider can be daunting. How can you determine which provider is the right fit for your organization?
Here are a few considerations:
1. Smooth Onboarding Process
A good SOCaaS provider will work with you to develop a smooth onboarding strategy. As many SOC providers have their own security stack, there’s a deployment and configuration process that needs to occur. While this can be time-consuming, a good SOCaaS provider will have this process streamlined, ensuring your assets are secured at all times.
2. Familiar with and Certified in All Security Regulations
It should come as no surprise that any excellent SOCaaS provider will be not just well-versed in all regulations required to service their clients in their regions, but is recognized by SOC certifications, such as SOC 2 Type II. Given the rapidly shifting regulatory landscape, ensuring the SOC team is always on top of the latest regulation amendments is essential.
While using a third-party SOC provider can complicate this, an excellent provider will have the skills, certifications and resources to work with you on this.
3. Will Work with You on a Customized Package
Security isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every organization has their own security requirements and using a third-party SOCaaS provider should reflect those individual needs.
A good SOCaaS provider will offer customized solutions tailored to each organization’s needs. Beyond that, the extent of customization should reflect the growth needs of an organization, from scalability to the option of shifting service offerings.
4. Adaptability is Non-Negotiable
A hallmark of a great SOCaaS provider is their ability to adapt to changes and adverse situations. They need to be able to constantly update their knowledge of evolving cybersecurity challenges, shift monitoring strategies, detect, analyze and mitigate security threats in real-time.
This is a level of adaptability that not only is a challenge for organizations to shoulder themselves, but is an essential part of SOCaaS services.
Adaptability should also extend to the changing needs of their clients as they shift, scale or refocus. Security strategies should be able to evolve with the clients in a fairly seamless way.
5. Proven Expertise
It bears mentioning that a SOCaaS provider should always come field-test-proven and with solid expertise. Years of experience demonstrates adaptability, efficiency and effectiveness. A few questions to ask are:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Which clients do they serve?
- What is their suite of offerings?
- Is their strategy current and competitive?
Choosing the Right SOCaaS Provider
Handing over the security of your organization’s assets requires trust. That’s why it’s crucial to partner with the best SOCaaS provider to help keep your data secure.
Find out more about how WatServ’s SOCaaS Services can help with your security needs.
WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps organizations digitally transform through cloud technologies and managed services.
Serving clients as a trusted advisor since 2006, WatServ provides experience-tested, strategic solutions across all stages of the digital transformation journey. Clients choose WatServ to migrate infrastructure and applications to the cloud, secure critical data, implement disaster recovery, deploy virtual desktop, enable data-readiness for productivity solutions and manage IT environments.
Our clients span a broad range of industries, and we’re a global supplier of IT services for many Brookfield Portfolio Companies. To help our mid-size clients, we provide scalable offerings that simplify cloud adoption and drive business optimization. For enterprise clients, we co-create cloud solutions that enable stability and efficiency for complex IT tools and processes.
With more than 15 years of experience, WatServ has a track record of delivering quantifiable business results and a superior client experience. Ranked as one of Canada’s Top 100 Solution Providers for the last three years in a row, WatServ is always on.