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Blog | Nov 30, 2017

Security Operations Center (SOC): Build or buy?

How do you protect against today’s cyber threats?

As cyber-attacks become more frequent and more devastating, many organizations are quickly devising plans to protect against inevitable threats that could jeopardize their business. Unfortunately, while larger enterprises typically have the resources and wherewithal to manage cybersecurity initiatives in-house, small and mid-sized organizations are increasingly faced with the dilemma of scaling their existing IT operations to prioritize cybersecurity or looking to an external vendor to help them develop and execute a cybersecurity strategy.

Fortunately, we’re here to tell you that regardless of the size of your business, the answer to protecting against cyberattacks lies within a Security Operations Centre (SOC).

What is a SOC, and do you really need one?

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a facility where security analysts utilize forensic tools and threat intelligence to hunt, investigate and respond to cyber threats in real-time. Equipped with advanced tools and expertise, a SOC protects an organization from known and unknown threats that can bypass traditional security technologies. So in short, yes—you need a SOC to adequately protect against any and all cyberthreats.

So now you must decide: will you build your own Security Operations Center (SOC) in-house using your own staff, technology and resources, or will you enlist the help of a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) partner?

Are you ready for an in-house Security Operations Center?

If you’re thinking about building an internal SOC, start by asking these critical questions:

  1. Is there budget allocated on an annual basis?
  2. Can you support a 24x7 in-house operation?
  3. Do you have enough staff to build a SOC team?
  4. Do they have the necessary knowledge and skills?
  5. Who will design the physical SOC site?
  6. Who will document SOC processes and procedures?
  7. Who will develop a training program?
  8. How will you interpret and deliver threat intelligence insights?
  9. How will you demonstrate value to the executive team and board of directors?

You can build your own, but do you really want to? An in-house SOC allows you full control over how it operates and you can be sure all efforts are focused on your business, and your business alone. However, consider the up-front and ongoing investment involved as you weigh out your options.

Here are some steps you can take to help you understand exactly what you need:

  • Learn about the regulations facing your business or industry and map out your requirements.
  • Work with your internal stakeholders to determine budget, responsibilities and timing.
  • Assess your tools and people skills and explore how they would integrate with an external SOC.
  • Research cybersecurity vendors that can help you develop and execute your cybersecurity strategy.

To break it down ever further, we’ve provided a table to help you compare your options:

Technology Requires multiple product purchases and vendor contracts All services included in one subscription, based on one-year commitment
Tool Integration Disparate tools that are not integrated into single solution Fully integrated and managed tools
Time to Value Lengthy deployment over many months (or years) 4-week deployment, with modular roll outs available
Talent and Expertise Difficulty hiring and retaining skilled forensic professionals Access to elite security analysts, around the clock
Innovation Must be able to innovate at same pace of attackers Expertise of Threat Intelligence team included
Response Times Several hours (or days) to detect and respond to threats 35-second response time with full forensic capabilities
Ongoing CapEx and Maintenance Costly CapEx and maintenance model No CapEx or maintenance costs

Still torn? We have one more suggestion.

Build and Buy? The Hybrid Model.

A hybrid model allows an organization to leverage its own strengths and resources, while being supported by cybersecurity experts with advanced expertise and tools. Some organizations choose to supplement their in-house SOC with an outsourced second SOC, while others want to simply augment their internal resources while they work on getting their internal SOC off the ground. Either way, having a second set of eyes on the network at all times gives you a higher level of protection and confidence knowing that your valuable information is safe.

So, will you build, will you buy, or will you find a solution in-between? Download our eBook to learn which option is right for you.

Learn more

As cyberthreats continue to evolve, businesses without adequate cybersecurity defenses will be attacked over and over again, affecting both revenue and reputation. With MANAGED DETECTION AND RESPONSE, our SOC can be a great resource to monitor operations when you can’t do it all. We’ve got your back. Let us know what we can do to help.

Sean Blenkhorn

Sean Blenkhorn

Chief Experience Officer

As a seasoned security leader, Sean Blenkhorn has spent much of his nearly 20-year career consulting with leading global (FORTUNE 50, 100, 500 and 1000) companies around security and compliance solutions.