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Given the rapidly evolving cyber security threat landscape, organisations are well served to consider a Security Operations Centre (SOC). If you are concerned about the increased number of cyber-attacks and network vulnerabilities, the benefits of SOC protection could prevent a debilitating hack.

What is a Security Operations Centre (SOC)?

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is either an in-house or outsourced team of professionals who monitor a company’s network and IT security. Experienced SOC security staff members provide 24/7/365 vigilance to detect emerging threats in real time. The size of an in-house SOC team primarily depends on the organisation and its managed IT footprint. Using the latest technologies to identify anomalies and unusual user behaviour, a SOC team possesses the expertise and technological tools to detect cyber-attacks before an incident negatively impacts an organisation.

How does a SOC work?

A SOC team is tasked with ensuring an agreed target security posture that far exceeds the use of enterprise-level firewalls, antivirus software, endpoint protections, and multi-factor authentication strategies alone. Once a threat has been confirmed using next-generation technologies, seasoned cyber security specialists take proactive measures to thwart potential breaches.

How to Integrate SOC into a business

Business leaders are tasked with choosing between building an in-house SOC  or outsourcing cyber security oversight and protection. This decision is generally based on company needs, resources, and capabilities. Integrating a SOC function requires an in-depth understanding of the operation’s business objectives and aligning them with a SOC design that furthers your interests. These are ways an in-house and outsourced managed SOC team differs.

In-House SOC

Creating an in-house SOC can be something of a Herculean task for organisations. The process begins with assessing the technical architecture of the company’s systems, workflow, automation, and Security Information Event Management (SIEM) posture. With this information in hand, leadership usually taps an experienced cyber security specialist to serve as the SOC manager. The SOC team usually requires a primary security analyst and staff members with specialised skills. These are multiple people proficient at responding to threats and brute-force cyber-attacks and often also include those with forensic investigation credentials or a compliance auditor.

With a complete SOC team in place that can handle around-the-clock protection, the business purchases or leases a wide range of cyber security tools. These generally involve intrusion detection systems, penetration testing tools, vulnerability scanners, as well as governance, risk, and compliance systems.

t’s not uncommon for the cost of establishing an in-house SOC to prove prohibitive. Even large corporations that possess the financial resources to fund a SOC discover a shortage of cyber security specialists to hire. For example, Fortune magazine noted in October 2022 the global cyber security workforce shortage hovered at around 3.4 million personnel.

Managed SOC

By contrast, enlisting the support of a Managed SOC Provider, often referred to as SOC as a service, eliminates the need to onboard cyber security specialists, managers, or spend valuable resources on IT infrastructure. It will be critical to vet a managed SOC provider to ensure the third-party firm aligns with your business approach.

A managed SOC typically provides ongoing oversight and protection from a remote command centre that enjoys all of the technologies and human resources of the best in-house SOC. The operation must possess the bandwidth to maintain 24/7 monitoring. Its SOC team members should also have the training, qualifications and experience to protect your company from emerging threats. Once you feel confident a managed SOC outfit can deliver on your needs, the final step involves negotiating a cost-effective agreement.

Advantages of using a SOC

Industry leaders must weigh their investment in Cyber Security against its benefits. In terms of moving forward with an in-house or managed SOC provider, that approach holds true.

One metric used to determine the cost-effectiveness of integrating a SOC into your business model involves avoiding losses. According to The Annual Cyber Threat Report from Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), over 76,000 cybercrime reports were receive in the 2021-22 financial year. That’s up 13% and equates to one every 7 minutes, with an average cost per crime ranging from $38,000 to $88,000. Along with preventing a complete shutdown of your organisation, these are other proven benefits of SOC.

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Continuous security monitoring

It’s essential for business leaders to consider cyber security as a global issue that knows neither day nor night. A hacker could be sitting in a café halfway around the world, working furiously to breach your network. In the cybercriminal’s time zone, it could be late afternoon while your business is closed and your IT security team is done for the day.

That’s one of the key benefits of SOC protections that too many organisations fail to consider. It’s not necessarily that hackers stay up all hours banging away on their laptop keyboards. The facts are they target the digital assets of honest businesses in other countries to avoid prosecution. The constant monitoring by a SOC can detect or prevent for late-night attacks and is a key part of a Cyber Security uplift.

Centralised visibility

In today’s competitive business environment, digital transformation is essential for growth. Over the last decade alone, we’ve experienced a spike in remote workforces, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and a shift to Cloud-based systems. These changes may reduce costs and further goal achievement. However, they also tend to decentralise an operation’s digital footprint and complicate the monitoring of those disparate systems.

With organisations network and attack surface increasing, it is mission-critical to bring cyber security measures under one umbrella. An effective SOC centralises all of the moving parts and its staff watches over them.

Scalability and flexibility

When business professionals work with a managed SOC provider, they have an opportunity to create a dynamic and scalable agreement. Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) work with businesses of all sizes to provide as-needed IT consulting services. A growing business has the option of increasing its managed SOC in harmony with growth and profitability.

Reduced Cyber Security costs

One of the cost-effective benefits of SOC outsourcing involves reduced expenses. For a small or medium-sized business to procure the software, licenses, and people to run a SOC requires a substantial investment. But a third-party cyber security firm already has the latest technologies and specialists in place. Organisations that broker a deal with a managed SOC provider can leverage that technology and expertise while avoid significant costs of building, scaling and maintaining it inhouse.

Comprehensive intelligence

The cyber security industry is something of a chess match between criminals and cyber security professionals. For each scheme hackers develop to infiltrate systems and pilfer off sensitive and valuable digital assets, security experts identify them and take proactive measures.

In today’s world of hackers that range from garden variety to advanced persistent threats (APT), few organisations have the effective protections needed. Among the essential benefits of a SOC solution is the fact you have experts on your side who can leverage comprehensive Threat Intelligence (TI) to ferret out the most sophisticated efforts to breach your system.

Rapid and effective response

A SOC transforms an organisation’s cyber security posture from a passive, reactionary model to a proactive force. The team providing diligent oversight of your resources is not tasked with restoring it after a hacker disrupts operations. Instead, they use their experience, knowledge, and skills to go threat hunting. After hackers suffer a rude awakening at the hands of the SOC team, they look elsewhere for low-hanging fruit.

Compliance and Governance

Government regulations continue to evolve in an effort to protect individuals and enterprises from cyber-crime. These increasingly stringent regulations must be incorporated into an organisation's policies, procedures and ethical standards. Meeting regulatory and company standards can strain the resources of in-house IT staff members. The good news is that some compliance and governance requirements can be met through the implementation of an effective SOC and vulnerability management.

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Why would an organisation require a managed SOC?

The importance of rapid threat detection and response cannot be understated. The strength of a company’s cyber security capabilities will largely determine whether it can repel hackers or have its digital assets stolen and sold on the dark web. When online thieves breach your system, they often expose clients and information that could negatively impact business-to-business relationships. If your company lacks the following, it’s worthwhile to consider managed IT services before suffering a tarnished reputation and potential fines or regulatory action.

Internal IT skill gaps

Poll the in-house IT staff and determine whether they possess the specialised training to serve on a SOC team. If a skills gap exists, it may be prudent to schedule a consultation with a third party managed security services provider (MSSP).

Budget and ROI

Consider sitting down with the CFO and calculating whether the organisation has the resources to build, staff, and maintain a 24/7/365, in-house SOC. Even if your business can afford the expense, weigh it against what a third party firm would charge on a monthly and yearly basis.

Lack of automated threat detection

Without the next-generation technologies necessary to identify threats, businesses cannot muster a response until after the fact. Without forward-looking defences, a data breach and accompanying losses may be inevitable.

CBS can help with SOC security

Canon Business Services (CBS) can help you get started or continue on your cyber security journey. Our team would initially start with a Cybersecurity assessment to establish a baseline and determine the best strategy moving forward, that combines quick wins along with establishing longer term cyber defences.

Canon Business Services provides scalable and effectively Managed SOC Services for organisations across industries. If your company would benefit from the expertise of an experienced and flexible SOC team, contact CBS for personalised support.

Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) is one of Australia’s most highly accredited Cybersecurity services organisations. We’re proud to be among the few Australian MSSPs in the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), which means we can better defend you against a world of increasing cyber threats. CBS is one of the few MSSP’s holding three Azure Advanced Security Specialisations, across Identity & Access Management, Cloud Security and Threat Protection. We know whats required to safeguard your organisation today.

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