Embrace Services to Improve Security Operations

Embrace Services to Improve Security Operations

It’s no secret that the threat landscape is becoming more complex by the day. At the same time, the attack surface at many organizations continues to grow. The combination means security analysts are bogged down more than ever to effectively triage, respond to, and remediate alerts, threats, and incidents across their complex hybrid environments. Security analysts need more time to focus on higher-level projects as well as participate in training to enhance their skills.

However, these challenges can’t be solved simply by adopting new technologies. Adding more point products in response to new threats not only increases the attack surface but it also often slows daily operations, which is the opposite of the intended result. And if you think adding more headcount to your security operations center (SOC) is the answer, the ongoing cybersecurity talent shortage makes this process significantly more difficult than you might think.

The good news is that there are ways to overcome these hurdles and re-energize your analysts without adding new tools or staff members. Outsourcing some functions to dedicated experts is a critical way to eliminate noise and optimize operations so your team can focus on the most strategic tasks to better protect your business.

Shifting from Reactive to Proactive

Security operations center leaders are often under pressure to solve challenges that arise by using existing resources. Leveraging services is sometimes perceived as a failure, but this perception isn’t necessarily correct. Many sophisticated, well-staffed SOC teams embrace third-party services for various reasons, ranging from augmenting their internal team’s capabilities to wanting a third-party perspective to pressure test and ultimately improve their security programs.

Consider the strategic priorities you’d have your team focus on if they weren’t preoccupied with an abundance of daily alert monitoring and triaging. What results could you achieve if you shifted a significant portion of analysts’ time from performing reactionary tasks to proactive ones instead? And how would the overall performance of your security operations and risk reduction show up in metrics such as mean-time-to-detect, time to triage and investigate, mean-time-to-respond, or percent of threats responded through automated processes?

Embracing Security Services Will Benefit Your Entire Organization

Embracing third-party services can help organizations fill their resource gaps to create and maintain a strong security posture. For example, using a SOC-as-a-service (SOCaaS) provider to serve as an extension of your team allows you to offload tasks like monitoring during non-business hours and leveraging machine learning trained by highly specialized experts to process large volumes of data so that your analysts can focus on higher-impact activities.

SOCaaS providers can also help you build processes and streamline technologies and common workflows through automation. For the many security teams that are already stretched too thin, automation often feels like a pipe dream, so ask your SOCaaS provider about which daily tasks, such as bot activity monitoring, may benefit from automation. Lean on them to help you establish and train your machine-learning models. By adopting automation or building additional automated processes, your team can minimize the chances of a successful attack occurring and will be better equipped to respond faster and more efficiently if an incident does occur.

Another benefit to embracing security services is the ability to bring in an outside perspective. A security services provider can help your team assess your SOC operations and how well they work to reduce risk through a SOC assessment. Incident response (IR) readiness assessments, tabletop exercises, and playbook development also help evaluate and optimize your team and processes, so you’re better prepared when a security incident happens. A study conducted by Ponemon Institute illustrates the value of these types of activities. Organizations with an IR team that proactively test their IR plan typically reduce the costs associated with a breach by nearly $2.7 million.

In addition to conducting readiness exercises, organizations can outsource IR work if a breach occurs. The benefits of having a team of experts on standby cannot be stressed enough. Along with peace of mind, it also can help reduce the time required for remediation when a security incident does occur. And when it comes to sharpening skills and knowledge, many organizations work with a trusted vendor to create ongoing cybersecurity education programs both for their security teams and the organization at large.

Saying Goodbye to Old Ways of Thinking

Given the rapid changes occurring across the threat landscape and industry at large, it’s safe to say that most enterprises and their SOC teams could benefit from third-party services. The SOC of the future is hybrid. Fully outsourced and fully in-sourced SOCs aren’t practical for many organizations. Don’t let the old ways of thinking convince you otherwise.

Today, security analysts are deluged with alerts that need to be triaged and investigated, including false positives and the challenge of keeping up with the volume of alerts is daunting and unattainable for most organizations. Additionally, alert triage and investigation are often tedious, complex, and sometimes inconclusive, so many analysts who are under pressure to keep up end up burning out. Engaging in higher-level and more satisfying activities such as threat hunting or other activity can improve their overall expertise and job satisfaction.

Services represent an opportunity for improvement and better results. By embracing third-party services, your team can achieve goals faster, enhance and build upon the security processes and technologies already in place, and have the bandwidth to focus on more strategic projects that will keep your business better protected from threats over the long haul. The icing on the cake? Enabling a tiered or blended security operations approach increases the value of analysts to an organization. At the same time, the role they play keeps analysts more engaged, interested, and working at the organization longer.

Find out how the Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface to deliver consistent security across all networks, endpoints, and clouds.


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