Utilizing SOC Infrastructure vs MDR – an MSSP perspective

The constant headlines concerning the latest attacks on companies across the industry spectrum serve as constant reminders of the importance of cybersecurity. Digital transformation alone is not enough. You must secure that digital environment, and it’s something that even SMBs have come to realize all too well. Unfortunately, most SMBs lack the technology stack, talent, and resources to do it alone.   

Therefore, many MSPs are transitioning towards becoming an MSSP to separate themselves from the traditional MSP segment that is growing more commoditized every day. To successfully deliver cybersecurity risk management services, however, you need the right set of security solutions that also fit into your existing solution portfolio. That technology stack includes some assortment of AV, EDRs, firewalls, and other reporting systems depending on the needs of your clients. The problem is that any large array of tools means multiple sets of admin and reporting consoles. Toggling from console to console is time consuming and hampers the very visibility these solutions were implemented for. What is needed is a supportive infrastructure that all these components feed into. 

For an MSSP, providing a comprehensive stack along with the management and reporting infrastructure to support it all can prove a challenging endeavor. There are multiple alternatives on the market right now such as a security operations center (SOC), SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS), and Managed Detection and Response (MDR). Too often, the differences between these options are blurred for those in the MSSP space, further complicating the selection process.   

MDR and SOC Explained 

Think of MDR as the extension of EDR or Endpoint Detection and Response. Both perform threat detection through data collection and analytics. The MDR’s sphere of protection goes beyond endpoints however and extends across the network. The MDR obtains its information through the implementation of its own data collection components. Once collected, this information is then analyzed and sent on to security specialists that can aid in responding to the identified threats. In some cases, this can include remediation.   

Now think of a SOC as the natural extension of a SIEM. The SIEM aggregates information from multiple sources that often includes arrays of many disconnected devices from multiple vendors throughout the network. The amount of information collected can be overwhelming in many cases, which is where the SOC comes into play. The SOC is a centralized team of security professionals that are adept at interpreting security analytics and providing real-time response and even automated remediation. The SOC provides the supportive infrastructure to add clarity and response to the endless trough of SIEM data provided. 

Commonalities of SOC and MDR 

At first glance, it appears that the two solutions offerings are very similar and the two of them do share commonalities: 

  • They both collect and analyze real data 
  • They rely on remote security teams 
  • They both support on-site security teams 
  • Both monitor network security events 
  • They both utilize AI 

The only way to secure an organization today is to be proactive because attack disruptions and the cost of remediation are too much of a strain, especially for SMBs. For today’s SMBs that lack the internal teams and tools to combat external threat actors, AI has become a game changer. For MSSPs that don’t perpetually have boots on the ground at their customer location sites, AI gives them the ability to scale out their services by leveraging AI and ML technologies. Both MDRs and SOCs provide an additional layer of services to your customers, another pair of eyes to watch their networks, all supported by smart technologies that can provide deep level visibility into an organization. The question is which one is a better fit for MSSPs. 

How SOC and MDR Offerings Differ 

Although SOC Infrastructure may seem similar to an MDR at face value, there are several distinct differences from an MSSP perspective. Some of the key differentiators are as follows: 

  • SOC Infrastructure is vendor and technology agnostic which is critically important to an MSSP as they must support multiple customer environments. A SOC solution can easily integrate with a company’s existing security stack. For an MSP that spent a great deal of time and effort perfecting their chosen technology stack, SOC infrastructure provides agility and flexibility that MDR solutions can’t offer.    
  • An MSSP that already has their chosen stack in place doesn’t need additional hardware. They need additional expertise to cover their accounts and fill in knowledge gaps. A SOC solution compliments your solution offerings and tools that already exist in your MSSP portfolio. You aren’t reinventing the wheel; you are adding additional leverage to it.
  • SOC Infrastructure is more suited for multitenancy environments, making them perfect for MSSPs that serve many customers
  • Some SOC solutions are cloud-based. SOCaaS offerings are easily integrated with cloud platforms, thus providing the expansive reach required by today’s hybrid networks.
  • A SOC offers greater versatility and customization compared to MDR, making them more suitable for MSSPs that must support multiple infrastructure types. This degree of customization is important as not every customer has the same equipment.   

This is not to short the value of an MDR. MDRs have their place, especially for organizations that don’t have an existing security stack already in place. For MSSPs however, today’s SOC infrastructure offerings provide a balance of agility and comprehensive security coverage. 

Detection and Response as You Need Them 

It’s becoming apparent that every organization needs a security operations center, but few can afford such a luxury outside of the Fortune 500. Security professionals are expensive for SMBs.  Bringing the costs of a full-scale endpoint detection team along with firewall management and security response tools could be debilitating for organizations with limited resources. MSSPs can fill that void, combining their own level of security expertise and toolsets with the powerful array of supportive services that a SOC infrastructure can provide.   

For an MSSP or MSP that wants to expand its capabilities to provide security services and added value to its customers, a SOC solution is an easy way to augment your existing services without integrating additional components into your network. For their SMBs, it means having access to cutting-edge technologies that are driven by AI and ML. Security shouldn’t be exclusive to just the Fortune 500.   

Which is better for my needs? 

For SMBs that rely on MSSPs to secure their networks, a SOC offers MSSPs a powerful solution to package vulnerability management, threat detection, incident response needs into a single unifying bundle, and more. With a SOC Infrastructure, you can take your existing technology stack to the next level and differentiate yourself from your competition. Should elements of your stack change, you can easily modify your SOC infrastructure to accommodate the newly introduced devices.  

What can CYREBRO Provide? 

CYREBRO has been partnering with MSSPs for years to provide them with multiple solutions and services that they can leverage to better secure their customer base. CYREBRO is transforming the world of security services through 24/7/365 strategic monitoring, proactive threat hunting, forensic investigation, and real-time support for businesses that want to improve their security posture. 

CYREBRO leverages cutting-edge tools, SIEM technology, and a SOC infrastructure to enable MSSPs to augment their service offerings in a partner-style relationship. By serving our MSSP customers, we are serving SMBs throughout the world as well, adding A-grade of security and protection to networks that didn’t think it was once possible.

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