Why a SOC is a Must for MSPs and Their Customers

MSPs need the 24/7 capabilities of a modern security operations center to keep client networks safe.

Security Operations Center

MSPs that offer security services have, over the past few years, increasingly faced mounting cyberattacks. As soon as one potential threat is blocked, more are discovered. The suite of security tools that MSPs use to protect networks and endpoints simply cannot keep up with the pace of these attacks. In addition, the shortage of qualified security professionals has meant that simply throwing more bodies at the problem is unsustainable.

Clients need 24×7 monitoring, threat analysis and rapid response – in most cases, that means a security operations center (SOC). Unfortunately, most small- and medium-sized businesses do not have the resources to set up and manage a SOC; plus, many are already outsourcing security to MSPs. And many MSPs also don’t have the staff, expertise, or funding to set up an effective SOC.

However, MSPs can invest in a SOC service from a partner, like Barracuda, that can provide the around-the-clock monitoring and analysis their clients need while leveraging automation to improve security and reduce false positives. Partnering with a trusted vendor that offers managed Extended Detection and Response (XDR) that combines Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) services, threat intelligence, machine learning (ML) detections, and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) management with SOC, not only help MSPs expand their security offerings without adding infrastructure and staff, but it also enables them to satisfy a necessary customer need. Additionally, with the SOC triaging daily events and response activities, MSPs can gain operational efficiencies and further expand their business.

A SOC enables an MSP to expand its service offerings by way of a relationship with a partner allows them to do so with relatively low investment and risk. However, the SOC must provide the expertise and modern security tools to make the investment worthwhile.

The Modern SOC

The important thing is that the SOC must have experience cybersecurity analysts and engineers who have expertise in understanding and triaging various attacks from the cloud, email, network, servers and endpoints, and the technology on hand to respond to evolving threats.

A typical SOC handles many essential security functions, including 24×7 monitoring and incident detection, preferably using an automated platform to detect, analyze, and respond to anomalies. This, coupled with proactive threat hunting, allows the SOC to actively search for threats and identify and mitigate them before they have a chance to cause significant damage.

When a threat is detected, the SOC will follow a standard incident management process, including investigation, taking corrective actions to isolate the attack, and documenting the incident. The SOC should also analyze data from those potential attacks and use the information to prevent future incidents before they affect the client. The SOC will also often provide endpoint and security system administration.

To successfully monitor the entire enterprise footprint, the SOC needs visibility into MSP client networks and applications, both on-premises and in the cloud. The SOC will need staff with cloud security experience and expertise. Automated tools that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also essential, as false positives remain a challenge.

Armed with AI/ML-based tools, the SOC can provide a more proactive approach to security operations. Using data gathered from known and emerging threats, the SOC can analyze applications and infrastructure for possible weak points. The AI/ML-based security tools can also leverage existing knowledge of typical network activity to improve their ability to spot potential attacks.

The Barracuda XDR, backed by a 24x7x365 Global SOC, for example, provides real-time monitoring, extended visibility across MSPs and their clients’ full infrastructure, whether they are on-prem or in the cloud, threat intelligence, threat hunting and the ability for MSPs to generate branded, customizable reports for clients that can help demonstrate value. The multi-layered security approach of Barracuda Extended Visibility Detection and Response (XDR) platform, Endpoint Security, Email Security, Cloud Security, and Network and Server Security provides full 360-degree coverage.

This type of holistic approach to monitoring and response is necessary for any SOC, given how dispersed client networks have become and the increasing number of vulnerabilities.

Given the number, complexity, and sophistication of attacks, the 24x7x365 monitoring provided by a security operations center is a critical capability for security-focused MSPs. This is especially true for MSPs serving smaller clients. Additionally, partnering with a vendor that offers centralized SOC wraparound services allows MSPs to optimize their security offering without straining internal resources and budgets.

Adam Khan

Adam Khan is the VP, Global Security Operations at Barracuda MSP. He currently leads a Global Security Team which consists of highly skilled Blue, Purple, and Red Team members. He previously worked over 20 years for companies such as Priceline.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Scholastic. Adam’s experience is focused on application/infrastructure automation and security. He is passionate about protecting SMBs from cyberattacks, which is the heart of American innovation.