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Businesses Hampered by Understaffed Security Operations Centers (SOCs): Opportunity for MSSPs?

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Businesses have a limited number of analysts running their security operations centers (SOCs) and are deploying multiple tools in an attempt to address their cloud security challenges, enterprise IT management provider ManageEngine, a unit of Zoho Corp., said in a new study.

Pressure on SOCs Builds

Nearly three in four of the 500 U.S.-based IT professionals in ManageEngine’s Cloud Security Outlook 2023 are using multi-cloud applications and another 5% are deploying hybrid cloud systems. Roughly one in four of the respondents is planning to move to the cloud in the next 24 months, further bumping up the overall adoption rate, and putting more pressure on understaffed SOCs.

Indeed, businesses are struggling to meet that need, said ManageEngine, because SOCs are chronically understaffed. As many as 77% of respondents stated that they only have three to five security analysts running their SOCs.

The opportunity for managed security service providers (MSSPs) to fill open SOC slots at the enterprise level is clear should businesses elect to outsource the positions.

Security Outlook: Cloudy

The ManageEngine study further revealed that businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to gain visibility into cloud activities and comply with various stringent regulations. Nearly half (48%) of respondents find compliance with cybersecurity laws, especially those related to the cloud, to be highly challenging. In addition, 97% of respondents will be evaluating a solution that provides all security functions in a single console in 2023.

Some additional macro findings include:

  • A lack of staffing and orchestration makes the security process complicated.
  • The three most common and impactful cloud security threats are identity-based.
  • Compliance proves to be challenging for enterprises.

Drill down a bit and the report states:

  • Most respondents (84%) stated they either have fewer than five security analysts or don't have dedicated analysts at all to run their SOCs.
  • 94% of respondents use different security tools to protect data, monitor user access, adhere to compliance mandates and gain visibility into cloud platforms.
  • Cloud account compromise is the most common and impactful cloud security threat (35%), followed by external cloud account exploits (23%) and unauthorized access and account compromise by insiders (14%).
  • About half (48%) of those who monitor their cloud access or have hybrid cloud systems deployed said that the process of ensuring compliance is highly challenging. Another 37% acknowledged that it is tough, but manageable.
  • Only 16% of respondents said that they are all sorted when it comes to compliance with cybersecurity laws, especially those related to the cloud.

Commenting on the survey, Manikandan Thangaraj, ManageEngine vice president, said:

"Cyber resilience refers to the ability of an organization to ensure business continuity in the event of a cyberattack with the help of business processes and tools. Cloud security resilience, therefore, requires enterprises to have visibility, enhanced policy enforcement, infection isolation and impact neutralization from a unified security architecture."

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.