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Understanding the Functions and Advantages of a Managed Security Operations Center (SOC)

April 30, 2024

Cybersecurity can be complex and time-consuming, which isn’t good news for overstretched and under-resourced information technology (IT) teams. Also, the cybersecurity talent shortage isn’t making it any easier for managed service providers (MSPs) and other IT leaders to find the cybersecurity-trained help they require. This is an especially critical need in today’s volatile threat landscape, where businesses are constantly bombarded with cyberthreats. So, where can businesses turn for critical security expertise to secure systems and data in a volatile threat landscape? The answer is a managed security operations Center (SOC).

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A dedicated SOC is a powerful way for a company to safeguard its IT environment, assets and sensitive information. However, building one from the ground up is a daunting task. Establishing an in-house SOC requires a substantial upfront outlay of cash for software and equipment as well as recruiting hard-to-find, high-priced cybersecurity talent. However, there is a cheaper, easier alternative: choosing a managed SOC.

A managed SOC gives businesses access to the tools and expertise they need to handle cyberthreats without the hassle of building and staffing their own in-house SOC. A managed SOC is staffed by cybersecurity experts 24/7/365, giving businesses access to a seasoned team of cybersecurity experts equipped with everything they need to provide continuous monitoring, rapid incident response and proactive threat intelligence. By leveraging a combination of technology, processes and skilled personnel, a managed SOC helps businesses keep systems and data safe and mitigates cyberthreats for a fraction of the cost of its in-house counterpart.

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Opting for a managed SOC is the best way a business can quickly and affordably build a strong foundation for robust security. A managed SOC provides several unbeatable advantages for businesses, such as:

  1. Cost efficiency – Organizations save on expenses related to recruiting security specialists and acquiring costly security technologies.
  2. Professional monitoring – Managed SOCs are staffed with experienced security professionals who utilize advanced tools to effectively handle threats and protect their clients.
  3. Continuous protection – A managed SOC is open 24/7/365 and perpetually staffed with cybersecurity experts who monitor a company’s defenses.
  4. Coverage when you need it the most – Cybercriminals love to strategically time ransomware attacks during weekends or holidays to maximize disruption and chaos.
  5. Enhanced focus on core business – With security concerns addressed, businesses can prioritize other critical areas, such as increasing sales or enhancing service delivery.
  6. Scalable security investment – Businesses have the flexibility to select and pay for only the security measures that meet their particular needs, allowing for cost-effective risk management.
  7. Peace of mind – With a managed SOC on the job, IT leaders can rest a little easier knowing that they have a team of highly-trained cybersecurity experts keeping an eye out for trouble.
  8. Speedy incident response – Every second counts in incident response. Partnering with a managed SOC is a smart way to ensure that a business or MSP has access to the security expertise they need in times of trouble.

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A managed SOC serves as the nerve center for an organization’s cybersecurity efforts, employing a combination of technology, processes and skilled personnel to detect, analyze, respond to and mitigate security incidents in real-time.

Here are seven core functions that businesses should expect to see in a high-quality managed SOC:

Monitoring and detection

The primary function of a SOC is to monitor the organization’s IT infrastructure, networks and systems for any signs of malicious activity or security breaches. This is often done using specialized software tools known as security information and event management (SIEM) systems, which aggregate and analyze logs and data from various sources, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems and antivirus solutions.

Analysis and investigation

When a potential security incident is detected, SOC analysts swing into action. They conduct in-depth investigations to determine the nature and scope of the threat, analyzing patterns, trends and anomalies in the data to understand how the breach occurred and what data or systems may have been compromised.

Incident response

Once an incident is confirmed, the SOC initiates an incident response plan to contain the threat and mitigate its impact. This may involve isolating affected systems, patching vulnerabilities and taking other remedial actions to prevent further damage. Incident response teams within the SOC work swiftly to coordinate efforts and ensure a prompt and effective response.

Threat intelligence

SOCs rely on up-to-date threat intelligence to stay ahead of evolving cyberthreats. This includes information on emerging malware strains, known vulnerabilities, hacker tactics and indicators of compromise (IOCs). By staying abreast of the latest threat intelligence, SOC analysts can better identify and respond to potential security risks.

Collaboration and communication

Effective communication and collaboration are critical within a SOC environment. Analysts, incident responders and other team members must work closely together, sharing information and insights to collectively defend against threats. This often involves real-time communication channels, such as chat platforms or incident management systems, to facilitate rapid information sharing and decision-making.

Continuous improvement

A SOC is not a static entity. It continually evolves and adapts to meet the changing cybersecurity landscape. This involves conducting regular assessments and audits to identify areas for improvement, updating policies and procedures, and investing in new technologies and training to enhance the SOC’s capabilities.

Compliance and reporting

Many organizations are subject to regulatory requirements and industry standards governing data security and privacy. A SOC plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with these regulations by monitoring for unauthorized access, data breaches and other security incidents. Additionally, a well-managed SOC will produce regular reports detailing security incidents, trends and metrics for stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

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Kaseya’s Security Suite has the tools that MSPs and IT professionals need to mitigate cyber-risk effectively and affordably, featuring automated and AI-driven features that make IT professionals’ lives easier. 

BullPhish ID – This effective, automated security awareness training and phishing simulation solution provides critical training that improves compliance, prevents employee mistakes and reduces a company’s risk of being hit by a cyberattack.    

Dark Web ID – Our award-winning dark web monitoring solution is the channel leader for good reason: it provides the greatest amount of protection around with 24/7/365 human- and machine-powered monitoring of business and personal credentials, including domains, IP addresses and email addresses.   

Graphus – Automated email security is a cutting-edge solution that puts three layers of AI-powered protection between employees and phishing messages. It works equally well as a standalone email security solution or supercharges your Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace email security.     

RocketCyber Managed SOC – Our managed cybersecurity detection and response solution is backed by a world-class security operations center that detects malicious and suspicious activity across three critical attack vectors: endpoint, network and cloud.

Datto EDR – Detect and respond to advanced threats with built-in continuous endpoint monitoring and behavioral analysis to deliver comprehensive endpoint defense (something that many cyber insurance companies require).     

Vonahi Penetration Testing – How sturdy are your cyber defenses? Do you have dangerous vulnerabilities? Find out with vPenTest, a SaaS platform that makes getting the best network penetration test easy and affordable for internal IT teams.  

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