8 Benefits of MDR You Really, Really Need in the Current Threat Landscape


NomiosExperts in cybersecurity and networking.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) gives you access to a team of security experts to better protect your network infrastructure in a complex and fast-moving threat landscape.

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8 Benefits of MDR You Really, Really Need in the Current Threat Landscape
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CISOs and security managers are very aware that the ‘current threat landscape’ is a scary place to be. There are multiple actors at play with differing agendas whether it's pursuing financial gain, political “Hacktivism” outcomes, furthering nation-state interests, corporate espionage or insiders (malicious and accidental) causing disruption.

Against this backdrop there are countless cybersecurity methodologies, solutions and services available to help you sleep at night.

With so many ideas and cybersecurity services out there, it can be quite challenging to work out what everything does, what the acronyms stand for and what you need in particular. In this article, we delve into the world of MDR to help you explore whether this Managed Service should be part of your cybersecurity toolkit.

What is MDR?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a proactive service delivered by an external security provider. It gives you access to a team of highly skilled cybersecurity specialists who work across your entire security landscape, so you don’t have to hire this level of expertise internally.

As the name suggests, MDR also provides you with the tools and services needed to detect threats and respond to incidents, so you don’t have to purchase and maintain these solutions.

MDR is not the same as EDR or XDR, although these tools may be an integrated or extended part of a MDR service. MDR providers are also not the same as Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP). They’re typically more reactive and focus on vulnerabilities, managing firewalls and security infrastructure and security alert monitoring. MDR service providers remediate on endpoints in conjunction with threat hunting for unknowns on the network and endpoints, and utilise intelligence-based threat detection, analysis and extensive forensics.

Working with a MDR service provider doesn’t necessarily replace all the other services and solutions you currently deploy. However, it will provide you with a holistic view of your entire security landscape and help you manage your security infrastructure more effectively.

So why outsource rather than taking a DIY approach?

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8 reasons to work with a MDR service provider

1. Better visibility of your organisation’s cybersecurity posture

Understanding your organisation’s cybersecurity posture and risk exposure is the key to knowing where to focus your energy and resources. It helps you make better decisions, informs your security strategy and helps you to secure budget for resources from business leaders.

MDR provides you with a holistic view of your entire security landscape so you can prioritise activities to invest in, aligned with your organisation’s risk appetite and unique environment.

2. Reduce the cost of ownership

MDR service providers use advanced SIEM and SOAR technology, best in class third-party solutions and their own bespoke tooling to detect and respond to threats.

The MDR toolkit also includes the latest advances in threat intelligence, deploying AI and machine learning to automate detection. These tools, such as XDR platforms, continuously monitor certain Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) and Indicators of Behaviour (IOB) to detect malicious activity and trigger a response to get ahead of a possible attack.

The cost of ownership if you had to purchase and manage these solutions yourself would quickly add up.

3. Risk mitigation

The ‘breakout time’ - how long it takes for a threat actor to break out of an initially breached system and start moving laterally across an enterprise - is just 1 hour 58 minutes, according to CrowdStrike. For this reason, you need to be able to respond to detections at pace.

IT experts recommend following strict response frameworks, such as the 1:10:60 rule:

  • 1 minute to detect
  • 10 minutes to investigate
  • 60 minutes to remediate

Working with an MDR service provider can help organizations overcome the challenges that slow down their response times and accelerate their ability to mitigate threats. It can also cover an organization’s weak points, with most corporate security teams that have an unmanaged EDR solution typically experiencing slower response times during weekends and out of office hours, meaning they’re at a far greater risk of a threat propagating.

4. Access to specialist cybersecurity expertise

Can you afford to hire a team of specialists? Even if you can, there's a skills shortage out there which is making hiring and retaining highly skilled cybersecurity experts all the more challenging.

Working with a MDR service provider gives you access to this level of expertise without the associated challenges of managing an internal team. No annual leave to cover. No CPD to manage. MDR removes the burden of day-to-day security management from your staff, giving you all the benefits of a dedicated security team without the HR headache.

5. Access to human intelligence

MDR combines the best of both worlds, human and artificial intelligence. While AI and machine learning tools can process vast amounts of data and identify anomalies more quickly than a human can, false positives are still an issue.

That’s where human intelligence and experience is needed to validate incidents and the appropriate response. Your MDR team also has access to global threat intelligence and analysis so they can make data-driven decisions to improve threat response.

MDR service providers are part of a global cyber threat intelligence community. They get to hear about emerging attack techniques so you have the latest counter threat intelligence at your fingertips.

6. Prevention as well as detection

The term Managed Detection Response suggests prevention is not in the remit, but it is. With access to the latest threat intelligence your MDR team can identify vulnerabilities that emerging threats target, then provide risk-based advice and recommendations to mitigate risk and limit your exposure. Global threat intelligence and analysis is what gives you the edge in the current threat landscape.

7. Proactive reviews for an evolving IT infrastructure

As your IT infrastructure evolves, vulnerability gaps can also be introduced. MDR solutions using AI will continually review your systems to protect against known threats and manage the risk of unknown threats.

8. Compliance reporting

Data security regulations, like GDPR in the EU or HIPAA in the US, require you to properly secure personal or sensitive data, put process security measures in place and follow them.

In the event of a data breach, MDR services can provide insight into all relevant data so you can respond promptly and undertake remedial measures. For GDPR this includes informing the Data Protection Authority in your country or state, and the people and entities whose data has been breached.

By using the right detection rules, MDR service providers can also help you comply with other regulations and standards such as ISO27001, NEN7501 and PCI DSS, amongst others.

MDR solutions don’t stop the current threat landscape from being scary, those unknowns are by definition unpredictable. However, a proactive approach to cybersecurity using the latest threat intelligence and AI tools, is much better than waiting for the inevitable breach. If you want peace of mind that you’re doing everything possible to mitigate risks, MDR really can help you sleep at night.

Further Reading


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