According to the 2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index, half of the organizations (54%) reported at least one cybersecurity incident in 2023. To safeguard sensitive data and critical assets, enterprises are adopting Security Operations Centers (SOCs). SOC comprises a team of security professionals who analyze, monitor, detect, prevent, mitigate, and investigate cyber threats targeting organizations. However, establishing an internal SOC may be challenging and requires significant resources. Therefore, outsourced SOC becomes an attractive solution to protect businesses. What are the advantages of outsourcing SOC? And how to find the best provider? We gathered all the answers to help you make the right decision.

What are the key functions of SOC?

SOC teams oversee the threat landscape across various systems, including desktops, endpoints, networks, and cloud infrastructure. They work with other departments to identify vulnerabilities and implement effective mitigation strategies. Let's overview the main SOC functions:

  1. Prevention. Prevention is advanced protection against known and unknown threats, stopping them before they breach systems. SOC specialists accomplish this with the help of real-time monitoring tools and processes such as SIEM, EDR, and NIPS that prevent intrusions at entry points.
  2. Monitoring. Proactive monitoring involves analyzing network traffic and logs for suspicious behavior and triggering alerts for potential attacks. Advanced threat monitoring tools with machine learning capabilities help security experts detect non-signature-based threats by analyzing historical patterns.
  3. Responding to threats. The SOC team conducts threat examinations to understand the nature and severity of damages. They leverage threat intelligence to assess the attack's intent and determine containment steps. They also contain the threat, guided by an incident response plan (IRP) typically based on NIST or CISA frameworks.
  4. Management and maintenance. SOC teams gather information, maintain network logs, and document processes and auditing changes. They enhance security by updating software, operating systems, and applications to mitigate the risk of unknown threats.
  5. Training. A robust security system integrates people, processes, and tools, with people being key contributors. Common security issues often result from employee negligence or unawareness. SOC teams provide training to cover industry regulations, security best practices, and organizational policies, including regular testing and result documentation.
  6. Compliance. Compliance with data protection laws and regulations like SOC 2, ISO, or GDPR may be necessary for the company. SOC teams can coordinate your efforts to adhere to these regulations, helping avoid legal issues.

Responsibilities of a Security Operations Center (SOC)

Top 5 reasons to choose outsourced SOC

Outsourcing a SOC allows you to leverage the knowledge of experienced cybersecurity experts, which brings about a wide range of benefits. Let's take a look at these and other benefits of outsourced SOC:

  • Cost-efficiency: Outsourcing a SOC is more cost-effective since it removes the necessity for in-house infrastructure and tools as well as the hiring and training of cybersecurity talents. By conservative estimate, building an internal SOC for a mid-sized company costs over $2M, half of which is the salary of full-time security analysts, according to Indeed.
  • Access to cybersecurity experts: SOC service providers typically maintain a team of experienced cybersecurity professionals with diverse skill sets, granting clients access to a broad range of expertise. This can save a lot of time and effort since finding the needed experts is often quite difficult.
  • Continuous monitoring: Many outsourcing providers offer 24/7 monitoring and threat detection, ensuring uninterrupted protection against cybersecurity threats, even outside regular business hours. It is significantly more expensive and challenging for organizations to implement in-house round-the-clock monitoring by themselves.
  • Quick deployment of advanced technologies: Outsourcing specialists have expertise in using various modern technologies to protect businesses. An experienced provider can help you choose the most suitable tools that meet your organization's requirements and implement them, wasting no time. Selecting the necessary technologies and training in-house security specialists to use them can take a lot of resources for organizations with internal SOCs.
  • Easy scalability: Outsourcing SOC allows swift scaling and extending coverage as your business expands. With existing systems and equipment, they can effortlessly implement new solutions. Expanding on your own can take a long time, as it requires resources to hire new employees and adopt new technologies.

In-house VS outsourced SOC

It is important to mention that in-house SOC is the only option for businesses operating in industries with strict data policies, such as the military, finance, and healthcare. They have to choose this security model to minimize the risk of confidential information exposure.

Other organizations can also choose a hybrid model instead of solely relying on an in-house or outsourced security operation center. They combine expertise from external providers with their in-house SOC capabilities.

Read more: Best practices for outsourcing cybersecurity services

How to overcome the most common challenges of adopting outsourced SOC

Although outsourcing SOC has many benefits, relying on an external provider for security can pose some challenges.

1. Communication gap

Communication with an external SOC can sometimes be complicated, leading to misunderstandings or delays in response to security incidents. Moreover, when teams are located in different time zones, it may be difficult to schedule meetings, respond to urgent issues, or receive immediate feedback.

Tip from N-iX: Establish clear communication channels and protocols linking the organization's team with the outsourced SOC. Schedule regular knowledge transfer sessions and workshops to update the outsourced team on organizational changes or advancements.

2. Integration with existing systems

External SOC teams may require more time to learn the intricacies of the organization's infrastructure, applications, and specific security requirements.

Tip from N-iX: Provide the external SOC team with comprehensive onboarding on the organization's environment, including infrastructure, applications, security policies, and procedures. Also, share documentation about the technology stack, types of incidents that were already noticed, and general documents about security processes with the outsourcing team. Moreover, the security provider can perform an audit to evaluate your existing architecture.

3. Data privacy and compliance concerns

Entrusting security operations to an external provider may raise concerns about data privacy, confidentiality, and regulatory adherence. Safeguarding sensitive data when collaborating with a third-party SOC requires strict security protocols and contractual arrangements.

Tip from N-iX: Ensure the security provider complies with applicable data protection laws and regulations (e.g., GDPR, ISO, PCI DSS). Create clear contract terms outlining data management, security, and compliance requirements.

How to choose a vendor for outsourcing SOC

Organizations must thoroughly assess key aspects of a managed SOC provider to ensure it meets their cybersecurity needs. We advise considering the following:

  • Technological expertise: You should check what technologies the provider is proficient in for SIEM, EDR, or other functions. It is essential to consider that one specialist cannot be an expert in monitoring, compliance, or response to attacks. If you require additional capabilities or expertise, your partner should be able to consult you on the team composition you need.
  • Reputation and experience: A reliable vendor must have sufficient experience in cybersecurity proven by real use cases. You should check the portfolio on the provider's website and look for the clients' feedback on Clutch to assess whether the company has the required expertise to deal with specific attacks, tools, and policies. Also, look at the industries and sizes of businesses the provider works with to see if it's a good fit for your organization.
  • Incident handling capabilities: In the event of a hands-on attack, quick response and containment are crucial to prevent business disruption and system shutdown. Your SOC provider should have a step-by-step plan for eliminating the threat and experienced specialists who can collaborate with you to contain the threat and achieve complete remediation.
  • Adherence to security regulations: Confirm that the vendor adheres to the security policies and regulatory standards used in your organization. Also, check the provider's domain-specific expertise and compliance with industry regulations.

Protect your business with a Security Operations Center

Why is N-iX the right choice for outsourcing SOC?

  • Having 21 years of experience in cybersecurity and a team of over 20 security experts, N-iX possesses the tools and proficiency to address modern security and operational challenges effectively;
  • N-iX has delivered over 100 security projects for businesses across various industries, including finance, energy, telecom, healthcare, and more;
  • N-iX is a participating member of the CyberGRX Exchange and the Datadog Partner Network;
  • N-iX adheres to international data security protocols such as PCI DSS, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and GDPR.

Have a question?

Speak to an expert
N-iX Staff
Andriy Varusha
Head of Cloud & Security

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