Embrace services to improve security operations

John Maddison, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Products at Fortinet

Digital transformation, work-from-anywhere trends, and complex networks are everyday business realities that also help expand the attack surface available to cybercriminals. Paired with a complex and crowded threat landscape, organizations are faced with a recipe for security analyst burnout.

Security analysts are increasingly strapped as they work to triage, respond, and remediate an increasing number of alerts, threats, and incidents. However, finding workable solutions to free up security analysts’ time for higher-priority projects or upskilling can be challenging.

The solution isn’t to simply add more point products give this approach will only increase the attack surface and potentially slow operations. Adding more talent to the security operations center (SOC) is an attractive option, but the ongoing cybersecurity talent shortage offers no quick or easy solution.

For many organizations, outsourcing offers a flexible way to provide access to dedicated experts while easing the load on in-house teams. Organizations can re-energize their analysts and optimize operations by eliminating the “noise” and removing barriers. As a result, they can shift their teams’ focus to strategic tasks that better protect the business.

Get proactive 

Some organizations might see the use of external services as a weakness within the business. This misperception can leave SOC leaders struggling to solve challenges with limited resources. The reality is that many well-staffed and sophisticated SOC teams leverage third parties to support security needs. Access to skilled vendors can help SOC teams build capacity, access specific expertise, and introduce a different perspective when reviewing or improving security processes.

Simply introducing a service provider to focus on everyday tasks could significantly impact in-house SOC teams. Without the need to manage daily alert monitoring and triage, teams are better equipped to advance strategic priorities. By limiting the need to engage in reactionary tasks, employees will have time to dig into business-critical issues like risk reduction, automation, and training – all key to staying ahead of emerging cybersecurity threats.

New perspectives 

Enlisting outside security services provides access to experts with the knowledge and skills to improve an organization’s security posture. For example, security services providers can conduct SOC assessments to evaluate operations and processes and their effectiveness in reducing risk. Outside experts can also be engaged to build out incident response, run tabletop exercises, and develop a playbook to ensure the organization is better prepared when a security incident happens.

Many organizations can benefit from outsourced incident response support or even cybersecurity awareness training. Having experts on standby delivers peace of mind while expanding an organization’s ability to move quickly and efficiently to remediation following a breach.

Organizational benefits to outsourcing:

Third-party service providers can also help organizations manage resource gaps. Providers working as an extension of the SOC team can offload more mundane tasks, increase coverage, or enable access to new skill sets. For example, a SOC-as-a-service (SOCaaS) provider could assist with monitoring during off-peak hours or machine learning experts could help teams process large volumes of data.

Qualified SOCaaS providers can also help security teams build automation processes. Through automation, organizations can streamline workflows that could otherwise stretch SOC teams thin. Automated processes increase your team’s ability to detect and mitigate attacks, helping the team respond faster and more efficiently when an incident occurs.

Expand your approach and your resources:

The threat landscape and technology are constantly in flux, yet the resources we need are only sometimes the ones we have. Businesses should consider bolstering their SOC teams with the right mix of third-party services to better protect against the unknown. Fully outsourced or fully in-house approaches are unlikely to work for most organizations. The benefit of a hybrid SOC is in the flexibility it provides.

It’s clear that outsourced services are a strategic investment in flexible access to the skill sets and bandwidth needed to meet today’s evolving threat landscape. Third-party services can free SOC teams to improve, enhance and expand their security processes and technologies while creating space to focus on more strategic priorities. This blended approach to security operations offers tangible value by enhancing an organization’s security posture and ensuring that existing security talent remains engaged and committed.

John Maddison is Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Products at Fortinet