Thu, Jun 13, 2024

Security as a Service (SECaaS) and How it Can Benefit Your Business

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the advantages of adopting a more flexible approach to safeguarding their data, systems and reputation in order to move beyond the limitations of traditional security solutions.

In this article, we will discuss how these advantages are delivered by security as a service (SECaaS), its benefits compared with in-house solutions, and what to look for in a potential SECaas provider.

What is SECaaS?

Security as a service (SECaaS) is an approach to security that involves accessing a range of key cybersecurity solutions on a subscription basis. This helps to reduce the costs and complexities of managing services such as web and email security, data encryption, authentication, detection and response in-house.

By outsourcing their security requirements, companies gain a comprehensive and consistent level of protection without having to constantly update technology or systems themselves. For this reason, SECaaS provides an exceptional level of scalability, having the potential to evolve alongside the needs of each organization. SECaaS also aligns with the growing need for cloud-based solutions in an increasingly digitized business landscape.

SECaaS and the Evolving Cloud Market

The global acceleration towards cloud migration shows no signs of abating. Gartner predicts that global public cloud services spending will total $679 billion this year and exceed $1 trillion in 2027. This shift has been a critical factor in the rising use of SECaaS, opening up new opportunities for companies to achieve a greater breadth of security support and allowing them the flexibility to roll their security capabilities into newly migrated cloud infrastructures.

For a wide range of businesses, their requirements are two-fold: they need security solutions robust enough to deal with complex threats, but they also require security measures that are scalable and flexible enough to adapt to changing business priorities. SECaaS answers both needs in one solution.

SECaaS vs Traditional Security: The Benefits

SECaaS delivers a range of benefits in comparison with those provided by traditional security solutions, including:

1. Better Return on Investment

The use of SECaaS lessens the financial and logistical pressures of having to purchase licenses, integrate systems and perform maintenance and updates. SECaaS not only helps to deliver a better security return on investment but also simplifies the process of identifying, purchasing and managing security services in the first place.

2. Specialist Security Expertise

A key benefit of SECaaS is that it frees up organizations from having to manage the process of hiring and retaining high quality security specialists. With an ongoing cybersecurity skills shortage, alongside the pressure to regularly update skills, SECaaS allows companies to focus on their core operations while having the assurance that their security is in expert hands. Again, this goes beyond the level of flexibility offered by traditional security solutions, which may require in-house staff with specialist skills.

3. Streamlined Security Management

The nature of SECaaS means that it is usually set up to present security insights via a dashboard. This means that organizations can access all the security information and data they need without having to manage the processes that make those insights available. They can then focus their efforts on responding to the security information they receive, rather than on managing the systems behind it. In contrast, traditional security approaches are set up in-house, requiring companies to spend time and resources on implementing them.

4. Highly Scalable

The scalability of SECaaS is one of the key advantages it offers to organizations seeking to advance their security posture. The sheer complexity of security tool integration can mean solutions take so long to implement in-house that they become obsolete by the time they are up and running. This puts companies at risk of falling behind in their security approach even at an early stage. SECaaS solutions can be quickly adapted and scaled up or down, with services added or removed, according to changing business priorities or new types of security threats. They are also scalable on the service provider side, meaning they are more regularly updated as well as tested on a regular basis.

The capacity for security solutions to develop and scale up is particularly critical in relation to detection and response. Because it is cloud-based, SECaaS can be more easily adapted than traditional solutions in response to changing threat types and new security issues, supporting a more sustainable security posture.

5. Time-Saving

Managing the multitude of updates required to maintain a diverse range of security tools can quickly become overwhelming for already stretched security and IT teams. SECaaS eases this burden, with tooling updates handled by the provider, enabling companies to spend more time on their core operations and proactively plan their security strategy instead of reacting to issues as they emerge.

Types of SECaaS

SECaaS includes a broad range of security solutions delivered via the cloud. These include:

1. Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management (IAM) is a security discipline that combines business processes, policies and technologies to facilitate the management of electronic or digital identities. An effective IAM framework enables the control of user access to critical information within organizations.

2. Data Loss Prevention

Also referred to as data loss protection or data leakage prevention/protection, data loss prevention relates to the controls in place in an organization to ensure that valuable or sensitive data stays under authorized use and care.

3. Web Security

Web SECaaS delivers cloud-based services to help protect end-users and end-user devices without the need for hardware or static security solutions.

4. Email Security

While email services generally follow a similar framework, cloud-based vendors may be able to provide fully outsourced email or security augmentation services.

5. Security Assessments

Regular cloud security assessments should form a critical component of any SECaaS strategy.

Every cloud environment is different, whether you’re hosting on Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, so an organization's cloud penetration testing strategy needs to be guided by experts with a deep understanding of these platforms and how they operate to keep critical assets from being exposed.

6. Intrusion Management

Intrusion management involves the use of intrusion detection and response to monitor business environments in order to identify and mitigate malicious activity aimed at impacting data, applications and related systems.

7. Security, Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is a type of threat detection technology that enables organizations to discover targeted attacks and data breaches before they can cause disruption.

8. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Platforms

EDR platforms are cyber security monitoring systems that combine elements of next-gen antivirus with additional tools to provide real-time anomaly detection and alerting, forensic analysis and endpoint remediation capabilities. These technologies help organisations detect threats that target host devices such as laptops, servers and desktops.

9. Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management is a continuous process that involves identifying, evaluating, addressing and reporting different types of security vulnerabilities in systems and the software operating on them. This enables organizations to prevent attacks and minimize any damage that does occur.

10. Encryption

A critical data and application protection practice, encryption ensures security through the effective management and defense of encryption keys.

11. Disaster Recovery

The practice of applying key tools and techniques to ensure an organization is able to act as quickly and effectively as possible in response to an event such as a cyberattack or other issue.

12. Network Security

Network security in a cloud environment relates to the security of the underlying physical environment and the logical security controls inherent in the service or available to be used as a service.

SECaaS Challenges

While SECaaS offers significant advantages to organizations seeking to advance their cyber resilience, it is not without its challenges. A key issue relates directly to the fact it is cloud-based. Depending on any type of service in the cloud presents added security risks around areas such as data privacy and how systems are safeguarded. This is added to by the fact that businesses relying on SECaaS are dependent on their chosen vendor to ensure the security of the service.

With supply chain risk on the rise, there are also potential security issues associated with a SECaaS vendor’s own suppliers. Ensuring that providers are set up to ensure that an organization’s security approach complies fully with industry regulations is another challenge. Yet another is the lack of control due to an organization’s core security environment being managed by another party. However, the best way to mitigate and avoid the pitfalls is to ensure a good choice of SECaaS vendor from the outset.

Choosing a SECaaS Provider

Organizations can ensure they maximize their security investment by selecting a SECaaS vendor with the proven scope to support their specific business and security environment. Key aspects to look for in a SECaaS provider include:

1. Expert team

Your chosen SECaaS vendor should be able to demonstrate that their team is highly experienced and holds relevant and up to date certification. This should also be backed up with a seasoned and supportive customer service team to provide regular updates and respond to ad hoc issues. Request information about the specific certifications held by your prospective provider’s team and check their approach to delivering customer support.

2. Response Times

Entrusting your security to an external vendor should involve  checking that they offer exceptional response times in the event of incidents and alerts. Ask about them about mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR).

3. Advanced Technology

Another critical factor is the quality of the security technology that your vendor will use to manage your security. Assess the range of technology they aim to use and ask about how it is managed and kept up to date. Look for solid justification on why a particular tool has been selected for your environment, rather than just relying on proprietary tools.

4. Scalability

With scalability a key benefit of SECaaS, it is vital to check that your chosen provider can deliver the level of flexibility you need. Ask them how easily they can add new technology and tools to their resources and how quickly they can respond in the event of a business looking to scale their security investment up or down.

5. 24/7 Security

With threats constantly evolving, it is important to check that your prospective SECaaS provider can deliver 24/7 security coverage. This will ensure that there are no gaps in security alerts and insights and enable your provider to deliver a more comprehensive service, maximizing your security investment. Ask the provider how they will ensure that your business is safeguarded around-the-clock. Consider whether a rotating shift pattern in a single location or a follow-the-sun model better suits the needs of your business.

6. Constantly Updated Security Knowledge

As discussed earlier, one of the most valuable advantages of SECaaS over on-premises security solutions is that it enables organizations to benefit from frontline intelligence gathered from other client engagements. In the event of new security issues or insights, this information can help to advance all client organizations’ security posture. Check how your potential provider implements these types of improvements, and their overall approach to research and development.

7. Easy Access to Data

Knowing your security is in safe hands is vital but this needs to be backed up with tangible, actionable insights. Ask about the type and format in which you will be able to manage security data and whether it will be available to view in a dashboard format. The quality and frequency of these reports will go a long way to shaping how your in-house security team manages and updates your overall security strategy.

Advance Your Security Posture With Kroll

Kroll’s end-to-end cyber risk solutions enable organizations to uncover exposures, validate the effectiveness of their defenses, implement new or updated controls, fine-tune detections and confidently respond to any threat. Our threat lifecycle management services remove the burden of ensuring comprehensive security from your in-house teams while giving you complete control.

Kroll Responder delivers unrivaled managed detection and response (MDR) through 24/7 security monitoring, earlier insight into threats, and complete response that goes far beyond simple threat containment to understanding the root-cause, hunting for further evidence of compromise and eradication. Available as a fully cloud-based service, with frontline threat intelligence from 3,000+ incident response cases a year fueling faster, more accurate services across the threat lifecycle, Kroll Responder is consistently recognized as industry-leading by security sector analysts.


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