5 Factors to Help You Decide: Build or Buy a SOC

It’s no longer a question of if you need a robust security plan, it’s now a matter of how you will achieve this.  For small businesses and enterprises alike, there is a need for 24/7 monitoring to protect sensitive data, meet compliance requirements, and reduce the likelihood of a detrimental incident.  But with a large amount of arguments that support the outsourcing of security to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) and an equally large pool of arguments that support in-house security operations, where do you even begin your decision-making process?

There is no right or wrong answer as to whether or not you should invest in building an in-house security operations center (SOC) or “buy” a SOC through an MSSP. The solution that is right for you depends on your organization’s specific needs.  Take into consideration the following circumstances to help you decide what solution is right for you:

1.  Staffing requirements

 Perhaps one of the most important considerations is staff augmentation.  Will you be able to find and retain enough employees to staff your security operations center around the clock?  With an estimated shortage of 350,000 cybersecurity jobs, will your organization be able to attract the best cybersecurity talent?  How will you guarantee that these talented employees will not leave your organization when a new offer is presented to them?

At the minimum, you need a team of tiered analysts and a SOC manager.  And, many organizations may require a few individuals who are solely focused on threat hunting and incident response.

2.  Cost: to build and maintain

Another factor to consider is the costs involved in building and maintaining a SOC.  Just a few of the costs to keep in mind include staff salaries, leasing or buying physical space, equipment and software, and any repairs or updates along the way.  If you have enough in your budget to fully build and staff a SOC, do you have enough remaining in your budget for the unexpected? 

3.  Time and space requirements

Where and how will you build your SOC site?  Do you have a security architect who can design the space?  Do you have a plan to stay secure while you build the SOC and implement all the necessary technology?

Building the SOC out is a process that can take months to complete.  If you do put the time and resources into the build, you can ensure that your SOC is designed custom to fit your specific organizational needs.

4.  Technology needs

Your security isn’t something to skimp out on- you’ll want to invest in advanced technology to ensure you are receiving adequate protection.

You will need to consider the internal resources necessary for purchasing and implementing a variety of different tools, such as SIEM, endpoint and network monitoring, and reporting platforms.

Bear in mind that your technology concerns are not over after implementation.  How often will you update your technology?  Does your budget also include technology repairs and replacements?

5.  Ability to Adapt to changes in the threat landscape

It’s not only technology changes you’ll have to keep up with. The threat landscape is continually evolving, so your approach to security must be able to adapt with it.  Will you have processes in place for emergencies?  How often will you revisit and update these processes?  How will you keep your employees up-to-speed with the latest threats and techniques?

The bottom line

The primary benefit of building an in-house SOC is the guarantee of a dedicated team of analysts who are monitoring your data only and can therefore tailor alerts to your unique environment.

On the other hand, the benefits of hiring an MSSP include cost savings, time savings, and access to top talent, technology, and processes.

Luckily, for those that lack the resources to build a SOC but are still interested in customization, there are MSSPs that have the capability to customize their services for your specific needs.

If you take time to carefully and deliberately assess potential MSSPs, you will be able to find the right one that suits your unique needs.

Get Our Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Your MSSP.