What is SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) and How Could Your Business Benefit?


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Friday, March 8, 2024

In today's digital landscape, robust defense strategies are a necessity. Security Operations Centers (SOCs) emerge as pivotal players, offering centralized protection against sophisticated attacks. From cost-effective outsourcing to internal empowerment, delve into the strategies shaping modern cybersecurity.

Article 7 Minutes
What is SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) and How Could Your Business Benefit?
  • Home
  • IT
  • Security
  • What is SOCaaS and How Could Your Business Benefit?

In today’s fast-paced digital world, businesses face an ever-changing cyber threat landscape. Traditional security measures like antivirus software and firewalls are no longer sufficient to protect sensitive data from sophisticated attacks. To counter these evolving threats, companies need an effective security strategy that pairs cutting-edge technology with specialized expertise. 

This is where a Security Operations Center (SOC) comes in. 

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)? 

A Security Operations Center, or SOC, acts as the hub for an organization's cybersecurity efforts.  

It is a centralized function that employs people, processes, and technology to continually monitor and maintain the integrity of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Its main function is to prevent, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents as they occur to protect sensitive data from being breached. 

Building an effective SOC requires a team of experts with diverse roles: security analysts assess potential vulnerabilities, forensic investigators conduct thorough examinations post-breach, incident responders mitigate immediate threats, and communication coordinators maintain seamless information flow within the team. This proactive approach enables 24/7 monitoring, ensuring no suspicious activity goes unnoticed or unreported. 

However, developing and maintaining an in-house SOC is a significant challenge, requiring substantial financial investment, access to the latest technology, and a team of highly skilled security analysts. For many businesses, especially small to mid-sized ones, these requirements can be overwhelming. 

The Rising Popularity of SOC Outsourcing 

Once upon a time, businesses relied entirely on the expertise of in-house teams for their security operations. 

However, as attack surfaces grew and the cyber threats continued to evolve, cybersecurity became too complex and critical a function for many businesses to manage in-house. Add to this the ongoing global skills shortage impacting 71% of organizations and there’s quickly more work than people to go around.  

This change in the landscape has led to an increased reliance on SOC outsourcing. 

An outsourced SOC, also known as a Security Operations Center as a Service (SOCaaS), is a third-party service that provides continuous security monitoring and management for an organization. This outsourced model allows businesses to benefit from the expertise and resources of a dedicated team of security professionals without the need for significant in-house investment. 

In-House vs. Outsourced SOC: Making the Right Choice 

When seeking to implement or improve their cybersecurity posture, organizations must decide between building an internal SOC or outsourcing the function to a specialized provider. Each option has advantages and considerations that organizations need to carefully evaluate. 

Building an Internal SOC 

An in-house Security Operations Center can have several benefits. From a security standpoint, building an internal SOC can provide businesses with full agency over their cybersecurity posture, including which security solutions they choose to deploy.  

From a people perspective, leveraging the expertise of employees who already have an intimate understanding of an organization’s security requirements and infrastructure can help speed up response times to potential threats or problems. An in-house SOC can also foster seamless communication, ensure greater levels of transparency, and strengthen the sense of community within an organization. 

However, building and managing an internal SOC also requires a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Organizations must have the necessary tools, expertise, and resources in-house in order to keep their security up-to-date. This can be challenging for smaller organizations or those without a dedicated cybersecurity team. 

Outsourcing the SOC 

On the other hand, outsourcing the SOC function to a third-party provider shifts responsibility for cybersecurity operations away from an organization and into the hands of experts. Outsourced SOCs are typically managed by Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) who specialize in providing a range of security services. 

With SOCaaS, organizations can free up their internal resources to focus on other areas of the business with the peace of mind that their cybersecurity needs are being handled by experienced professionals. As well as access to specialized skills, outsourced SOCs can also offer businesses cutting-edge tools that may not be available in-house, enabling them to stay ahead of newly emerging threats. 

As new technologies and threats have emerged, the global SOCaaS market has continued to grow, driven in part by the rising popularity of work from home (WFH) and bring your own device (BYOD) policies. In fact, the global SOCaaS market is projected to reach $11.4 billion by 2028 – a significant rise from last year's value of $6.7 billion. Before considering outsourcing their SOC, organizations must consider both the benefits of SOCaaS solutions and the cybersecurity needs of their business. 

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your SOC 

1. Reduced Cost: 

As previously mentioned, SOC outsourcing can offer organizations significant cost savings compared to the financial burden of building and maintaining an in-house team. This includes avoiding the high costs associated with hiring, training, and managing a dedicated cybersecurity team. With a subscription-based model, organizations can avoid large upfront investments in technology while enjoying predictable ongoing expenses. 

2. Access to Technology and Expertise: 

In today’s landscape, effective cybersecurity requires specialized knowledge, skills, and tools. Outsourced SOC providers stay up-to-date with the latest trends, compliance regulations, and best practices, ensuring that organizations always benefit from cutting-edge security. They also have access to advanced security technologies like SIEM systems, threat intelligence databases, and behavioral analytics, ensuring that organizations benefit from the most effective defenses against current and emerging risks. 

3. 24/7 Monitoring and Incident Response 

Outsourced SOC services provide 24/7 monitoring and incident response capabilities. This continuous monitoring ensures that potential threats are detected and addressed promptly, even outside regular business hours. With a dedicated team focused solely on cybersecurity, organizations can rest assured that any security incidents will be swiftly identified and mitigated. This immediate incident response is crucial in minimizing the overall impact of a cybersecurity breach.  

4. Scalability and Flexibility 

Outsourced SOC services offer scalability and flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of your organization. As a business grows, its security requirements may evolve. Outsourced SOC providers can easily scale their services to accommodate this, eliminating the need for additional investments into resources or infrastructure. Additionally, outsourced SOC providers can offer tailored services to align with an organization's unique security goals and compliance obligations, ensuring that their cybersecurity efforts are always aligned with business objectives. 

5. Focus on Core Business Objectives 

Ultimately, SOC outsourcing allows an organization to focus on its core business objectives. By entrusting their cybersecurity operations to a specialized provider, more internal resources can be allocated to strategic initiatives that drive business growth, revenue, and innovation. Outsourcing the SOC function also relieves internal teams from the burden of continuous monitoring and incident response, enabling them to focus on their areas of expertise and reducing their risk of employee burnout and turnover.  

Selecting the Right Outsourced SOC Provider 

When choosing an outsourced SOC provider, several factors should be considered to ensure a successful partnership. Organizations should evaluate providers based on the following criteria: 

  1. Experience and Expertise: Select a provider with a proven track record and experience in the cybersecurity industry. Evaluate their expertise in working with organizations of a similar size and complexity. 

  1. Reputation and References: Research the provider's reputation and seek references from their existing clients. Look for testimonials and case studies that highlight their ability to deliver high-quality services and customer satisfaction. 

  1. Service Offerings: Assess the provider's service offerings and ensure they align with their organization's specific needs. Consider the range of services provided, such as threat detection and response, incident management, compliance support, and strategic guidance. 

  1. Security Measures and Compliance: Evaluate the provider's security measures. Review their compliance certifications and standards to verify their commitment to maintaining industry best practices. 

  1. Technical Capabilities: Assess the provider's technical capabilities, including their use of advanced security technologies like SIEM systems, threat intelligence databases, and behavioral analytics. Consider their ability to integrate with existing infrastructure. 

  1. Response Time and Incident Handling: Inquire about the provider's response time to security incidents and their incident handling procedures. Understand their escalation processes and how they communicate with clients during critical incidents. 

  1. Cost and Contractual Terms: Evaluate the provider's pricing model and contractual terms. Consider factors such as flexibility, scalability, and any hidden costs. Ensure that the pricing structure aligns with any budget restrictions and the expected return on investment. 

By thoroughly evaluating potential outsourced SOC providers based on these criteria, organizations can select a trusted partner that meets their specific cybersecurity requirements. This can enable organizations to enhance their security posture and efficiently manage their cybersecurity operations in today's ever-changing threat landscape.

Tech Insights for Professionals

Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals.


Join the conversation...