What’s the Best Cyber Security Approach for Your Small-to-Medium Business?
A close look at the pros and cons of SIEM, MSSP, MDR, and SOCaaS
Think cyber criminals only target large enterprises? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Nearly 70% of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are not worried about getting hacked, mostly because they don’t think they have the resources that hackers typically seek out, whether it’s funds or valuable sensitive information.
Unfortunately, this assumption is not only wrong, it’s also dangerous. Any business that stores customer information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and billing addresses, or operates on a cloud environment – does indeed have the goods that hackers are after.
That’s why nearly half of all cyberattacks target small businesses. And, 40% of SMBs experience eight or more hours of downtime due to such attacks, which can result in an average of $1.56 million in losses per incident. Moreover, according to some sources, 60% of SMBs that were attacked will go out of business within six months of falling victim.
Clearly, cybercriminals are targeting SMBs – and when they do, they tend to be successful, because these organizations often ignore the very real need to take cybercrime very seriously.
There can be no doubt, the cybersecurity imperative is one that no SMB can ignore.
The SMB’s Growing Cyber Challenge
“Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are threatened by cybersecurity risks just as are larger organizations. But SMBs can face different types of barriers when it comes to maintaining and strengthening their security defenses.” (TechRepublic)
Unfortunately, SMBs do not have the same human, technology, and financial resources to protect the organization against the threat of cyberattacks as do larger enterprises.
Advanced security solutions such as branch office security and SD-WAN, advanced network threat prevention, endpoint threat protection, and others come with a hefty price tag. Furthermore, deploying, operating, and maintaining these systems requires a very specific skill set that is often hard to find and is likewise expensive.
And finally, having the know-how, experience, and expertise to wade through the mounds of security big data that is generated by organizational systems to identify which events indeed require response and how each incident can be most efficiently and effectively resolved – is as equally out of hand for the average SMB.
Nevertheless, the need to manage the SMB’s security operation is just as great. Most small-to-medium-sized organizations will have anywhere from six to twenty different security-focused systems, including firewall, antivirus, and more. And these systems generate one million logs every day and send out hundreds of alerts that someone will have to review, investigate, and decide whether something should be done.
As we have seen, ignoring these alerts can, and often does result in dire ramifications for the business.
Ultimately, for the SMB the cybersecurity goal includes the need to:
- Identify and block a cyberattack without the need to acquire expensive technology
- Understand and respond to threats effectively without the need to hire hard-to-find and expensive talent
- Manage the security operations without the need to outsource to expensive incident response service providers
Accordingly, to achieve the above-stated goals, SMBs typically look to four options:
- SIEM, Security Information, and Event Management
- MSSP, Managed Security Service Provider
- MDR, Managed Detection and Response
- SOC as a service, Security Operations Center
Let’s take a closer look at these options, with a view to determining the pros and cons of each approach, and which one would be best suited for your organization.
Option #1: SIEM
First coined by Gartner in 2005, SIEM refers to the systems that collect logs from multiple sources – including devices, servers, security equipment, and the network, to identify events that represent deviations from the norm and which may be deemed as potential attacks.
Events that require further investigation are sent to a centralized SOC management console, where an analyst is required to sift through logs, make required correlations, and prioritize each potential security incident.
By providing threat detection and sending security alerts when needed, the benefits of SIEM are clear. However, gaining these benefits requires a robust and highly skilled in-house team of IT security professionals and data analysts. Moreover, SIEM solutions are budget thirsty and complex to deploy, operate, and manage.
Ultimately, the SIEM approach is not well suited for the budgets and teams of most small-to-medium businesses.
- Pros: accelerate threat detection and response
- Cons: High cost, requires in-house skills
With this option, organizations can outsource security management to a service provider for handling activities such as virus and spam blocking, intrusion detection, tier 1-2 monitoring, and managing security system operations.
Working with an MSSP can certainly address the challenge of finding and retaining hard-to-find talents with the requisite security expertise across a broad range of disciplines.
However, according to one survey, most SMBs still find MSSP pricing to be prohibitively high. This is further exacerbated by the fact that MSSPs are not software houses, and outsourcing security management to them often means that the organization will still need to acquire relevant security systems, sometimes even including the SIEM.
Moreover, the scope of services provided by MSSPs frequently do not cover the full range of protection needs. For example, MSSPs typically do not actively respond to security threats, and – while they do send alerts when anomalies are identified, they do not investigate them with a view to aiding the organization to eliminate false positives, nor do they perform extensive forensics, threat research, or analytics.
- Pros: reduced cost of in-house skills required
- Cons: high cost for SMBs, does not cover the full scope of protection needs, would still need to invest in SIEM
Option #3: MDR
MDR is often considered to be the more advanced articulation of MSSP by providing 24×7 threat detection and response services.
To prevent attacks, MDRs apply a combination of advanced technologies, such as machine learning and behavioral analytics, together with human analysts. Though, they typically do not leverage automation, rather they employ the direct human analysis of security incidents and alerts.
And, while MDRs do provide a more holistic service than MSSPs and can play a significant role in improving an organization’s security strategy, especially those without a fully staffed Security Operations Center (SOC), they do fall short in providing assurance to organizations that must adhere to stringent compliance regulations.
This is so since MDRs do not collect all system logs, rather just the ones that point to a potentially meaningful security event.
Moreover, since MDRs use their own SOC, solutions, and infrastructure, it is very difficult for the SMB to leverage existing security investments and scale when needed.
- Pros: more robust protection than MSSPs
- Cons: requires human intervention for analysis and alerts, which can impact time, errors, and costs; limited in compliance adherence; limited in leveraging existing investments.
SOC for SMB is the centralized function that employs security professionals, designs processes, and leverages technology to prevent, detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents.
With the systems and know-how required for effectively running an organization’s SOC being many, complex, and associated with high costs, small-to-medium businesses typically outsource the SOC to a third-party service provider.
The benefits of the SOCaaS model for improving the SMB’s security is that it addresses all the critical needs discussed above, including:
- Accelerating detection and response
- Covering the full scope of security services including threat hunting, response, compliance
- Eliminating the need for in-house security expertise
- Reducing the cost of in-house staff and technology required for ensuring cyber protection
- Enabling organizations to leverage existing security investments
However, while there are multiple SOCaaS options available in the market today, they still fail to deliver on critical needs such as:
- Providing the scalability, elasticity, and cost-efficiency made possible by a cloud-based, SaaS solution
- Accelerating detection and response by automating computer-centric security tasks as based on predefined rules
- Leveraging self-learning algorithms for ongoing optimization of threat detection capabilities
- Delivering automated, AI-based actionable recommendations
- Executing advanced correlations among all security log files from every system for improved detection of suspicious activities
- Providing an intuitive dashboard with full visibility & control of the organization’s security posture
- Providing real-time insights on which threats are affecting which assets, how severely, and the root cause
This is where CYREBRO comes in
CYREBRO helps SMBs overcome the cybersecurity challenge with the first cloud-based cybersecurity operations platform, which serves as a central command that integrates all your security events.
This way, there is no need to invest, no need to hire, no need for forensic and cyber expertise, and you can certainly leverage existing security investments.
A security approach comparison
|Accelerates detection & response||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Includes threat hunting||No||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Includes full incident response||No||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Requires security expertise inhouse||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Reduces cost of in-house staff||No||No||Moderate||Moderate||High|
|Provides automated actionable insights||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Requires technology investment||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Can leverage existing investments||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|