SOC Health Check: Prescribing XDR for Enterprises 

It is near-certain the need for security across the enterprise will never cease – only increase if year-over-year trends are any indication. We constantly see headlines with repetitive buzzwords and phrases calling attention to the complexity of today’s security operations center (SOC) with calls to action to reimagine and modernize the SOC. We’re no different here at McAfee in believing this to be true.  

In order for this to happen, however, we need to update our thinking when it comes to the SOC.  

Today’s SOC truly serves as an organization’s cybersecurity brain. Breaking it down, the brain and SOC are both the ultimate central nervous system and are extremely complex. While the brain fires neurons, connects synapses, and constantly communicates in order for the body to function, the SOC similarly works as a centralized system where people, processes, and technology must be in-sync to function.The unfortunate reality is though, SOC analysts and staff do not feel empowered to act in this manner. According to the 2021 SANS Cyber Threat Intelligence Report, respondents cited several reasons for not being able to implement cybersecurity holistically across their organization, including lack of trained staff, time, funding, management buy-in, technical capabilities, and more.  

The technology that has the power to enable this synchronicity and further modernize enterprise security by taking SOC functionality to the next level is already here – Extended Detection and Response (XDR). It has the ability to provide prevention, detection, analysis, and response in a purposefully orchestrated and cooperative way, with its components operating as a whole. Think of it this way: XDR mimics the brain’s seamlessness in operation, with every element working toward the same goal of maintaining sound security posture across an entire organization.  

Put another way, the human brain has approximately 100 trillion synapses, synchronizing and directing to make it possible to walk and chew bubble gum at the very same time with seemingly no effort on the human’s end. However, if one synapse misfires or becomes compromised due to an unknown element – you might end up on the ground.  

Similarly, we’re already seeing many enterprises falter, trip, and fall. According to Ernst & Young, 59% of companies experienced a significant breach in the last twelve months – and only 26% of respondents say the SOC identified that event. These statistics show the case for XDR is clear – and that it is time to learn and reap the benefits of taking a proactive approach.   

Purposeful Analysis vs. Analysis Paralysis 

Organizations are still vulnerable to malicious actors attempting to take advantage of disparate remote workforces – and we’re seeing them get craftier, acting faster and more frequently. This is where XDR offers a pivotal differentiator by providing actionable intelligence and integrated functionality across control vectors, resulting in more proactive investigation cycles.  

When it comes to analysis, data can quickly become overwhelming, introducing an opportunity to miss critical threats or malicious intent with more manual or siloed processes. Meaningful context is crucial and no industry is exempt from needing it. 

This is where McAfee is providing the advantage with MVISION XDR powered MVISION Insights. The ability to know likely and prioritized threat campaigns based on geographical and industry prevalence – and have them correlated and assessed across your local environment – provides the situational awareness and analysis that can allow SOC teams to act before threats occur. Additionally, as endpoints only promise to increase, MVISION XDR works in conjunction with McAfee’s endpoint protection platform (EPP), increasing effectiveness with added safeguards including antivirus, encryption, data loss prevention technologies and more at the endpoint 

Think of the impact and damage that can happen without this crucial and context MVISION Insights can provide. The consequences can be dire when looking at industries that have faced extreme upheaval.  

For example, in keeping with our theme, we know the importance of essential healthcare workers and cannot be grateful enough for their contributions. But as the industry faces extreme challenges and an increase in both patient load and data, we also need to be paying close attention to how this data is being managed, who has privilege to it, and what threats exist as even this typical in-person industry shifts virtual due to our updated circumstances. Having meaningful context on potential threats will help this industry avoid added challenges so focus can remain steadfast on creating impact and positive results.  

Greater Efficiency is Essential 

Outside of the tremendous advantage of being less vulnerable to threats and breaches due to proactivity, incredible efficiencies can be gained by freeing cybersecurity staff from those previously manual tasks and management of multiple silos of solutions. The time is definitely now too – according to (ISC)², 65% of organizations already report a shortage of cybersecurity staff. 

Coupled with staff shortages and lack of skilled workers, an IBM report also found that the average time to detect and contain a data breach is 280 days. Going back to the view that the SOC serves as an organization’s cybersecurity brain – 280 days can cause massive amounts of damage if an anomaly in the brain were to occur unnoticed or unaddressed.  

For the SOC, the longer a breach goes undetected, the more information and data becomes vulnerable or leaked – leading not only to a disruption in business, but ultimately financial losses as well.  

The SOC Has a Cure 

XDR is the future of the SOC. We know that simplified, cohesive visualization and control across the entire infrastructure leads the SOC to better situational awareness – the catalyst for faster time to remediation. The improved, holistic viewpoint XDR provides across all vectors from endpoint, network, and cloud helps to eliminate mistakes and isolated endeavors across an organization’s entire IT framework.  

With AI-guided investigation, analysts have an automatic exchange of data and information to move faster from validation to decision when it comes to threats. This is promising as organizations not only tackle a shortage in cybersecurity staff, but skilled workers as well. According to the same (ISC)² survey as above, 36% of those polled cite lack of skilled or experienced staff being a top concern.  

Knowing the power of data and information, we can confidently assume that malicious actors will never stop their quest to infiltrate and extort enterprises. True to the well-known anecdote, this knowledge brings about great responsibility. Enterprises will face challenges as threats increase while talent and staff decrease – all while dealing with vendor sprawl and choice-overload across the market.  

SOC Assessment Tool

Check Your SOC Maturity Level

Time to schedule a check-up for your SOC. It may not be as healthy as you think and true to both the medical and security industries, proactivity and prevention can lead to optimized functionality.

Take the Assessment Now

 Want to learn more about McAfee’s investment in XDR and explore its approach? Check out McAfee MVISION XDR.  

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