In-house VS Outsourced SOC: What should you choose?
Businesses around the world continue to digitally transform in a rapid and innovative way. With the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid working, new technologies are being adopted to improve collaboration and communication, as well as access to data, applications, storage devices, and networks from anywhere in the world.
With these innovations, though, comes an increased level of security risk. As businesses rely on these technologies for almost all of their vital functions, a targeted cyber-attack could cripple an organisation in a matter of minutes.
As organisations are faced with the inevitable necessity of utilising a SOC, both for security and increasingly stringent compliance reasons, one important decision dominates all others: should I adopt an in-house or outsourced SOC solution?
Adopting an in-house SOC suits organisations that require extremely specialised or customised processes. Typically, these will be very large businesses with multiple strict compliance and regulatory requirements across numerous geographic locations. It can also include organisations that store vast quantities of sensitive information.
An in-house SOC will work best for these kinds of businesses as they have complete control over their SOC processes and performance. If it can be set up correctly, it can provide an extremely high level of security.
Unfortunately, there are many downsides to adopting an in-house SOC. The initial setup and configuration of a SOC can cost millions of pounds and take 6-12 months to be fully operational. Organisations of the nature described above can rarely afford to operate for that long without a SOC so often turn to an outsourced SOC in the intermediary.
Following setup, an in-house SOC often takes multiple years to operate at a sufficient level. Mistakes will be made, processes will need to adapt, and team members will need to learn to work together cohesively. This period of learning and iteration will often cost organisations even more than the initial setup.
The need for 24/7 monitoring and support is another stumbling block for in-house SOCs. This need has only arisen over the past several years and further increases the ongoing costs.
Unlike an in-house solution, businesses that opt for an outsourced SOC can almost immediately gain complete access to the benefits a SOC brings. Very little setup or configuration is required on behalf of the customer as all of the intensive work has been completed by the SOC provider.
This removes a huge barrier to entry for organisations and allows businesses with much smaller budgets to access a professionally implemented service with state-of-the-art technology and industry-leading cyber security talent.
When utilising an outsourced SOC, there’s no need to worry about staffing, provisioning of software and hardware, leasing space for the SOC, maintenance and upgrades, or any of the other costs that are associated with running your own.
There are some downsides, though. Unlike an in-house SOC, the customer has little to no input in the day-to-day running of the SOC. Processes and procedures for dealing with cyber threats are handled exclusively by the provider. This can make it difficult for organisations that have strict compliance or regulatory requirements, as many providers will be unwilling or unable to adapt their approach for one customer.
For many companies, though, this won’t be a problem and the financial benefits of adopting an outsourced SOC vastly outweigh the downsides when it comes to flexibility, control, and adaptability. Combined with competitive SLA and comprehensive SLAs means that outsourced SOCs are often a no-brainer for many businesses.
Both in-house and outsourced SOCs are feasible approaches. Ultimately, each has its own set of pros and cons which make it more or less suitable depending on an organisation’s unique requirements.
When considering this for your business, make sure to closely define your requirements and assess them against the functionality that each solution provides. If you’re having difficulty making the decision or lack the expertise in-house, it’s important to speak to an expert.