Can a third party provide a security operations centre?

Make no mistake, managing the security posture of an entire organisation is no easy feat. Whether you’re an SME, in the mid-market or larger, if you’re short on cybersecurity resources, strategy, and skills, your challenge will be the same.

With a rapidly worsening threat landscape and cyber skills shortage to contend with, many organisations are turning to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) to deliver critical security posture. This includes the increasingly important Security Operations Centre (SOC) – today’s holy grail of cybersecurity mitigation, defence and response.

Both in-house and third-party implementations of a security operations centre can have pros and cons. Use the information below to compare the advantages and disadvantages of internal and external SOCs and determine how your business can benefit.

Can a Security Operations Centre be outsourced?

MSSP third parties can provide SOCs and in many cases, are the ideal solution for outsourcing a SOC. Due to their business models and investment strategies, they are often more likely to possess the skills, experience, resources and technology to build a SOC that’s fit for purpose and futureproof.

The decision of whether to leverage an in-house SOC or MSSP is paramount. Why? Your organisation’s security, network, and reputation are in the hands of an in-house or MSSP. Yet, it’s a decision that any business intent on bolstering its cybersecurity must make.

 

 

Advantages of an outsourced SOC

Cost efficiency

Hiring the extremely specific, high-skill jobs required to create a much-needed SOC isn’t easy on the balance sheet. And this is without factoring in salary inflation from the cyber skills shortage. Using an outsourced SOC unlocks access to every cyber professional you need to achieve a fully functional SOC and all its benefits.

Access to expertise

An outsourced SOC doesn’t just invest in its people and tools on your behalf. It invests in knowledge. And with threat actors now more like mastermind strategists than slapdash opportunists, knowledge really is power. With access to internal research, open-source databases and the wider security community, an outsourced SOC guarantees the highest quality and capability.

Seamless scale

With the cyber threat landscape shifting, it goes to say that needs are in constant flux too. Adding to your team, space and infrastructure on-demand may not be viable. But with an outsourced SOC, you simply say you need more support, and they deliver. No disruption, no bedding-in period, no delays. Just results.

Serious SLAs

Now, we know that internal SOCs are just as serious about their performance targets as outsourced SOC. The difference with a third party is that they’re solely focused on your security. Internal teams can be pulled into meetings, calls and other colleagues’ priorities. It’s just part of working internally! That said, an MSSP is solidly bound to SLAs.

Disadvantages of an outsourced SOC

Organisational knowledge

There’s no skirting around it. Your outsourced SOC is not, well, you! To establish an effective SOC with ongoing mitigation, analysis, response and evaluation posture, the people delivering the solution must have exceptional knowledge of your business. Only shortlist providers who are prepared to dig deep before signing on the dotted line.

Data management

Your outsourced SOC team needs total and unfiltered access to literally every iota of data coming in and out of your business. To ensure that data sharing and management continue following business policy, you must stay very much in the fold. A SOC picks up almost all security functions but – be prepared to collaborate regularly on data policy.

Additional processes

Introducing an extra party inevitably means extra processes. Now, a good MSSP will work to integrate, streamline, and consolidate your existing processes as much as possible ahead of go-live. But make your expectations clear.

 

 

Advantages of an internal SOC

Data control:

Data sovereignty, residency and protection are huge information security talking points and for good reason. Customers are increasingly wary of third-party data sharing not because it’s not useful. But because they don’t know and trust the third-party handling their digital assets. Internal SOCs can keep total control of data and access conversations.

A team dynamic:

It may be important to have your SOC team together, in the same building as business leaders and each other, for company culture reasons. If this is the case, outsourced, remote SOCs may not be appropriate, and you may consider an internal team’s value greater than a third-party SOC’s cost-efficiency.

Compatibility:

There’s always a chance that the advanced technologies and cutting-edge processes employed by an outsourced SOC may not quite fit with your existing infrastructure and cause teething problems. With robust scoping and specifying, this shouldn’t be a problem but is still one to consider if you’ve got considerable legacy in your IT infrastructure.

 

Disadvantages of an internal SOC

Unmanageable costs

There are at least five critical roles in even the smallest SOC – and all fall into a rather steep salary band. This expertise is non-negotiable but for some businesses, may simply be too expensive to deliver via full-time roles. Combining SOC roles is not preferable due to the staggered nature of mitigation and response. I.e., multitasking will lead to risky bottlenecks and paralysis.

Business hour restrictions

Although larger businesses or those in critical industries are well-used to a 24-hour clock, smaller organisations may struggle to commit cover at all hours of the day. In a Security Operations Centre, roster gaps are downright dangerous and will seriously weaken your organisation’s ability to respond to incidents.

Outdated threat intelligence

Managing security is a full-time job. How can a team also be expected to research the threats of the future, too? Only an MSSP specialising in security has the budget and resources to seek out and learn about the latest malicious threats and as a result, evolve in step with threats. Internal SOCs may be unable to fulfil this duty.

 

 

What’s it like to work with a third-party Security Operations Centre?

As part of our SOC solution, Sentis continually monitors your IT infrastructure, reducing the lead time to neutralise threats. Incidents will be prioritised based on commercial impact and will be communicated to the wider team with clear directives. Red threat incident responses will be escalated, and automated countermeasure deployment will tackle threats swiftly, in real-time, without waiting for human approval.

Not only that, but data from the entire IT infrastructure will also be aggregated and correlated into coordinated alerts and comprehensive reports, with emphasis on evasive tactics and infrastructure threats. Better still, businesses can benefit from using a single online platform with a bird’s eye view and extensive data to make decisions.

Once any threat(s) have been neutralised, Sentis will conduct a post-incident analysis to understand system weaknesses and make improvements and, of course, all corporate governance regulations will be adhered to.

Ready to explore outsourcing with the people that make it happen? Learn more about how Sentis Managed Solutions can help you design, develop and deploy a robust, cost-efficient SOC and get in touch with us today.