Transforming Cybersecurity at Scale: The Federal Government Turns to SOC-as-a-Service

October 5, 2018 Sonu Shankar

Companies of all sizes struggle to ensure their sensitive business data remains secure in the wake of more frequent and severe cyberattacks. And as difficult as these challenges are for businesses and organizations in private industries, they run even deeper in the public sector (i.e. the federal government).

Federal government agencies handle considerably more data than does the private sector. Making matters worse, they often use outdated, more vulnerable technologies. Nation-state attackers are now capable of exploiting weaknesses at previously unseen speed and scale, so digital transformation to secure sensitive government data is an increasingly critical concern. Government experts like Dan Jacobs, cybersecurity coordinator for the General Services Administration, believe that now is the time for agencies to consider a SOC-as-a-service (SOCaaS) model.

Security operations centers (SOCs) are critical elements of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy. Unfortunately, most agencies find it difficult and expensive to procure the necessary technological components (such as SIEMs) of a SOC, as well as the skilled security experts needed to staff it. This remote, centralized monitoring model represents a potentially significant shift from current strategies, where agencies typically operate their own SOCs in-house. What’s more, recent advances in security technologies have made the remote SOCaaS model scalable, with human analysts continuously aided by machine-driven automated tools.

With the major shift to SOCaaS on the way, Jacobs advises government leaders to start planning ahead now: “Agencies should take time to scope down processes, and gain a complete understanding of their data, services, and security capabilities to better manage security operations.” In a recent GSA article, Jacobs highlights the following steps to prepare for a move to the SOCaaS model:

  1. Get leadership buy-in: Make sure your CIO, CISO, executive board, and other leaders are aligned on the mission.
  2. Establish an understanding of your data: Know your data, and refresh governance processes and policies in line with this change.
  3. Conduct due diligence: Create a realistic timeline to fully implement SOCaaS, including training execution, to help manage changes to security operations.
  4. Determine what “right” looks like for you: Define detailed milestones, informed by due diligence and analysis, to paint a roadmap to meet your goals.

As government agencies prepare to move to a centralized SOCaaS model, you might wonder if it is the right approach for your business. Interested in replacing your SIEM or augmenting your in-house IT team? Arctic Wolf can help. Find out how by requesting a demo today!

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