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7 Signs You Need a Security Operations Center

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Traditionally, startups and small to mid-sized businesses haven’t formed security operations centers (SOCs). Yet many cyber threats are happening on a daily basis to organizations of all sizes. Consequently, plenty of leaders have begun looking into the possibility of adding an internal SOC or partnering with an SOC-as-a-service provider.

To be sure, this isn’t a fast decision; it requires consideration. SOCs cost money to staff and maintain. Even outsourcing an SOC will require an annual budgetary commitment. And the SOC team, whether in-house or outsourced, will need to work seamlessly with current staffers. 

Despite these monetary concerns, many companies feel that the risks imposed by vulnerability far outweigh any temporary SOC creation hurdles. After all, the average data breach costs organizations more than $3.8 million. In other words, an SOC can quickly pay for itself.

Are you interested in closing cyber security gaps with an SOC but unsure if the timing is right to proceed? If you’re experiencing any of the following indicators, you’ll want to move forward with SOC plans sooner rather than later.

1. Your team is constantly targeted by cyber attackers.

Phishing attempts. Malware. Ransomware. Hackers aren’t holding back on their creativity in trying to get into your systems any way they can. In fact, you may only know about a few bigger attacks. Smaller ones may have breached your firewalls or infected your systems without detection, causing operational issues if not a full-blown security risk.

Statistics show that more than 7,000 breaches happened in 2019 alone; they’re the ones we know about, not the 53% of ones we don’t. Sure, you can install software and hope it slows down intruders. However, without a dedicated SOC made up of professional analysts and tech-savvy engineers, you’ll remain vulnerable. On the other hand, SOC personnel will be able to keep your company a step ahead with proactive, not just reactive, responses.

2. Your company’s taking too long to respond to threats.

Do you continuously find out about cyber attacks too long after they happen to do anything? This is more than frustrating; it puts your operations at risk again and again. It can also lead to a major data breach of your proprietary data or private customer information. 

SOCs know that hackers and attackers count on businesses being slow on the draw, with the average breach taking nearly 300 days to address. Delays give criminals time to get in, get desired data, and leave without being shut down. When you have an SOC in place, your SOC experts can mobilize efforts from a centralized point. Expect your SOC team to lean on historical cyber attack clues and digital “fingerprints” to quickly tamp down on events in real time. 

3. You have moved into the e-commerce sector.

Amid concerns over doing business the traditional way during the pandemic, many businesses have begun to dabble in e-commerce. While e-commerce platforms can make selling products and even services more convenient, they can also open doors for data breaches and related issues. 

An SOC will be able to consider all the ways attackers might try to invade or exploit your e-commerce platform to steal data. Knowing that your site is monitored 24/7 will help lessen worries that you’ll wake up in the morning to bad news. Remember: Consumers love e-commerce, but they don’t love it when their identities have been stolen.

4. Your people are telecommuting all or most of the time.

Many people now work from home and the trend is expected to continue into 2021. From a logistical standpoint, remote work can be a cost-effective way to keep operations humming along. Nevertheless, remote working cloud-based systems and platforms may suffer from vulnerabilities.

What’s the answer to this problem? Your SOC and IT teams can work in tandem. Together, they’ll reduce the chances of cyber attacks on your telecommuting employees, amassing logs of incidents and responses. Over time, your company should be able to sidestep foreseeable issues thanks to proactivity from the SOC.

5. You’ve managed cybersecurity in a piecemeal way.

When your organization was in its infancy, you may have assigned cybersecurity duties to one or two people. Over time, those people may have kept those initial responsibilities and added to them. Yet that doesn’t mean you have an actual SOC. Instead, you have parts of an SOC, but not the complete SOC advantage.

A true SOC includes people whose only job is to focus on cybersecurity. They’re not engaged in cybersecurity some of the time—their commitment is devoted to protecting your network and systems from attacks. Now, this isn’t to say that some employees currently involved in cybersecurity won’t be interested in moving to an SOC role. They might. But you need to establish the SOC team first.

6.  You’re handling customer needs 24/7.

Consumers appreciate being able to engage with preferred brands 24/7. Though that’s terrific for business, it opens the door for cyber threats to happen during “off” hours. 

SOCs can work round-the-clock. For instance, you may have a large enough company to require SOC employees to stagger themselves with shift work. Or, you may use an SOC-as-a-service provider to enable 24/7 monitoring. Either way, you’ll reduce the chances of being surprised by a breach attempt that happens overnight.

7. You would like to attract more high-quality talent.

The most talented job seekers are looking for companies that have stellar reputations and leverage modern processes and equipment. What better way to show top-notch candidates that you take risk management seriously than to tout your SOC?

Talk about your commitment to forming an SOC during interviews, and explain how it benefits everyone in the workforce. You’ll come across as leading edge and high-tech. Who knows? This could be the key differentiator that makes a strong applicant say “yes” to your offer over one from your competitor.

 At the end of the day, don’t think about SOC as a burden on your budget. Rather, look at SOCs as a viable way to save money by protecting your brand, employees, and customers from cyber threats and their fallout.

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