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Managed detection and response GLOSSARY

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

In the event of a cyberattack or data breach, timing is everything. Not only do you need to get back to full business operations as soon as possible, you also need to ensure that your sensitive assets and data are secured. You need a Security Operations Center (SOC) provider that has your back 24/7 so you can have peace of mind.

A SOC is a facility where a team of security analysts implement various tools and technologies (e.g., SIEM, XDR, Endpoint, Network) to conduct threat investigations and develop threat intelligence to hunt, investigate and respond to cyber threats in real-time. SOC analysts monitor your entire IT environment (e.g., endpoints, network, log, and cloud) for suspicious activity and are the first to respond when security threats emerge. 

In a matter of minutes, a well-established SOC team can:

  • Isolate hosts affected with threats like malware or ransomware
  • Triage incoming security alerts and cyber threats
  • Conduct in-depth investigations of advanced cyber threats
  • Provide complete response and remediation for cyber threats before they can impact your business.

How Does a Security Operations Center (SOC) Work?

The role of the Security Operations Center (SOC) is to protect an organization from known and unknown cyber threats that can bypass traditional security technologies, as well as threats that a traditional managed security service provider (MSSP) might miss. According to Gartner, a modern SOC must have four capabilities: detection engineering, continuous security monitoring, incident response, and threat intelligence.

It’s important to note that no single person or platform runs a Security Operations Center. An effective SOC leverages a combination of cybersecurity tools such as a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), Network Detection and Response NDR), Extended Detection and Response (XDR), Cloud Security Posture Management, and humans to provide 24/7 global coverage across the complete attack surface and conduct thorough human-led threat investigations.

A well-established Security Operations Center (SOC) function will include:

  • SOC Analysts and a team of expert Threat Hunters with CISSP and OSCP credentials
  • Access to an XDR platform with machine learning capabilities that can instantly bring attention to cyber threats and reduce the noise of security alerts
  • 24/7 security monitoring, threat hunting, threat disruption, containment, and complete response capabilities

In addition, SOC Analysts can also provide live support to inform you of ongoing security events, the steps you can take to contain and remediate threats, and provide answers to any questions your team may have.

What are the Benefits of Having a Security Operations Center?

Having a SOC oversee your organization is more than just having a team implement a SIEM log management tool or inform you of security alerts. Your SOC Analysts should go beyond your log data to correlate data across your endpoints, network, cloud, and identity signals to drive a deeper threat investigation. The deeper the threat investigation, the more comprehensive the response capabilities.

Experts in various cybersecurity specializations come together to extend your cybersecurity operations, keep an eye out for you, and actively respond to cybersecurity incidents when you need it most:

24/7 SOC Cyber Analysts:
SOC teams should monitor and aggregate alerts from across your environments around the clock, and are available remotely anytime from anywhere for a live discussion when you need it the most. The role of a SOC Cyber Analyst is to identify and investigate potentially malicious security events, execute response runbooks and deliver results through threat containment and remediation.

Security Operations Center Elite Threat Hunters:
To help the SOC drive deeper threat detection and investigation capabilities, Threat Hunters search for known and unknown threats on a 24/7 basis to prevent security breaches. They investigate and correlate suspicious behavior detected across the threat landscape, conduct original research, and curate threat intelligence to proactively hunt emerging cyber threats and prevent or mitigate cybersecurity incidents. In the event that your organization’s defenses are breached, Threat Hunters rapidly detect and contain attackers to keep your sensitive data and critical assets secure.

When you partner with a managed SOC provider, you work with experts who:

  • Prioritize risk mitigation and compliance requirements that are specific to your industry
  • Reduce business risk and delivers return on your cyber investment
  • Respond and remediate threats on your behalf, backed by a Mean Time To Contain that is guaranteed
  • Drive continuous improvement in your defenses and overall services
  • Becomes an extension of your security teams who understands your business objectives and security priorities
  • Works with you on a regular basis to ensure you are moving your cybersecurity posture forward

Not only do you have people working on your side, a Security Operations Center (SOC) can also provide automated tools to discover the root cause of cyber threats in seconds and further enhance your organization's security posture.

How Expensive is it to Run an In-House Security Operations Center?

With cyberattacks and zero-day threats on the rise, many organizations are looking to leverage a 24/7 Security Operations Center facility to keep their systems secure. However, many CISOs and security leaders underestimate the cost of running their own in-house SOC.

Building an in-house SOC requires your organization to obtain the right people, processes, and security tools and technology to provide 24/7 security monitoring, threat intelligence, threat detection, and complete response effectively. Even by a conservative estimate, this can lead to an annual total of around $2.2M in the first year alone if you have 1,000 employees.

We have developed the eSentire Security Operations Center Pricing Calculator so you can quickly model what it would cost to build and run your own SOC compared to the cost of 24/7 threat investigation and response with eSentire Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and SOC-as-a-Service.

Calculate Your Costs Here

Should You Build or Buy Your Security Operations Center?

While having an in-house SOC seems like the most reliable way to protect your organization from cyber threats, it is both costly and time-consuming to maintain. Therefore, the alternative to building and hiring your own SOC staff is to outsource the Security Operations capabilities by enlisting the help of an Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provider.

Considering all the elements that must come together to build a SOC (i.e., hiring SOC Analysts and at least one SOC Manager, automation technology, security monitoring tools, and continuous training), it may be best for your organization to buy an outsourced SOC service that already possesses these elements that can be used to analyze endpoint signals, oversee your environment and block cybersecurity threats. Not only that, but building an effective SOC can take years to complete.

Business leaders should ask themselves the following questions when deciding whether to build or buy a SOC:

  1. What is the annual budget you have allocated toward the SOC?
  2. Can your team of security analysts support 24/7 in-house SOC operations?
  3. Who is going to design the SOC?
  4. Who will document SOC processes and procedures?
  5. How will you interpret and deliver threat intelligence insights?
  6. How will you demonstrate value to the executive team and board of directors?
  7. Do you have enough staff to build a SOC team?
  8. How are you going to engineer and deploy the technology required to run and manage the SOC?
  9. Who will handle compliance/regulations reporting/auditing should a breach happen or if there is some sort of reporting required to prove compliance?

If your organization does not have the time or resources to answer these questions, it is best to outsource a SOC to provide the right people, tools, and security insights for you. Be sure that your selected SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) provider is able to answer these questions to ensure that they are a good fit to oversee your threat environment.

Our Around-the-Clock Security Operations Center Stands Guard 24/7 So You Don’t Have To

The time from alert to action is critical for keeping your organization’s assets and operations secure. While being proactive helps keep cyber threats at bay, it is difficult for in-house security leaders to narrow down threats when working through troves of alerts and false positives.

Our Security Operations Center (SOC) stands on guard 24/7 so we can identify attacks in seconds and contain them before they can cause disruption. We apply a six-point methodology to how we develop and retain skilled cybersecurity professionals to fill the skills gap that is present in the field:

  1. Establish talent pipeline
  2. Prevent burnout
  3. Drive quality assurance
  4. Accelerate SOC efficiency
  5. Continuous education and certification
  6. Career progression

The Value of eSentire’s 24/7 Global SOCs

Watch this video to learn about the value of eSentire’s global SOCs and how our Cyber Analysts work as an extension of your team 24/7 to deliver security monitoring, hypothesis-driven threat hunting, threat disruption, containment, and complete response.


Our SOC quality assurance also ensures that your organization receives the best incident response experience. We answer your calls live every time by a trained SOC Analyst and perform regular audits of our service and investigations. Then, we share results across our team so we can continuously improve. Our methodology includes:

  • Sample the Data: SOC Analysts check against a random sampling anywhere between 75-100 security events every 24 hours.
  • Analyze the Data: SOC Analysts assess the quality and validity of the alerts that are being sent to customers.
  • Conduct an Audit: Using the data from the analysis, we conduct an audit, from both a process and technology perspective, to check the alerting quality from start to finish.
  • Prepare a Report: We gather the data and share with each SOC Analyst for continuous performance tracking.
  • Improve Continuously: We make a concentrated effort to identify issues that our SOC team faces and address key areas of improvement for additional training.

You should be protected by the best 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) in the business. Learn why security leaders count on eSentire’s SOC to protect their critical assets and how we can help you build a more robust security operation to prevent business disruption.

eSentire Managed Detection and Response

Our MDR service combines cutting-edge Extended Detection and Response (XDR) technology, multi-signal threat intelligence and 24/7 Elite Threat Hunters to help you build a world-class security operation today. Our threat protection is unparalleled in the industry - we see and stop cyberattacks other cybersecurity providers and technologies miss, delivering the most complete response and protection.

Learn how eSentire Multi-Signal Managed Detection and Response stops threats before they impact your business.