Arctic Wolf: SOC-as-a-Service

Sam McLane is concerned about mental health. In particular, McLane, who serves as Chief Technology Services officer at Arctic Wolf, worries about the mental health of security professionals. “This is no joke,” McLane said. “It’s like working in an ER. There’s a lack of available resources.  People have to work in a very intense, fast-paced environment without a lot of support nor much validation of success.”

He’s not alone in making this observation. Many security experts point to burnout and even post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among SecOps team members. SecOps works shifts from mind-numbing review of alerts to high-adrenaline incident response.

Sam McLane, Chief Technology Services officer at Arctic Wolf

These insights led to the founding of Artic Wolf, which functions as a “concierge” SecOps service. The goal of the company is to provide enterprise-grade security but at a manageable price. For the sake of simplicity, Artic Wolf identifies itself as a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP), but in reality, the company’s capabilities extend further than that definition would imply.

For some clients, particularly smaller organizations, Artic Wolf is essentially a Security Operations Center (SOC) as a service (SOCaaS). They can operate as an entire security department if necessary. For larger clients, the company works like a specialized, outsourced security team. Arctic Wolf has a crisp response process and offers a detailed post mortem on security incidents. They like to demonstrate to the client what has been learned in the experience of handling a security event.

The main benefit to the client is the lifting of the heavy HR pressure. “We have the people and the tools ready to go,” McLane explained. “That way, you don’t have to worry so much about hiring and retaining SecOps people. Alternatively, your team can focus on what matters most to them in security but leave most of the operational stuff to us.” Some clients work with Arctic Wolf on determining which security tools are the best fit for their organization.

There are challenges in this model, for sure. “We can get thrown under the bus,” McLane noted. “We don’t work there, so it’s easy. However, most of the time, we have found that the occasional problem helps make everyone—us and the client—better at what we do.”

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