Security as a Service explained

July 15, 2020 | Nick Cavalancia

This blog was written by a third party author

What is Security as a Service?

Security as a Service (often abbreviated as SECaaS) is a means by which organizations ensure the highest levels of threat detection and response in the most cost-efficient manner by utilizing managed security service providers (MSSPs). Originating from the concept of “software as a service”, Security as a Service delivers the combination of best in breed security solutions and expert security staffing on a subscription basis, resulting in a more cost-effective solution for addressing security needs than an organization can achieve on their own. Security as a Service empowers organizations to outsource needed security tasks – such as security monitoring, threat detection, and remediation – to dedicated teams of external security experts that use advanced security solutions, allowing internal IT and security teams focus on core business needs.

Security as a Service can be a completely managed offering, essentially replacing the need for an internal Security team.  But many Security as a Service providers have their security experts operate in conjunction with an organization’s internal IT and Security teams to create a unified effort against known and evolving advanced threats. Regardless of the level of involvement by internal teams, the use of Security as a Service immediately improves an organization’s ability to identify and address threats. 

What kinds of services are included with Security as a Service?

Not every Security as a Service offering is identical, but they do tend to adhere to a common set of service offerings that can include:

  • Security analysis – Security experts audit your organization’s state of security against industry standards to identify weaknesses, misconfigurations, and risk.
  • Security Information Event Management (SIEM) – Log and event data is centrally aggregated, normalized, and monitored for anomalies.
  • Email security – Security tools are used to detect and block malicious email-based threats, including social engineering, malware, and spam.
  • Antivirus management – Endpoint-based Antivirus solutions are installed, kept up-to-date, and managed to ensure the highest levels of protection.
  • Web security – The monitoring and management of web application firewalls helps to block web-based threats in real-time.
  • Identity and access management – Roles and access privileges of individual network users to on-premises and cloud-based applications and resources is centrally defined and managed.
  • Vulnerability scanning – Network devices and computer systems are scanned for potential points of exploit to identify needed security updates.
  • Data loss prevention – Data in transit or at rest is inspected, classified, and reviewed, to keep sensitive, personal, critical, and externally valuable data from leaving the organization.
  • Intrusion prevention – Network traffic flows are examined to detect and prevent vulnerability exploits.
  • Incident response – As threats are detected, security analysts can use automation or engage with internal teams to jointly respond to and remediate incidents.
  • Compliance – Network configurations, policies, and procedures are monitored and reviewed to ensure adherence to data security standards within specific compliance regulations.
  • Data encryption – Data in transit and at rest is secured to ensure only approved access is possible.

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What are the benefits to using Security as a Service?

Organizations taking advantage of Security as a Service see both immediate and long-term benefits.  These include:

Cost savings

One of the biggest benefits of using Security as a Service is the lowered total cost of ownership. Instead of hiring several expensive internal security analysts, purchasing multiple security solutions, and spending countless months attempting to make them work as desired, Security as a Service offers immediate expertise and best of breed solutions. Often available as a simple monthly subscription, this cloud-delivered service does away with the need for large capital expenditures and usually offers several tiers of service, allowing organization’s to only pay for those services (or levels of service) they need.

Reduced complexity

Security as a Service simplifies the relationship between internal IT and security teams and the work of securing the environment. The installation, configuration, maintenance, patching, updating, and management of security solutions and the underlying infrastructure are not the responsibility of internal IT, nor is the management of the security analyst staff. This allows internal teams to simply focus on more strategic business initiatives.

Skilled and experienced security professionals

Generally, providers of Security as a Service employ seasoned security analysts who specialize in the services offered – often more skilled in cybersecurity than internal IT and security resources.

Best-of-breed toolsets

Providers offering Security as a Service use the latest and most effective security tools and resources. From threat intelligence, to security assessment and monitoring, to detection and remediation, these state of the art security solutions empower the Security as a Service analysts to quickly identify threats, either alerting internal teams to the automatic remediation of the threat or providing details, insight, and guidance on how to address the security issue.

Use of automation

Depending on the security solutions used and the integration available, most Security as a Service offerings take advantage of automation to address as many aspects of the services offered as possible.  From detection of vulnerabilities and threats, to alerting and reporting, to remediation, automation helps security analysts and internal teams to focus on other strategic initiatives while ensuring faster and more accurate response to cyberattacks and evolving threats.

Better protection against evolving threats

Because Security as a Service offers more seasoned security professionals, best of breed security solutions with up-to-date threat intelligence, and a faster time to implementation, organizations taking advantage of Security as a Service enjoy improved levels of security against both known and advanced threats.

Nick Cavalancia

About the Author: Nick Cavalancia

Nick Cavalancia is a Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter MVP, has over 25 years of enterprise IT experience, is an accomplished consultant, speaker, trainer, writer, and columnist, and has achieved industry certifications including MCSE, MCT, Master CNE, Master CNI. Nick regularly speaks, writes and blogs for some of the most recognized tech companies today on topics including cybersecurity, cloud adoption, business continuity, and compliance.

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