SIEM’s Evolution Toward SOCSaas (& Why That’s a Great Thing for SMBs)

Network protection is especially important for small-to-medium sized businesses, since over half of all cyber attacks are aimed at them. That’s mostly because smaller businesses are less likely to successfully implement effective cybersecurity systems. Security Information and Event Management (or SIEM) systems are a perfect example of the kind of technology that would help these companies protect their networks — if only it was a more realistic option for them.

What Does a SIEM System Do?

A SIEM provides the company that uses it with both a record of its IT activities and the potential for insight into why those activities occurred. Once a company has a functioning SIEM, its analysts can essentially comb through all their network alerts in order to identify threats. The emphasis in that last sentence, however, should be on the word functioning. As it turns out, SIEM implementation is way more difficult than most people think.

The thing is, SIEM software is really demanding — so much so, in fact, that it’s not always possible for businesses to set it up properly with their own in-house IT staff. Furthermore, a SIEM has to be constantly monitored and managed once the setup is complete, which is just too much for the already-overworked IT staff in most small-to-medium sized businesses.

Finally, the trend towards working in hybrid cloud environments creates additional challenges for SIEM users, making these valuable tools unfeasible for most SMBs. SOCaas (Security Operations Center as a service) represents an excellent alternative for these businesses, helping them achieve the kind of tight network security that SIEM systems were meant to offer but without many of the associated problems.

Why SMBs Struggle with SIEM

The challenges that small and midsize businesses face when setting up SIEM software aren’t new or particularly hard to understand. In fact, they boil down to three age-old factors:

 

  • Time. Setting up a SIEM isn’t as simple as downloading and installing an application. In fact, it can take six months to a year for a modestly-sized company to make their SIEM completely functional.
  • Labor. SIEM implementation is a complex process, requiring significant IT expertise. The labor-intensive nature of setting up SIEM software has occasionally caused businesses to abandon it entirely, wasting the time and money spent up to that point. Even when the system is up and running, it takes a lot of work to manage — especially if log data is coming in from a lot of different sources. Most SMBs simply don’t have enough qualified IT employees to handle the workload, and can’t afford to hire the amount that it would take to do so properly.
  • Money. SIEM software is expensive. In fact, the average purchase price of SIEM software is upwards of $50,000, which is often a major deterrent for companies that want to use it. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the cost of a SIEM system to stretch into the six-figure range — and that’s only referring to the cost of the software itself. Deployment, configuration, and salaries for the analysts who monitor the system all have to be accounted for as well, so it’s no exaggeration to say that putting in a SIEM system almost always costs a fortune.

 

How Cloud Technology is Changing Network Needs

On top of the headaches that SIEM implementation involves, questions are also arising about the continued relevance of SIEM systems as networks embrace cloud technology. Simply put: as mobile device access creates more endpoints for networks, network perimeters become increasingly difficult to identify. As a result, SIEM software designed to meet the security needs of on-site network equipment will almost certainly be insufficient for dealing with the additional log data sources common to contemporary networks. This is one of the primary reasons why many SMBs view SOC-as-a-service as a preferable alternative to SIEM systems.

How SOCSaas Improve Network Security for Modern SMBs

Managed Security Service Providers (or MSSPs) that offer SOCaas for their customers have the required time, technology, and personnel to process all sources of log data for the organizations that use them. As such, they are usually able to offer much tighter network security for SMBs than those businesses would be able to achieve by trying to run a SIEM system with their own in-house IT department.

Most SOCSaas providers also include round-the-clock threat detection and response services, acting as a comprehensive cybersecurity solution for cloud-integrated networks. Finally, it’s worth noting that both the costs and wait times for setting up SOCaas are much lower than those commonly associated with implementing an SIEM. In fact, one 3-year study found that companies entrusting such tasks to their own info security personnel may spend up to 8.8 times more than those who opt to use SOCaas.

SOCSaas: a New Tool for a New Type of Network

SIEM software was a valuable tool at a time when networks were more localized and had different needs — but the networks of today are much different. Since the sheer number of potential endpoints in a network now has the potential to create huge amounts of log data, it just isn’t feasible to have a few full-time IT professionals try to monitor it all through a SIEM system.

Small-to-medium sized businesses that want to take charge of their network security can now achieve the same protection that SIEM systems once offered, but without the massive investments of time, labor, and money they require. Instead, they can simply place these responsibilities in the hands of expert SOCaas providers, who are trained to deal with them on a daily basis.

At Cerdant, we’ve seen for ourselves how SOCaas can improve network security for SMBs at a fraction of the cost. That’s why we’ve decided to offer our own SOCaas, which will be available in the near future. We’ve always listened closely to customer feedback and paid careful attention to shifts within the industry, so we understand the advantages that offering SOCaas will bring to our valued clients and their businesses. Stay tuned for updates about this service in the coming months.

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