What is security as a service (SECaaS)?

Security as a service or SECaaS is a form of outsourced security. With SECaaS, you receive cybersecurity services delivered through the cloud. These services work the same way as traditional ones — without the need for hardware or software. As such, SECaaS can help you guard against malware, ransomware, and other current and emerging cyberthreats. At the same time, it can help you lower your security costs, improve your security posture, and more.

Learn about Security as a Service

In the past, organizations would purchase security hardware and software to secure networks, end-users and devices.  Selecting, buying, and managing hardware and software can be costly and resource intensive. .

SECaaS is now changing how organizations secure against cyberattacks. Often referred to as cybersecurity as a service, SECaaS means to outsource to a third party provider the increasingly complex problem of cybersecurity protection and prevention.

SECaaS providers specialize in data security and protect organizations from the evolving threat landscape of ransomware, data breaches and cyberattacks.

SECaaS Benefits

Research indicates that the global security as a service market was worth $12.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to be worth $23.8 billion by 2026.  Organizations are selecting providers and services for many reasons, including:

1. Cost

Selecting a security service provider that delivers the protection your organization needs deserves considerable thought and planning. Communicating with providers will help you avoid investing in the additional 'bells and whistles' that offer little to no ROI.

2. Time

Managing cybersecurity is not easy. SECaaS provides access to cybersecurity experts that can free up time and resources for your company's IT team to focus on other high-value tasks.

3. Up to Date

Keeping up with evolving cyberthreats is challenging. Your SECaaS provider will automatically update technologies and processes used to protect your organization. One less thing to worry about for the IT team. 

4. Security Expertise

Cybersecurity professionals work on your behalf to help your organization protect against new cyber threats.  They can help you identify the gaps and provide ongoing support so you get the best outcomes from your IT security investments.

5. Seamless Management

SECaaS takes the guesswork out of managing your applications, networks, and other aspects of your security operations. Your SECaaS provider can make sure that security controls are implemented and remain in place for as long as you choose. 

6. Fast Provisioning

SECaaS offerings can be scaled up or down as needed to fit the needs of your organization. Your company should have no trouble getting the right security services at the right time - on time.

7. Compliance Support

Your SECaaS provider can help you comply with HIPAA, GDPR, and other industry regulations. It will make sure that you have the most up-to-date security technologies in place, even if you operate in a highly regulated industry. As a result, your SECaaS provider can help you avoid compliance penalties.

Security as a Service Challenges

If you want to outsource your cloud security, you need to plan accordingly. Here are challenges that you need to account for as you evaluate security as a service options:

1. Lack of Control

With security as a service, you place some or all of the control of your cloud security operations in the hands of a third party. You give up control in the hopes that your security operations are managed properly. Yet, if you choose an inexperienced SECaaS provider, you could put your organization, its employees, and its customers in danger.

2. Security Vulnerabilities

If a cybercriminal infiltrates a security as a service offering, all of its users can be affected. When you use security as a service, it pays to choose a trusted SECaaS provider to minimize your risk of encountering vulnerabilities.

3. Data Leakage

When you partner with an SECaaS provider, you share data with the business. If your SECaaS provider suffers a cyberattack or data breach, your organization's data can be exposed.

Security as a Service Examples

Cybersecurity as a service is more than just a one-size-fits-all security offering. You can choose from many security as a service offerings tailored to your organization. These include:

1. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data loss prevention is ideal to make sure your sensitive information remains safe and secure. With DLP, you can monitor your data in storage and in use. DLP can be utilized across your organization's clouds, networks, and end-users.

2. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) 

BCDR is key to keep your IT systems running at all times. In the event of a natural disaster or anything else that can disrupt your IT systems, BCDR keeps your systems operational.

3. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

IAM is a big part of cloud identity security, since it lets you manage end-user identities before cybercriminals can exploit them. You can use IAM to manage privileged access and make sure that employees required to perform certain tasks can access the data and systems they need, when they need them. IAM can also help detect unusual access patterns that indicate a cyberattack is underway or your data and IT systems have been compromised.

4. Email Security

Email security delivered as a service protects against phishing, spam, and other email-based cyberthreats. Some email security as a service offerings automatically detect malicious emails before they reach users' inboxes.

5. Network Security

Network security as a service lets you control who can access your organization's networks. It also provides you with the ability to track your network status, look for network threats, and respond to and guard against network cyberattacks and data breaches.

6. Web Security

You can deploy web security as a service to protect your online apps and networks. The service detects, responds to, and remediate attacks before they damage your apps and networks.  

7. Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

MDR as a service provides you with a security operations center (SOC), threat detection and response, and other advanced security capabilities.

Selecting a SECaaS Provider

Different companies have different needs, and organizations investing in cybersecurity as a service will do their due diligence to select the right provider. Some options to consider include:

1. Availability

Any time you have a cloud security concern or question, your SECaaS provider should be ready to respond. The provider should make it easy to contact them 24/7.

2. Response Time

If you are dealing with a cyberattack or data breach, your SECaaS provider should respond instantly. From here, the provider can help you take the necessary steps to address your security incident and prevent it from happening once again.

3. Flexibility  

Your SECaaS provider should evolve with your organization. If you want additional security services or want to change the ones you're currently using, your SECaaS should be able to accommodate your request.

4. Vendor Partnerships

You have a technology stack in place, and your SECaaS provider should be able to deliver cybersecurity as a service offerings that complement it. Your SECaaS provider should work with many security vendors, so you can use its cybersecurity as a service offerings in conjunction with the ones you're already utilizing. 

5. Reporting

To get the most value out of your security as a service investment, you need an SECaaS provider that values reporting. Your provider should develop reports and share them with you on a regular basis. These reports can highlight the current state of your security posture and what you can do to further enhance your cyber protection.

Sophos Cybersecurity as a Service

With Sophos MDR, your organization can get up and running with cybersecurity as a service right away. More than 17,000 global organizations trust Sophos MDR for security as a service. We give you the option to manage portions of your security. Or, we can handle all aspects of your security operations.

The Sophos team is redefining cybersecurity as a service for organizations across the globe.  Learn more about our offerings and contact us today.

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Related security topic: What is managed detection and response?