February 8, 2024

MDR vs SOC as a Service: Meanings & Differences in Function

Bones Ijeoma

CEO and co-founder

This blog dives into MDR vs SOC, detailing each service's role in cybersecurity and how integrating MDR vs SOC as a service can significantly bolster your company's digital defense.

Did you know that cybercriminals attempt to hack computers an average of 2,244 times a day? This study was revealed in 2017 by the Clark School at the University of Maryland. With today's technological advancement, this number might be higher. 

When considering MDR vs SOC, it's vital to weigh which service can offer you the best defense against hackers. In this way, your data is protected, as well as your business operations. Choosing between MDR vs SOC as a service isn't just about selecting a cybersecurity solution; it's about making a strategic investment in your company's financial security and resilience against the thousands of threats it faces daily.

Defining MDR vs SOC

Defining MDR vs SOC: Meanings and function

You might have heard about MDR vs SOC, but what do these terms really mean, and how do they apply to your business? Let's dive in and decode these acronyms in simple terms.

What is the Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

MDR stands for Managed Detection and Response. Their job is to spot any suspicious activity, investigate it, and then take immediate action to stop cyber threats before they can cause harm. 

Some of its tasks include: 

  • Proactive hunting: MDR doesn't wait for alarms to go off. It actively searches for threats that might not even be known yet, using advanced analytics and threat intelligence. 
  • Rapid response: When MDR spots a problem, it jumps into action immediately, often resolving issues before they escalate. 
  • Expertise on demand: MDR teams are composed of cybersecurity experts who specialize in understanding and mitigating threats. 
  • Technology-driven: Utilizes cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence to detect and respond to threats. 

What is the Security Operations Center (SOC)?

SOC stands for Security Operations Center. This is essentially the command center for a company's cybersecurity efforts. A SOC is equipped with advanced software and staffed by a team of security experts who oversee and manage a company's security posture on all fronts. 

They're constantly analyzing data from various sources within the network to detect potential security incidents. The SOC team's role includes monitoring, assessing, and defending against cyber attacks.

Some of its tasks include: 

  • 24/7 monitoring and analysis: The SOC is your eyes and ears, constantly watching over your network for any signs of trouble. 
  • Comprehensive coverage: SOCs monitor all aspects of an organization's IT infrastructure—networks, devices, appliances, information systems, databases, applications, and services. 
  • Incident management and recovery: In the event of a security breach, SOC as a security team manages the incident from detection to resolution and recovery using different techniques like installing firewalls, etc. 
  • Compliance and reporting: SOCs play a crucial role in ensuring that businesses meet regulatory compliance requirements, providing detailed reports and analysis. 
The differences between MDR vs SOC as a service

MDR vs SOC as a service: How are they different? 

Which is better: MDR vs SOC? Let's dive a bit deeper into what sets these two essential services apart.

Specialization vs. holistic approach

  • MDR service providers are usually highly specialized, focusing squarely on identifying and mitigating threats swiftly. Their tools and strategies are fine-tuned for rapid threat detection, analysis, and response to incidents. This specialization means MDR services are laser-focused on the cutting edge of threat intelligence and defensive tactics.
  • SOC, on the other hand, takes a holistic approach to security. This includes ongoing monitoring, vulnerability assessments, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. A SOC is like the entire military base, overseeing the broader security landscape and coordinating detailed strategies across all fronts.

Scalability and customization

  • MDR services are inherently scalable and can be quickly adapted to meet the evolving needs of a business. Because MDR providers are external experts, they can adjust the level of service and technology used as your business grows or as threats evolve. 
  • SOC requires more upfront investment in technology and personnel, and scaling up can be a more complex process. Building or expanding a SOC involves significant resource allocation, which can be tricky if you're choosing between MDR vs SOC as a service. However, this investment creates a security foundation that is deeply integrated into the organization's IT environment and server.

Speed of deployment and response

  • MDR can be deployed rapidly, thanks to its service-based nature. Providers have the infrastructure and teams ready to go, meaning they can start protecting your business almost immediately. The emphasis on speed extends to their response times, which are typically very fast.
  • SOC takes longer to set up, especially if you're building an in-house operation. It requires substantial planning, from physical space to the acquisition and configuration of monitoring tools and the hiring of staff. While SOC teams are efficient once operational, their initial deployment and the time to respond to incidents can be longer compared to MDR services.

Cost implications

  • MDR is often more cost-effective for SMBs, which makes them the cheaper option in the MDR vs SOC debate. The subscription model of MDR services allows for predictable budgeting without the need for large capital. 
  • SOC, while potentially more costly due to the need for dedicated resources, can be a more economical choice for larger organizations. The investment in a SOC can lead to long-term savings by preventing costly breaches and ensuring that the organization remains compliant with regulatory requirements.
Which is better for you?

SOC vs MDR: How to know which service is best for you? 

The debate between MDR vs SOC can seem daunting, but it's all about matching the security service to your needs. Here's how you can decide which cybersecurity, MDR vs SOC as a service, is the perfect fit for your business.

Understanding your business size and complexity

If you're running an SMB, the winner of the MDR vs SOC debate is MDR. This team provides a focused approach to detecting threats and responding swiftly without the need for a large internal team.

On the other hand, if your organization is larger, with a complex network and a variety of IT assets to protect, a SOC could be more up your alley. SOCs offer a comprehensive view of your cybersecurity posture with a team that's constantly monitoring your network for any signs of trouble. 

Analyzing your in-house capabilities

When questioning MDR vs SOC as a service, carefully assess your current in-house IT and cybersecurity capabilities. If you have a robust IT team but lack specialized security experts, MDR can supplement your existing efforts with their expertise. It's a way to bolster your defenses without the need for extensive training or hiring.

If your organization already has a strong foundation in IT security and you're looking to expand your capabilities even further, establishing or partnering with a SOC can provide the depth of analysis, monitoring, and compliance management you need. 

Considering your security goals and needs

The question of which to choose, MDR vs SOC, depends on your needs. Are you primarily concerned with identifying and neutralizing threats as quickly as possible? MDR shines in rapid detection and response. 

However, if your focus is on comprehensive security management, including threat intelligence, incident management, and regulatory compliance, a SOC's broad approach will cover all bases. 

Evaluating budget constraints

Budget is always a consideration in the MDR vs SOC debate. MDR services typically offer a more predictable cost structure, usually as a monthly or annual subscription, making it easier for smaller businesses to manage expenses. 

SOCs, due to their extensive infrastructure and staffing requirements, might represent a larger initial investment but can be cost-effective for larger organizations that need wide-ranging security oversight.

Why choose AllSafe IT?

Why not get both with AllSafe IT's cybersecurity services? 

At AllSafe IT, we understand that deciding whether MDR vs SOC is the perfect solution for you can be a tough decision. That's why, being the best service provider in California, we've crafted a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that integrates the best of both worlds. 

With over 15 years of expertise in the field, our team is committed to your success, offering a blend of proactive threat hunting, 24/7 monitoring, and rapid incident response. Our unique approach ensures that you don't have to choose between MDR vs SOC as a service; you get the full spectrum of cybersecurity defenses tailored to your specific needs.

Contact us now

Take action with AllSafe IT

Explore AllSafe IT's cybersecurity services today and discover how our all-in-one IT solutions can transform your business's security posture. By partnering with us, you're not just securing your business—you're setting it up for success. Contact us now at (888) 400-2748 before it's too late! 

Frequently asked questions

What is SIEM, and how does it enhance security service?

SIEM, or Security Information and Event Management, plays a critical role in enhancing security services by collecting and analyzing log data from various sources within an organization's IT environment. It provides real-time visibility into security events and alerts, enabling swift detection and response to potential threats.

By leveraging machine learning and advanced analytics, SIEM can identify unusual patterns and behaviors that may indicate a security threat, ensuring that your organization's security is always a step ahead.

How do alerts contribute to effective security monitoring?

Alerts are crucial for effective security monitoring as they notify SOC analysts and security staff of potential security threats, allowing for immediate action. These alerts, generated by security tools like EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) and intrusion detection systems, are based on the analysis of log data and security events.

By prioritizing alerts, especially those confirmed as positive by advanced analytics, organizations can focus on real threats, reducing the time to containment and remediation.

What are the benefits of integrating SOC and MDR services?

Integrating SOC and MDR services brings together the best of both worlds: comprehensive network security monitoring and proactive threat hunting. SOC provides a centralized unit for monitoring and incident response within an organization, utilizing SOC analysts and a range of security tools.

MDR, on the other hand, offers a more focused solution for detecting, responding to, and remediating cyber threats, often using endpoint detection and response technologies. 

Why should organizations consider service providers for managed SIEM solutions?

Service providers like AllSafe IT, which offers managed SIEM solutions, can significantly enhance an organization’s security posture by providing specialized expertise in security information and event management. These providers use advanced technologies and methodologies to manage and analyze log data, security events, and alerts.

Managed SIEM services allow organizations to benefit from top-tier security monitoring without the need for extensive in-house resources, making it cost-effective.

What role does XDR play in modern cybersecurity strategies?

XDR, or Extended Detection and Response, extends beyond traditional endpoint security by integrating various security components, including network security and email security, into a cohesive security solution.

XDR offers a unified platform for detecting and responding to security threats across the entire digital environment of an organization. By consolidating data from multiple security layers, XDR enables faster threat detection, investigation, and response.

How do managed security services strengthen an organization’s security?

Managed security services provide organizations with comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, including managed SIEM, SOC services, and MDR solutions. These services are designed to strengthen an organization's security by offering expertise in managing and responding to security threats, utilizing advanced security tools and technologies.

By outsourcing security tasks to specialized service providers, businesses can ensure continuous monitoring and incident response, improving their security posture.

What distinguishes SOCs from other cybersecurity frameworks?

SOCs, or Security Operations Centers, distinguish themselves from other cybersecurity frameworks by offering a centralized platform for continuous monitoring of an organization’s security. They employ a team of dedicated security analysts and SOC staff who detect, analyze, and respond to security incidents. 

Unlike other frameworks that may focus solely on prevention or detection, SOCs provide a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.