Selecting a security operations center (SOC) provider? Here are three questions you must ask

Technological advancements have enabled us to store, share, and access critical business data ubiquitously. However, hackers are also using sophisticated software and techniques to get unauthorized access to critical data. This makes data protection more challenging than ever.

According to a report published by IBM in 2019, data breaches are hitting Indian businesses hard. About 35,636 records have been compromised in various incidents of a data breach in the country from July 2018 to April 2019. This has costed organizations about Rs 12.8 crore on average, said the report. These ever-increasing instances of data breaches and cyber-theft have forced Indian executives to explore new methods to defend their companies against potential cyber-attacks.

In this scenario, SOC providers have emerged as a viable solution since they consist of a team of cybersecurity experts and trained engineers. These expert individuals dedicate themselves entirely to manage high-quality IT security operations. An SOC seeks to prevent cybersecurity threats by detecting and responding to any incident on the computers, servers and networks they oversee. What makes an SOC unique is the ability to monitor all systems round the clock, as employees work in shifts.

However, selecting an ideal SOC provider for your business is easier said than done. Businesses must ask the following three questions to make the right decision.

  1. What’s their Domain Knowledge Quotient? – It is absolutely essential for a SOC provider to have in-depth knowledge of the business and industry. For instance, a banking customer while hiring the services of an SOC provider must ensure that they know their business and functions well. It is prudent to select a vendor not just for their technological competencies and skills but also for their deep understanding of the business domain.
  2. What’s their Threat Modelling capability? As with most things in life, prevention is much better than cure in security as well. Hence, a vendor who can make sense of data and learn from it to build models that can raise early warning signals would be a priceless asset. While selecting an SOC service provider, it is wise to opt for someone who has strong capabilities in cyber security analytics and can learn from the events, data, and company environment to pre-empt security threats. Such vendors should be preferred over the others.
  3.  What is their Incident Response Time? – Your business needs a well-known and practiced incident response plan to deal with potential cybersecurity threats the moment they are discovered. The SOC team serves as the main point of contact for employees if they suspect a hack, data breach, or another digital security event. The SOC team is always equipped with a threat mitigation plan, at the same time they communicate threats to relevant post-breach departments. This in turn, enables the entire organization to manage such scenarios efficiently.

By Neelesh Kripalani, Senior VP and Head – Center of Excellence (CoE), Clover Infotech

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