Why Outsourcing Your Security Operations Center Makes Good Sense

October 2019
Sagenet Blog Soc Inhouse Outsource (3)
By Paul Truitt

As the frequency and severity of cyberattacks continue to increase, organizations are looking for ways to bolster their defenses. For many, that involves implementing a security operations center (SOC) — a centralized location where specialists monitor security tools, analyze threats and respond to security incidents. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, 67 percent of organizations say their SOC is essential or very important to their cybersecurity strategy. However, most survey respondents rated their SOC’s effectiveness as low.

The purpose of a SOC is to enhance an organization’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to security incidents. SOC personnel use information gathered from a variety of sources to identify, investigate and manage threats. By aggregating and consolidating security data, a SOC provides security analysts with the context they need to triage threat mitigation activities.

However, 69 percent of respondents to the Ponemon survey said their SOCs are ineffective because they lack full visibility into network traffic. Additionally, 72 percent said a lack of visibility into the network and critical infrastructure made working in the SOC “painful,” and 40 percent said limited access to internal security data hampered their ability to hunt for threats.

The biggest challenge threat hunting teams face is the huge number of alerts they have to track, and the vast amount of internal traffic they have to compare against the alerts. More than half (54 percent) of respondents said they lack the internal resources and expertise needed to operate an effective SOC, and 49 percent said their efforts were hampered by too many false positives.

Because security talent remains in short supply, automation is a critical component of the modern SOC. Automating routine tasks frees up skilled personnel to focus on more complex analyses. But while 67 percent of Ponemon survey respondents agreed that automation can relieve some of the pain associated with working in a SOC, the pressure of being on call 24×7 has caused 65 percent of SOC personnel to consider changing their careers or leaving their job.

These pressures have led an increasing number of organizations to outsource their SOCs. Forty percent of Ponemon survey respondents said their entire SOC is outsourced, while 35 percent outsource Tier 1 and Tier 2 analyst functions and 24 percent outsource Tier 3 analyst functions.

A fully outsourced SOC-as-a-Service solution offers tremendous benefits. The service provider leverages a hosted security information and event management (SIEM) platform that is tightly integrated with the customer’s security infrastructure. The customer gains enterprise-class SIEM features without a large capital outlay and greater visibility into security threats.

SOC-as-a-Service goes further by including 24×7 monitoring and management by professionals who are experienced in identifying and investigating security threats. Organizations are saved the expense of hiring and retaining security analysts, and gain cost-efficient, around-the-clock coverage.

SageNet’s SOC-as-a-Service solution can collect machine data from all locations and sources, including security appliances, servers and networking equipment. The data is securely transmitted to SageNet’s hosted SIEM, which collects and correlates the information and issues alerts. SageNet’s SOC engineers review and evaluate alerts and provide the context that helps eliminate false positives. Actionable alerts are forwarded to the customer’s security team according to predefined operating procedures.

A SOC has become essential in today’s cyber threat climate, but the implementation of a SOC doesn’t necessarily equate to improved security. A fully managed SOC-as-a-Service solution can eliminate the pain associated with an in-house SOC while greatly improving effectiveness.

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