As the cyberthreat landscape is getting more sophisticated, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is also rising. The recent 2022 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study revealed that, in the past year, the cybersecurity workforce gap (the difference between the number of security professionals required and the number of suitably qualified people in the marketplace) has grown more than twice as much as the number of actual cybersecurity workforce hired, with a 26.2% year-on-year increase. Moreover, 70% of respondents considered that their organizations did not have enough cybersecurity staff, and more than 50% felt that this staff deficit was putting their organization at risk of cyberattacks.
In this context, more organizations, especially small medium businesses (SMBs), are relying on MSPs and MSSPs to manage their IT security operations. In fact, the global managed security services market is predicted to grow to around $53.2bn by 2031—up from its 2021 level of $14.6bn. As a result, service providers are looking to expand their security practices to keep pace with this growing demand.
However, this growth opportunity for MSPs also comes with challenges. Managing security operations for more customers can add to the daily operational workload of IT technicians and increase the chances of alert fatigue (where technicians miss things because of the sheer number of alerts they’re receiving). Alleviating this burden by hiring additional staff is also made more difficult by the security labor shortage. And even for MSPs that operate their own Security Operations Centers (SOCs), expanding their security practice can be challenging for the same reasons.
So how can MSPs address these challenges? Partnering with a SOC-as-a-Service or managed SOC provider can be an ideal solution, regardless of whether the MSP already runs a SOC or not.
What is SOC-as-a-Service?
A SOC, security operations center, is a team of IT security experts that monitors an organization’s IT infrastructure to identify and mitigate security incidents. The SOC team is typically comprised of a SOC manager who oversees the SOC operations, security engineers who build and maintain the security architecture, security analysts who investigate and respond to threat incidents, and threat hunters who proactively search for any threats that may have evaded other defenses and contain them.
A SOC’s key responsibilities include managing and maintaining IT security systems and technologies (e.g., SIEM, SOAR, EDR, XDR etc.), deriving insights from threat data that helps improve the organization’s security stance, coordinating the organization’s security tools, practices, and incident response processes, and ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations.
SOC-as-a-Service, also known as managed SOC, is a managed security service that allows organizations to outsource threat detection and incident response to an external SOC. Through this subscription-based offering, organizations can access a team of cybersecurity experts who can act as an extension of their IT teams and take on the operational tasks of monitoring the entire infrastructure 24/7, identifying, investigating, and responding to threat events.
Partnering with a managed SOC services provider helps eliminate the challenge of having to hire additional security professionals. Outsourcing security operations to a managed SOC can give you instant access to the cybersecurity expertise and experience needed to efficiently operate security tools and technologies, as well as knowledgeably deal with a variety of threats; it can also help ensure the 24/7 availability of experts to mitigate threats as soon as they’re detected.
This means that using SOC-as-a-Service can help you to rapidly expand your security practice. You don’t need to allocate time and resources to building an internal IT security team, to layer on new tools and technologies, or to achieve compliance with the growing number of data privacy regulations.
Partnering with a managed security operations center is essentially a shortcut to getting everything in place as soon as you close the deal. So, regardless of the size of your MSP/MSSP or how advanced your security offering is—some MSPs only have an endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution in place—a managed SOC can help you to easily scale your business.
How partnering with a managed SOC provider can help you
Partnering with a managed SOC provider can help MSPs/MSSPs to:
- Add advanced security services to their offering and drive new revenue streams
- Divert costs of expanding their security practice or building their own SOC
- Transfer the operational burden and rapidly increase customer resolutions
Even MSPs/MSSPs that already own a SOC can use a managed SOC to augment their own. This approach can help:
- Accelerate revenue growth from offering more advanced security services
- Manage more customers with varying degrees of project complexity
- Improve their own IT security staff’s satisfaction by allowing them to focus on more strategic projects
What to consider when choosing a managed SOC
When choosing a managed SOC partner, taking into consideration the following aspects may help you develop an effective partnership in the long run:
- 24/7, global coverage. Are they able to provide global coverage? If you plan to expand to other geographies anytime in the future, SOC services that can cover several time zones will help quickly scale your business internationally.
- Deep cybersecurity expertise. What level of expertise and how many years of experience do their security experts have? For example, a SOC team that has managed enterprise-level security operations for several years may have dealt with a greater variety of threat events and seen how threats have evolved over time. All of this is curated knowledge they can leverage to investigate and resolve future threat events at greater speed.
- Access to the right data. What endpoint telemetry do they rely on for investigating threats? Contextualized endpoint telemetry (including benign data) can provide more accurate insights that help SOC analysts to better understand a threat event and its root cause. This, in turn, helps take the correct mitigation actions, faster.
- Fast time to resolution. What’s their average time to resolution in case of a threat incident? The lower the average mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) they can demonstrate, the better. This metric also depends on the tools the SOC experts are using, so looking into the systems and technologies they rely on can provide additional useful insights.
- Experience with the tools used. Are they using proprietary tools? Using proprietary tools means they have in-house knowledge and expertise, with no involvement from third parties. This typically translates to greater speed and accuracy in both incident response and threat hunting activities.
There’s no better time to act on an opportunity than now. As cybersecurity attacks are getting more frequent and sophisticated, the security labor shortage is leaving many organizations no choice but to outsource their security operations.
This is a great growth opportunity for MSPs. But many are not currently equipped to take on more customers, and acquiring that equipment will require time and money. Partnering with a managed SOC, however, can help you not only grow your customer base, but also scale your business at a much faster pace.
N-able Managed EDR uses SentinelOne’s SOC and Vigilance security experts to provide managed security services designed for MSPs that have standardized on N-able EDR powered by SentinelOne. Get in touch with our security specialists to discuss how N-able Managed EDR can help address your specific needs.