Why Security as a Service is a great concept
Security as a Service (SECaaS) may not be “optional” as many thought it was. Here’s why:
In June 2022, a software engineer from Seattle and a tech entrepreneur from Perth were convicted for their involvement in two separate cybercrimes – one of which enriched a fraudster by US$15.4 million, while the other lightened a bank’s vault by US$270 million.
Eugeni (aka Zhenya) Tsvetnenko was a rags-to-riches millionaire who survived on noodles while creating the automated SMS messaging technology that built his fortune. Born in Russia and raised in Perth, the young tech entrepreneur joined an SMS scam operation in 2012. The international scam periodically charged mobile users for unsolicited text messages via an “auto-subscribe” scheme that bypassed the need for a consent to bill. Tsvetnenko and his associates defrauded hundreds of thousands of mobile users, raking in about US$41.3 million and laundering US$20 million in proceeds to shell companies. Though not the ringleader, Tsvetnenko was entitled to 70% of the proceeds, which amounted to US$15.4 million. Pleading guilty to the charges and expressing remorse, Tsvetnenko repaid the same amount prior to his conviction, which includes an eight-year prison term.
Meanwhile, former Amazon Web Services (AWS) employee Paige Thompson hacked into the network of Capital One via a misconfigured open-source firewall, stealing the personal data (including social security and bank account numbers) of more than 100 million bank customers in 2019. A year later, Capital One paid US$190 million in damages to customers whose sensitive information have been exposed. The lender also paid federal financial regulators US$80 million as penalty for its evident lapse in security.
The two cases, unfortunately, are just a couple of tiny drops in a brimming bucket.
Cybercrime is surging. In the US alone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported around 850,000 complaints and about seven billion US dollars in losses related to cybercrime in 2021. Of that amount, US$2.4 billion were the result of Business Email Compromise (BEC) and Email Account Compromise (EAC). Meanwhile, the ransomware plague continues because it is such a lucrative revenue model for cyber criminals. It is interesting to note that of companies who were forced into paying a ransom, 80% suffered a second attack, about a third laid off employees and/or experienced C-level resignations, and a few closed shop permanently. Across the globe, cybercrime is already costing organisations, consumers, and governments trillions of US dollars per year.
Today’s cybersecurity landscape is a minefield to navigate, but services like Security as a Service (SECaaS) might tilt the field back in your favour.
What is Security as a Service (SECaaS)?
Security as a Service (SECaaS) refers to a suite of IT security solutions provided by a specialist team for organisations that outsource their cybersecurity needs. These solutions include user and software authentication and access control, email security, anti-malware protection, vulnerability scanning, data loss prevention, and disaster recovery/business continuity. Largely delivered through a cloud-based subscription, SECaaS enables companies to acquire advanced, persistent, and consistently updated protection for their entire IT infrastructure in a systematic, hassle-free, and cost-efficient manner.
Which services are part of SECaaS?
As defined by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the following service categories comprise the SECaaS portfolio (except “endpoint security,” which we added as an arbitrary update following the rise in remote work due to the pandemic):
- Network Security – comprises tools and services that manage network access, monitor network activities, and protect network infrastructure. A company’s IT network includes its hosted servers, onsite computers, and remote devices that are authorised to access network resources.
- Vulnerability Scanning – probes the customers’ IT infrastructure for security risks via a public network.
- Web Security – protects the customer’s public-facing online services and applications.
- Email Security – secures your team’s inbound and outbound email to prevent phishing, malicious email attachments, and spam.
- Identity and Access Management (IAM) – sets authentication/verification protocols, manages user accounts, and configures access permissions.
- Encryption – makes your data unrecognisable/unreadable to unauthorised entities using numerical and cryptographic ciphers.
- Intrusion Management – detects suspicious activities, events, patterns, and behavior to prevent, block, or eliminate hostile and/or unauthorised intrusions.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – protects, monitors, and verifies the security and integrity of data at all times. Implements best practices for data backups and storage.
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) – collects and analyses system logs, event information, and incident data to detect abnormal activities and hidden threats within the network, including potential cyber attacks.
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) – ensures operational resiliency in emergency, volatile, or high-stress situations. Helps companies recover fast in case operations get disrupted by human or natural causes.
- Continuous Monitoring – helps manage risks by providing real-time snapshots of the company’s security posture at all times.
- Security Assessments – maps your IT architecture to assess the current state of your company’s IT security when it comes to threat exposure, vulnerabilities, and compliance to mandated standards.
- Endpoint security – protects the various types of devices (and their users) which form the endpoints of your IT network. These include desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and IoT devices.
Why is it a good idea?
SECaaS provides your company with some formidable benefits:
- Stronger security posture.
- Latest, most advanced, and pre-emptive cybersecurity solutions.
- Simplified, tight, and uniform protection across your entire IT network.
- Constant and comprehensive updates of malware definitions, antivirus tools, and other security software your company uses.
- Non-stop monitoring of your system by AI-powered software agents.
- Faster and more effective response to threats.
- Specialist experts at your call. SECaaS providers master the art and science of cybersecurity. Their insight will help keep your business a step ahead of cyber threats.
- Broad range of services. Select any number of cybersecurity solutions from a comprehensive suite of services and vendors.
- Improved scalability of security fabric. SECaaS enables faster, easier, and more cost-efficient activation/deactivation of services and provisioning of users and teams as your organisation evolves over time.
- Significant cost savings. SECaaS is less costly and almost always better than setting up an in-house IT Security infrastructure. You subscribe only for what you need. Moreover, cybersecurity experts are in-demand, highly paid professionals who are so rare it would cost a fortune to hire and keep one in your payroll. As a strategic investment, SECaaS delivers a compelling ROI over the long term.
- More focus/peace of mind. Because your network is protected by the most advanced IT security solutions, you gain peace of mind as well as the focus you need to improve your core business and reap better outcomes.
What Can SECaaS Protect Against?
Depending on your preferences and the configuration of your provider, SECaaS can protect your IT system and people from the following threats and risks:
- Data loss/corruption/breaches/theft
- Malware (this includes viruses, ransomware, adware, spyware, wiper, worms, Trojans, and spoofed files)
- Different types of phishing attacks
- Non-compliant endpoints and policy violations
- Insecure configurations or unauthorised changes
- Advanced persistent threats (APT)
- Denial of Service (DOS/Distributed Denial of Service, DDoS)
- Brute force attacks
- Man-in-the-middle/Supply chain attacks
- Latent/unaddressed vulnerabilities
- Service interruptions
- Insider threats
- Unauthorised/accidental access to your network
- Blacklisted or filtered websites/urls, spam
Who offers Security as a Service?
Many types of businesses offer security as a service. These include SECaaS vendors, managed service providers (MSPs) like Computer One, and managed security service providers (MSSPs). Most adopt the subscription model in offering their services to customers.
A few tips when you do decide to use SECaaS for your IT system:
- Avoid vendor lock-ins as much as possible. Prefer SECaaS providers that offer flexible service offerings and pricing.
- Look for interoperability, high availability, scalability, and rapid response capabilities in SECaaS solutions.
The final word
Given the many types of security risks it proactively addresses, SECaaS now serves as the first line of defense for a rapidly growing number of organisations.
How prepared and secured is your company against all types of cyber threats?
SECaaS providers like Computer One can help audit your IT network and build the defences it needs for sustained and secure high performance.