SOC as a Service: The Model Overview and How To Know if It Will Fit Your Goals

The ever-increasing cost of cybercrime seems to be nowhere near stopping, making cybersecurity a more sensitive issue than ever. Companies are scrambling to meet compliance guidelines as well as protect their data. Can your company use SOCaaS to mitigate those risks?

SOC as a Service provides an affordable and efficient approach to cybersecurity. It guarantees year-round protection, constant monitoring, and cutting-edge tech to defend your business from cybercriminals and threat actors. Budget is often the biggest concern when looking for a SOCaaS provider.

Are you looking for the right SOC solution for your company? Do you know the difference between SOC and SOCaaS? Choosing the right cybersecurity provider is difficult, especially when you don’t know too much about the many options available. Let’s take a look at the differences between SOC vs. SOCaaS before moving forward.

SOC vs. SOCaaS: A Comparison

  • SOC. A Security Operations Center (SOC for short) is a cybersecurity team of analysts and engineers who are in charge of protecting a company from cybercriminals and threat actors. It could be in-house or outsourced. The main gist behind having a SOC is having every security feature, tech, and task behind one team that effectively handles it all.
  • SOCaaS. A Security Operations Center as a Service (also known as SOCaaS) is a cloud-based SOC solution; in other words, it’s outsourcing your SOC needs to a company that provides that service from the cloud. It’s a subscription-based model, meaning you’ll pay for your security every month, quarter, or year.

SOCaaS Benefits

  • Tried and Tested Cybersecurity. A SOCaaS provider has the latest tools and cutting edge technology to protect your company. They have a standardized way to protect businesses: it’s a methodology that’s constantly under review and facing updates to better improve the service they provide, so they can continue to protect their clients from the latest cyberattacks.
  • Better Chance at Compliance. Companies need to pay close attention to their compliance needs: the cost of noncompliance rises to $4 million on average, which is enough to bankrupt big businesses, let alone small companies. Having an in-house SOC or hiring a SOCaaS provider improves your chances of becoming compliant.
  • Cost-effective Approach. Most cloud-based solutions offer a cost-effective service, and SOCaaS is no exception. Sure, you could have an in-house SOC – but can your company afford it? If your company is large enough, will shareholders allow spending more on an in-house SOC if they could get the same results by hiring a SOCaaS provider? Probably not.
  • Faster Response Rate. One of the best things about SOCaaS is its fast response rate. You need to contain threats as soon as they happen. Having your security analysts one click away from helping you is always an advantage, and that’s what SOCaaS provides (among other things).

Is SOC as a Service Right for You?

SOCaaS presents many benefits for small and big companies alike, making it an attractive option for most businesses, though it’s up to you if you want to go down that route. Cost is often the first reason why most people decide to go for a SOCaaS provider, though it can also be what hinders you from hiring one.

Having a SOCaaS provider is more affordable than having an in-house SOC, but that doesn’t mean the SOCaaS provider you want is the one you can afford, especially if you’re running a startup or small company.

That doesn’t mean most companies won’t have a good experience by outsourcing their security needs to a SOCaaS provider. They often handle everything security-related and leave you to manage your business.

You can check how they do so below.

3 Stages of SOCaaS

1. Planning and Preparation

The first stage after hiring a SOCaaS provider is an evaluation. Your provider will have to assess your hardware, software, network, and more. The more thorough the process, the better chances you have of defending your company.

They’ll do the basic stuff (such as looking for open ports and scanning for vulnerabilities) and more advanced stuff (such as compliance audits and pen tests) to see where your company stands.

Your provider will also determine your security model, figure out possible risks, and come up with viable responses to different attacks. You may think it’s too early to think about worst-case scenarios – but being prepared is the best way to deal with cybercriminals and threat actors.

2. Monitoring and Management

The most important aspect of your future SOCaaS provider will be how they handle monitoring and data management.

Monitoring is key when stopping threats, both old and new. Cutting-edge malware will infect your network and come up undetected by antivirus software, so you need to constantly monitor for suspicious activity to catch that in the act. Monitoring also helps with insider threats, unauthorized access, and more.

Data management is key for cybersecurity. Encrypting and backing up data is a must before continuing to do business. Otherwise, you may face a data breach or data loss that could bankrupt your company.

Of course, your provider will also prepare your company for a worst-case scenario. That’s where Response and Recovery come into place.

3. Response and Recovery

Last but not least, your SOCaaS provider will come up with a response plan in case of a cyberattack. They’ll attempt to contain the threat while you continue to do business, so you lose no money during a cyberattack.

They’ll also deal with recovery, whether that means contacting the law and coming up with the next steps after a breach or anything else. In case of data loss, your SOCaaS provider will have backups ready to fix that issue immediately.

How your provider handles response and recovery has a lot to do with your security model, which you’ll figure out together during the Planning and Preparation phase. You’ll have to hire one before you get there – and we recommend looking for these five key features to do so.

5 Things To Look For in Your SOCaaS Provider

1. Year-round Availability

Did you know companies take a little over 20 hours to respond to a cyberattack on average? That means businesses have to wait two full working days before dealing with an attack. A threat actor can give your company a devastating blow in that short window.

That’s far from all. The average company takes 20 hours to respond when they have an IT department handling things. What would happen if you employ a remote security department that’s not on call? You have to wait until they respond to your alert – then wait 20 hours!

For that reason, the biggest feature you need to look for is year-round availability. It should be a 24/7, 365 ordeal – because threat actors take no breaks.

2. Personal Assignments

A crucial (and often overlooked) feature you need to look for in your SOCaaS provider is having someone personally assigned to your company. You need someone to manage your account, a person who will work as a link between your company and the SOCaaS provider.

That person needs to know the ins and outs of your company, talk to you directly when any issues come up, and work with you one-on-one to come up with the best ways to protect your business (or reassess your security strategy in case of an attack).

3. Location, Location, Location

Location is very important – but not for the reasons you think. Most SOCaaS deal with cybersecurity remotely, so you’ll have few physical visits from your provider (if any at all).

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about their location. Where your SOCaaS provider is located is important for a reason: backups.

Having several locations is important for a SOCaaS provider. They’ll take care of your backups – and having one backup is as good as none. The best provider will backup your data in several locations, just in case something happens to the first one.

4. Tech Tools

What’s the biggest thing in SOC? Monitoring! That gives you a small clue about what you have to look for when hiring a SOCaaS. So, if the provider you’re considering has no or poor monitoring software, you need to look for the next option.

Monitoring is far from the only thing the perfect SOCaaS provider will do, though it’s a good example of what you need to look for before choosing someone.

Make a list of what you want, ask how they handle that stuff, and what tools they use to make that happen: Outdated technology can’t stop threat actors.

5. Budget (And Value)

Cybersecurity isn’t cheap, though cybercrime is always far costlier – though that doesn’t mean you need to bankrupt your business in an attempt to protect it from hackers. You have to find a balance.

You probably can’t afford the most expensive option on the market. That’s not a problem! You don’t want the most expensive one: you want the one that fits your needs and wants.

Take the time to shop around and think long and hard before you shake hands with a provider. Going for the costlier option will take more money than necessary, and going straight to the most affordable one will probably give you more trouble than it’s worth in the long run.


Hiring a SOC as a Service provider is a cost-effective and efficient approach to cybersecurity. It’s a more affordable option than having an in-house SOC while having little to no security differences most of the time. Looking for the right features (year-round availability, latest technology usage, and right price) is key before hiring a SOCaaS provider.

Herman McCargo

Herman is a Microsoft Certified Security Engineer and Cybersecurity Specialist. He’s been in the technology field for over 20 years and has expertise working with the most critical technology infrastructures. He has a deep understanding of cyber risks, threat mitigation and prevention, and overseeing infrastructure.