9 min read

What is SOC as a Service?

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You know those movies with scenes of Army generals and CIA analysts crowded together in a room, staring at a big screen displaying data, images, and readouts, working to put a stop to the movie’s antagonist?

That’s essentially what a SOC is. Security Operations Centers have been around for a long time, since the days of the early proto-internet, when companies like IBM employed teams to manage their organization’s network 24/7/365.

A SOC is very similar to the movie scene described above; it’s a location where many network techs, cybersecurity experts, and engineers work together to analyze the traffic coming and going from your network, the devices on your network, the activity taking place on those devices, scanning for potential threats, and managing your network’s overall health.

Basically, SOCs do a whole lot. And for this reason, until recently, SOCs have remained accessible only to organizations that can afford to employ multiple teams of highly-trained cybersecurity professionals to man operations every hour of every day.

SOC AS A SERVICE

This is where SOC as a Service comes into the picture. Rather than paying for, training, equipping, and retaining your own Security Operations Center, you can now simply sign up for SOC as a Service from a myriad of providers.

SOC as a Service provides you with all of the benefits of a SOC:

  • Security: SOCs provide the highest level of security available on the market today.
  • Access: You gain access to industry expertise, and the best cybersecurity tools, without paying for their upfront cost.
  • Decreased Liability: Making use of a SOC as a Service provider will decrease the likelihood that if a cyber attack does take place, you will be found liable by your cyber liability insurance provider for negligent security practices, or be found liable for damages by NIST.
  • Training: SOC as a Service providers will train your employees not only directly, but use tools to test their aptitude for following security best practices.
  • Protection: If an event, intrusion, or breach should occur, a SOC as a Service provider will be there to fix the problem in real time.

Now, if you’re wondering, “Doesn’t my IT team already do this?,” the answer is, “Maybe.”

The problem with cyber security isn’t the threats IT teams protect against — it’s managing all the tools used to do so.

Email spam protection, server management, backups, AV software, EDR software, security awareness training, remote monitoring, incident reporting, update management, device management, SQL servers, email clients, application management… these are all things your IT team worries about, works with, and relies on each and every single day.

When coupled with the fact that most internal IT teams are constantly swamped with tickets, requests, meetings, and standard upkeep on your network and technology stack, it’s no surprise that the rate of successful cyberattacks grows every year — just as the list of IT responsibilities grows each year as well.

And this isn’t the fault of your IT team. The digital world we know today is a dangerous place, and one that is becoming more dangerous every day. In fact, every forty seconds, one system falls victim to a cyber attack. That means by the time you’re done reading this blog, approximately ten breaches have taken place, affecting systems like ATMs, Facebook accounts, the website of your local car wash, and the vast multitude of networks that make up small, medium, and large businesses across the world.

It’s all honestly a bit much.

So how does SOC as a Service work exactly? Realistically, there’s not enough time in the day for a business to keep eyes on each endpoint for each business they service, manage multiple networks, and personally monitor each instance of suspicious activity.

That’s where RocketCyber, and SOC as a Services like it come in to play.

RocketCyber is a suite of a-la-carte cyber security products that, when utilized properly, will monitor and maintain the entirety of your network, from server to endpoint.

There are a myriad of products your organization can make use of to increase your network’s security using RocketCyber, so to make sure you don’t spend the next hour reading technical documentation on slight differentiations between the various cybersecurity offerings and tools provided by RocketCyber, we’ll narrow down to the topics of focus for these solutions.

Before we get into things, it’s important to note that RocketCyber is a cloud-based solution. This means that an internet connection is absolutely critical to your cybersecurity framework if you use RocketCyber. Also, many of the solutions described throughout this blog are separate services, and do not belong to the RocketCyber brand — however, RocketCyber gives you the ability to aggregate and manage these solutions from a single pane of glass.

EMAIL PROTECTION

Spam filters are a ubiquitous feature found on every email client, much like if you were to buy a new car in 2022, you’d expect ABS breaks to be included without mention. Your spam folder, however, operates much in the same way as old anti-virus software does: it is only able to prevent the delivery of emails from known spam senders.

Essentially, if an email address that hasn’t been blacklisted by your email provider sends you a spam message, it’s going to make it through to your regular inbox.

This is a problem because of phishing.

Phishing is the most popular tool bad actors use to break into networks, simply because of how reliable it is. There’s a saying in the cybersecurity industry: “Most errors occur sixteen inches from the keyboard.” It’s a polite way of saying most technology problems can be blamed on human error.

Phishing relies on this fact, and it’s the main reason it’s so successful.

Humans are fallible, and we make mistakes. In fact, 60% of phishing emails are successful in tricking a victim into divulging information they would not normally provide.

The tricky part about phishing is the fact that all that it takes is one errant click to bring everything down. Phishing relies on using people’s emotions against them, to the advantage of the bad actor.

A usual phishing scenario goes as such:

  1. The bad actor sends an email to the potential victim. This email will attempt to accomplish a few things: the email must elicit an emotional response, usually fear, and the email must also instill a sense of urgency. These two factors are key, as they are psychological tools used to make you act without thinking. Think of a situation where you were both stressed out, and under a strict, quick time crunch. That’s what the bad actor wants you to emotionally experience. And finally, the email must require an action be taken to “fix” the problem.
  2. After falling into the emotional trap, the victim then begins the process of following the steps the bad actor wants them to take. This could be purchasing iTunes gift cards, or changing their password, or renewing their account.
  3. These steps usually take place on a fake webpage that is meant to visually mimic the real page it is pretending to be. Once the steps are completed, the phishing is complete. There is very little you can do at this point, save for beginning the process of recovering from a network breach.

What’s really happening when you “change your password,” is the fake webpage is tracking your keystrokes. So, when you enter in your “old password,” you’re actually just feeding your password to the bad actor. It doesn’t matter what you put in for your new password, because they’ve already collected your current password, and your password isn’t actually being changed.

So what does RocketCyber do to curtail the effectiveness of phishing emails? It does so using a two-pronged approach: advanced email and spam filtering, and security awareness training.

Tip: Keep in mind that RocketCyber uses multiple tools to operate. For example, RocketCyber’s email protection comes from products like ProofPoint, and other tools like it.

RocketCyber’s offerings will automatically prevent any known spam or potential spam from landing in your inbox, but it will also prevent any emails with suspicious qualities. This could be a strange or unknown email address, a message that includes a high amount of images, hyperlinks, or attachments, or many other tells.

If an email is flagged by your email protection service, it will be put into “quarantine” with other emails that are deemed suspicious as well. A list of quarantined emails will be delivered to your regular email inbox every morning, allowing you to make the decision to block an email address, release the email (with the permission of your IT team), or simply leave the email in quarantine.

RocketCyber’s email solutions also give IT teams the ability to open and inspect suspicious emails in a secure and separate environment, away from the rest of your network, allowing them to explore the email’s threat potential.

Secondly, RocketCyber’s product suite also provides security awareness training.

Security awareness training teaches your employees how to spot and avoid risky digital situations. This can range from the importance of VPNs, password management, and internal security practices — but mainly focuses on phishing emails.

After receiving cybersecurity training, RocketCyber’s security awareness offerings allow IT teams to create “fake” phishing emails. These emails are simply used to test your employee’s cybersecurity street-smarts, and while made to mimic a phishing email, will lead to no harm befalling your network if an employee clicks a “malicious” link.

Your IT team will, however, receive an automated message from RocketCyber’s security awareness solution informing them of the user who failed the test. By sending these test emails at randomized times throughout the month, your security team can both remediate bad security practices among your employees, and ensure a culture of heightened awareness when interacting with emails.

REAL-TIME THREAT DETECTION AND RESPONSE

SOC as a Service’s main offering is the unparalleled ability to monitor and defend your network in real time. Threats can come from almost anywhere, whether it is from outside your organization, or from within.

The types of threats SOC as a Service providers monitor and protect against are:

  • Suspicious activity
  • Connections from terrorist nations
  • Unauthorized encryption services
  • Backdoor connections to C2 servers
  • Lateral movements
  • Privilege escalation

Now, some of those are self explanatory, but some aren’t. Let’s cover what these mean for your organization’s network.

Connections from terrorist nations

There are, unfortunately, a number of countries that are state sponsors of cybercrime. These nations, rather than catching and prosecuting cyber criminals, will ensure their operations continue unabated.

This means that if a website is hosted in that country, or an email address originates from that country, you could be introducing danger to your network by interacting with that website or email.

This does not mean that every website or connection to that country indicates the potential for cybercrime, but it does increase it. RocketCyber will alert your IT team if a user is interacting with a terrorist nation, which they can then investigate, and determine if the connection needs to be terminated.

Lateral Movements & Privilege Escalation

To harken back to Hollywood, “hacking” has been popularized as someone typing codes into a command line, which then breaks into the network, and provides the hacker with their prize.

The reality, however, is a little more banal. Often after a breach has occurred, a cyber criminal will take no immediate action. They will, however, begin to explore the network, the connections to devices, the applications that reside on them, and most importantly, user profiles.

Bad actors will always attempt to find the user profile with the highest level of user permissions on the network — usually belonging to your IT network administrator.

Once the bad actor has access to administrative-level user permissions, they can finally begin their assault on your network. This process can take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the complexity and size of your network.

This malicious exploration, while clandestine, does leave digital traces across your network. These can be presented as lateral movements, meaning one user profile takes a certain action out of the ordinary, and then another user, and another, and another, until the bad actor has found a user profile they deem valuable.

Privilege escalation occurs when a bad actor begins to grant permissions to a user profile they would not normally have the ability to access.

The digital footprint of actions taken like these are minute to the extreme, and will most likely go unnoticed by a human — but with RocketCyber, network activity such as this will be automatically flagged for review by your IT team.

But, for curiosity’s sake, what does happen if a breach goes undetected on your network? For example, what happens if an employee clicks on a phishing email?

There’s a few things that can happen after someone in your organization falls victim to a phishing email: the bad actor can use your stolen password to attempt to break into systems to gain access to other systems. Or, they could have simply wanted a few hundred dollars worth of iTunes gift cards.

The worst scenario is when a phishing attempt leads to a virus. Viruses, just like their biological counterparts, come in many shapes and sizes, and all do different things to your network.

However, easily the most popular virus type today is ransomware. Ransomware is a type of virus that, given enough time, will break into your systems, gain administrative access, and encrypt the entirety of your files, applications, and your network itself.

This effectively locks you out from accessing a simple Microsoft Word file, or even opening your email. In all honesty, you most likely couldn’t log-in to your work computer. And if your office’s doors are controlled by digital locks, those could be tampered to prevent employees from physically accessing your building and their workstations.

It’s important to note that phishing is not the only means of intrusion that is afforded to bad actors attempting to steal your organization’s data. Another common form of network intrusion comes from infected devices.

A device compromised by a virus can lead to the infection of your entire network. An infection can originate from anywhere that a device connects to a network outside of your own. Outside networks should always be considered hostile, dangerous environments, as you have no control over their security practices, or what occurs on their network.

SIEMLESS LOG MONITORING

RocketCyber through log monitoring software solutions like Port Knox, also provides your IT team with the ability to control network permissions — not just by user, but also by device.

After installing the agent on the devices that connect to your network, employees will (if you have configured RocketCyber to do so) be required to input their username and password to authenticate their network connection.

Additional configurations can be added that will automatically analyze any device that has been authenticated to connect to the network, and check the levels of patch updates and anti-virus software updates on the device. If the device does not meet the standards set by your IT teams configurations, that device will not be allowed to connect to the network.

RocketCyber’s log monitoring solutions provide a deep level of security; if a device does not meet your network connection parameters, even a hardline connection to an ethernet port will not allow a device to connect to your network. It will simply be prevented accessing any outside or inside connection on your network.

However, even these configurations can be configured. If, for example, a high profile client was visiting your office, and needed to check their email, but their device did not meet your Network’s security standards, your IT team could provide limited access to the client’s device. This access could range from the whole network, to preventing any connection other than visiting websites outside of your network, and restricting any connection to a device on your network that could be used as a foothold for network intrusion.

Remember, any device from outside your network, even if operated with good intention, can spread an infection to other devices on the network, and your network as a whole.

24/7 SECURITY IS ACHIEVABLE

If there’s anything you should take away from this blog, it isn’t that you have to purchase RocketCyber. There are many different SOC as a Service platforms that can provide you with round-the-clock, high-level security.

So why did we choose RocketCyber, as a business that manages and protects many client networks? Because RocketCyber does everything mentioned in this blog, plus a whole lot more.

And, it only costs $15 per seat.

If you’d like to learn how your organization can specifically benefit from SOC as a Service solutions, reach out to us here.

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