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MDR Solutions: Why They are Critical and How to Choose

October 14, 2021
Last Updated: January 15, 2024
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What Are Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Solutions?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solutions offer security mitigation and monitoring solutions for organizations. MDR providers monitor their customers’ endpoints, networks and various IT resources for security events. Once a threat is detected, the MDR provider will look into and take care of issues without the direct response for their client. Organizations use MDR services to safeguard themselves from web-based threats without the need for dedicated security staff onsite.

MDR encompasses both incident response software  and endpoint detection and response software, and handles these functions as a managed service. MDR services demand less hands-on work for organizations and offer certainty without additional security solutions and staffing.

Get our Complete Guide for

Achieving 24×7 Threat Monitoring and Response

  • Why 24×7 threat monitoring should no longer be considered optional
  • How cybersecurity talent shortages can be overcome
  • How the two-pillar approach helps lean security teams achieve 24×7 threat monitoring

The Importance of MDR Solutions for Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity threat landscape is continuously evolving, with the impact and frequency of threats like ransomware and malware growing each year. Today, organizations large and small must proactively search for emerging threats and monitor security risks to protect their business operations and consumers. Critically, they must be able to respond rapidly when a threat is detected.

In this complex threat landscape, organizations are having difficulty finding enough cybersecurity personnel to staff their teams. Globally, there is a cybersecurity worker shortage of almost 4 million people. MDR allows organizations to undertake proactive threat response and detection despite this skill shortage.  

Many organizations rely on solutions such as:

  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) 
  • Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Technologies like SIEM and XDR can correlate data from different sources and help detect threats, but you need appropriate expertise to make the most of them.

Cybersecurity is not restricted to protecting endpoints and implementing a firewall around an organization. Organizations today must actively monitor and hunt for threats. This is why Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is one of the fastest-developing areas within cybersecurity. Gartner estimates that 50% of organizations will be employing MDR services as soon as 2025. 

Related content: Read our guide to MDR services

MDR Solution Capabilities

MDR is an umbrella term encompassing a range of security services. MDR providers allow organizations to outsource parts of their cybersecurity programs. They typically combine software automation with human expertise.

At the very least, MDR services should provide the following capabilities:

  • Threat detection—security experts aim to identify threats proactively, before they become an issue. As opposed to an incident response team, which need to validate alerts for a SIEM or a security operation center by seeking out the underlying cause of an alert, threat hunters identify signs of an attack or compromise before an alert shows up in the SOC.  
  • Threat intelligence—data about threats is amassed, analysed and distributed to help teams isolate and respond to attacks before any damage takes place, or to help recover as rapidly as possible.
  • Threat response—after a threat has been identified, measures have to be taken to neutralize it. The response should combine automated and human intervention. Typically, jobs such as patching or removing malware are dealt with automatically, while more complicated tasks like forensic assessment of a compromised endpoint demand human intervention.  

Related content: Read our guide to MDR services 

4 Types of MDR Solutions

MDR providers may have their own proprietary technologies. Generally, the delivery platform is managed centrally and multitenant, offering customers functions such as data and log management, orchestration and automation, analytics and a user interface (UI).

Some MDR providers may be able to support any security technology that the customer has already acquired, but most are not technology-agnostic. Providers usually offer a definitive set of vendors and technologies, which are supported, and generally depend on the smooth integration and utility of a technology (for example, the capacity to create userful telemetry, support incident response activities, and detect threats).

Bring-Your-Own Technology Stack

Some MDR providers offer modern SOC functions to complement the existing technologies of a customer. However, these providers warn that they are not data-source-agnostic and recommend a turnkey implementation. Providers often heavily curate the different technologies and vendors that they support, sometimes requiring a minimum set of technologies.

These limitations allow MDR to smoothly onboard BYO technology (for example with API connectivity), establish high-enough fidelity detections and offer enough contextual and forensic information to look into incidents. The customer provides the technologies, while the provider executes active responses (such as containment) on the customer’s behalf. 

Managed Endpoint Solutions

Managed EDR is typically used interchangeably with MDR, though it is actually just one aspect of MDR. Managed EDR might have restricted visibility of threats in an organization’s environment, depending on the environments and assets that require monitoring. For instance, you cannot install an EDR agent on a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) or a multifunctional printer-scanner device. Managed EDR is a single mode service.

Get our Complete Guide for

Achieving 24×7 Threat Monitoring and Response

  • Why 24×7 threat monitoring should no longer be considered optional
  • How cybersecurity talent shortages can be overcome
  • How the two-pillar approach helps lean security teams achieve 24×7 threat monitoring

Full Technology Stack

In this approach, the provider offers the entire technology stack—usually two or more threat-detection-oriented technologies to facilitate MDR services. The provider selects these technologies and offers them as a service, so customers cannot choose which technologies are used (or they may have a limited choice).

Providers typically include these components: 

  • An EDR agent
  • Multifunction Network Security Monitoring (NSM) sensors or appliances. 

These technologies enable fast threat detection and provide data for forensic investigation. Certain providers also offer additional technologies and monitor attack vectors like email, cloud services and DNS. Such offerings are multi-mode services. 

Cloud Monitoring Technologies 

Some MDR providers offer their own approaches and technologies to support cloud environments. These might be available as stand-alone or add-on MDR services, as is the case with IoT devices in medical provider environments or monitoring ICS and SCADA systems.

Today, more MDR providers are beginning to support cloud environments as add-ons via their own technologies (for example, via the use of integration and analytics platforms) and through partnerships with other vendors. These include: 

  • Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
  • Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB)
  • Cloud Security Workload Protection (CWPP)  

MDR Solutions with Cynet

Effective breach protection must include a combination of prevention and detection technologies along with deep cybersecurity oversight and expertise. The CyOps team ensures Cynet technology is optimized by continuously monitoring your environment and proactively contacting you when further attention is required. CyOps ensures that all appropriate and necessary detection, investigation and response actions are conducted accurately and thoroughly

Whether your organization already has deep cybersecurity expertise and just lacks the time or staff, or whether your organization just doesn’t have the expertise necessary to ensure you’re always protected – CyOps is there to help 24/7. You don’t have to do it alone. CyOps is ready to extend your resources and expertise in the ongoing fight against cybercrime.

And, you receive all of the benefits of CyOps Managed Detection and Response services as part of the Cynet platform – at no additional cost.

Learn more about Cynet MDR Services

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