Every day, many business owners wake up and drive to work, only to discover that they’ve been breached. At that point, the cybercriminals responsible for the breach have had more than enough time to erase all traces of their malicious activity.
Such incidents are, unfortunately, way too common because many small and medium-sized businesses have yet to build out a Security Operations Center (SOC) for 24×7 security monitoring.
Without it, they’re unable to rapidly detect and respond to intrusions from internet traffic, which can happen around the clock—not just during business hours. The good news is that implementing a SOC has never been easier and more affordable.
What Is a Security Operation Center (SOC)?
A Security Operation Center (SOC) is a centralized facility whose purpose is to detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents in real-time. To accomplish this objective, the SOC team relies on a combination of processes and technology solutions, including Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) tools, and Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW).
As explained by the security software company McAfee, “a SOC acts like the hub or central command post, taking in telemetry from across an organization’s IT infrastructure, including its networks, devices, appliances, and information stores, wherever those assets reside.”
You can think of a SOC as a cybersecurity version of the Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center. Instead of monitoring the flight trajectory and other critical space shuttle parameters, the SOC team is keeping an eye on login attempts, inbound and outbound connections, and user behavior to distinguish cyberattacks from benign activity.
When the SOC team identifies a security incident that could affect the organization by triaging and investigating incoming alerts, they quickly stop the threat before it becomes a major problem, regardless if it happens around lunch or at 3:00 AM.
The Benefits of a SOC
Businesses can theoretically protect themselves even without a SOC, but experience tells us that such attempts are prone to failure because even the best automated detection tools are only as good as the experts who use them. What’s more, having a SOC provides a business with multiple benefits that make it well worth the cost associated with it.
Decreased Response Time
One of the most important benefits of a SOC is its ability to significantly decrease the time it takes to respond to identified threats. In many cases, the SOC team is able to proactively identify potential cybersecurity incidents by detecting anomalous events and stop them before anything serious happens. As such, it can be said that SOCs keep minor incidents from growing into major breaches.
Data breaches can be extremely expensive, costing businesses of all sizes $200,000 on average. In addition to costs associated with downtime, they also cause long-lasting reputation damage, which is just one of many reasons why only 40 percent of businesses that fall victim to a major data breach survive for more than six months. Avoiding costly data breaches is much easier with a SOC because it provides 24×7 security monitoring and instant response.
Access to Skilled Expertise
Automated threat detection tools are effective only when their output is analyzed by skilled cybersecurity professionals with diverse skill sets and the ability to distinguish real threats from false positives. SOC operators combine their expertise to effectively protect businesses from the most dangerous cyber-attacks, and they can play a pivotal role in strengthening their cyber defenses.
Is a 24×7 SOC Expensive to Build?
Many small and medium-sized businesses are not eager to build out their own SOCs because the associated costs can be overwhelming, especially considering that we’re currently in the midst of an IT skills shortage. Fortunately, businesses don’t have to add security experts to their payroll because they can sign up for a SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS).
A SOC-as-a-Service is a subscription service that delivers 24×7 security monitoring and the skills necessary to combat cybersecurity threats. It does so in a highly cost-effective manner because it doesn’t require businesses to make a large upfront investment and deal with ongoing maintenance costs. That’s why its total cost of ownership over a three-year period is up to 8.8% lower compared with building a 24×7 SOC in-house, according to a study conducted by Frost & Sullivan.
If all this sounds interesting to you, contact us at BCA IT, and we’ll help you implement the 24×7 security monitoring your business needs to keep even the most dangerous threats at bay.