Rethink the Way You Handle Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity becomes more complicated for state and local agencies as scores of problems threaten to overwhelm them every day. It’s an uphill battle driven by the scarce budgets, resources, talent and stakeholder buy-in available to agencies.

This current cyberthreat landscape is overwhelming security operations centers (SOCs), and state and local agencies, such as Cupertino, California, are finding that implementing SOC-as-a-service has increased the effectiveness of their cybersecurity knowledge and IT budgets.

Agencies turn to SOCs for safety. Traditionally, they serve as cybersecurity command centers. They involve data processing, IT staff and security monitoring in one centralized location.

“The idea of a security operations center is to install technology that allows you to monitor what is happening in your organization 24/7,” said Dinah Davis, Vice President of Research and Development (R&D), at Arctic Wolf, a SOC-as-a-service provider. “To properly manage your SOC you need to constantly update the rules and technology to stay one step ahead of the hackers.”

Although highly valuable, building and maintaining your own SOC has significant drawbacks. For starters, creating SOCs is costly. Even agencies that can afford SOCs can struggle to staff them.

“The organizational lift is very strong,” Davis said. “Many security engineers need six-figure salaries. That talent isn’t widely available.” Davis said that although some agencies can field five-person SOCs, a staff of seven is best for 24/7 operations. The high cost in manpower and technology has prompted many agencies to adopt SOC-as-a-service.

“SOC-as-a-service is when you use a third party for your SOC,” she said. “They provide the people, the technology and the eyes on the screen to make sure everything in your environment is being monitored.” SOC-as-a-service reduces the burden on agencies by assisting their workers with cybersecurity monitoring and by helping upgrade each agency’s security practices, procedures and tools.

A security operation center plays a vital role in helping to keep state and local agencies safe from cyber threats. They serve as hubs that bring together cyber experts to focus on security issues on both an organizational and technical basis, with a clear view across the enterprise. Unfortunately, the accelerated growth and evolution of cyber threats often overwhelms even the larger SOCs.

Few state or local governments have the in-house resources needed to keep pace with the threat landscape. SOC-as-a-service enables a state or local agency to tap into a deep reserve of cyber expertise and threat intelligence.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “Combating Cyberattacks: How SOCs Protect State & Local Governments.” Learn how a SOC-as-a-service provider can help strengthen your agency’s cybersecurity, and explore best practices for improving compliance with security regulations using SOC-as-a-service here.

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