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January 3, 2023

What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

As the threat landscape, cybersecurity has become a vital business priority for enterprises everywhere. Organizations understand that they are vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches. This understanding drives their cybersecurity decisions and investments.

However, many companies don’t have the resources to manage all the tools and technologies in their security stacks due to which they struggle to defend themselves against cyberattacks. Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a viable and increasingly popular solution to these challenges. Let’s see why.

Definition of Managed Detection and Response

Gartner describes MDR as a service that provides organizations with “remotely delivered modern security operations center (MSOC) functions” so they can “rapidly detect, analyze, investigate and actively respond through threat mitigation and containment”. Simply put, MDR refers to a suite of cybersecurity services focused on early and proactive threat detection, response, and mitigation.

MDR services combine technology, analytics, and human expertise to enable businesses to detect, prevent, and respond to the cybersecurity threats in their business ecosystem. MDR providers can also help with threat investigations conducted by experts skilled in threat hunting, incident management, and threat mitigation to limit their impact.

A reliable, 24x7 MDR service can help businesses to strengthen their cyber defenses and keep adversaries out of their systems without adding additional security staff. MDR services and security platforms are particularly useful for firms that cannot maintain their own security operations centers (SOC) to effectively detect, respond to, and contain threats.

The Benefits of MDR Services over MSSPs

Managed security service providers (MSSP) are outsourced security solutions providers that can augment or replace inhouse security teams. They monitor enterprise systems and security devices, handle security upgrades, and take care of incident response. To some extent, MSSP sounds very similar to MDR. However, there are several distinct differences between the two approaches.

Automation is an important element of MDR. However, it is not the most important element as it is with MSSPs. In MDR, automation is always accompanied with human expertise to monitor the enterprise network, analyze security events, and alert the organization. The human touch and direct communications are two of the biggest benefits of MDR, which MSSPs can only provide to a limited extent since they mostly rely on automated portals and secondary communications channels like chat and email.

MDR vendors take a proactive approach to threat management in comparison to MSSPs whose services are reactive and more focused on security alert monitoring. This is why MDR providers can deliver both preventive threat detection services and reactive threat mitigation and incident response services. The best MDR vendors can also help organizations to identify indicators of compromise, reverse engineer malware and ransomware, and remedy security vulnerabilities.

In addition, organizations can get all of the following benefits with MDR:

  • 24x7 threat hunting, threat detection, and incident response
  • Access to global threat intelligence
  • Security infrastructure management
  • Intelligence-based and human-based threat detection and triage
  • Incident investigations and forensics
  • Integrated endpoint and network security technology

How MDR Works

MDR vendors apply a mix of technology and human expertise to monitor, detect, and respond to the threats relevant to an organization. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) platforms and next-gen antivirus software are two of the most common tools offered as part of an MDR service. EDR provides visibility into enterprise endpoints and their security events.

In addition, MDR vendors implement tools for threat intelligence whose output is passed on to human analysts for analysis and action-taking. Tools and humans work together to mitigate threats, reduce their impact, and restore endpoints to their pre-infected state.

Different MDR providers use their own set of tools and procedures for threat detection, analysis, and response. But in general, all of them offer the following capabilities:

Alert prioritization

Sifting through massive alert volumes from security tools can become overwhelming for inhouse security teams. Managed alert prioritization services can reduce this burden for internal personnel. MDR providers apply automated rules so their own analysts can easily analyze alerts and distinguish false positives from real threats. Moreover, they use tools that provide additional context to improve alert quality and help them take appropriate actions at appropriate times.

24x7 threat monitoring

MDR vendors continuously monitor the organization's network and endpoints. They also use updated and contextual threat intelligence to identify security incidents and accelerate triage and response.

Incident investigation

Incident forensics is one of the benefits that MDR provides. MDR vendors offer managed incident investigation services to help organizations understand threats, plan effective responses, and prevent future recurrence.

Incident response and guided remediation

Vendors deploy tools to initiate automatic responses to detected threats based on pre-defined rules and workflows. Some tools also send alerts to their security team along with details of recommended actions to eliminate the threat or recover from an attack.

Security reporting

MDR providers deliver detailed reports for detected threats or incidents. These reports provide information about the threat or incident, how it was detected, and what steps were taken to resolve it. All this information enables company management to understand the threat landscape and make better cybersecurity-related decisions.

Security Challenges that MDR Can Address

MDR enables organizations to address all these cybersecurity challenges:

Expensive and out-of-reach security tools and technologies

For many organizations, the cost of a full security stack can be a huge challenge. Many security tools and technologies are also out of the reach of many firms. By working with an MDR provider, they can access the tools they need to protect their assets. Some providers even provide customized implementations to match the organization’s specific security requirements.

Expensive and hard-to-find security personnel

It can be very expensive to maintain an inhouse security team. Plus, it’s not easy to find skilled security personnel, considering the widening cybersecurity workforce gap which currently stands at 3.4 million more workers worldwide. MDR combines cutting-edge technology with skilled human analysts, allowing organizations to access both seamlessly and cost-effectively.

The need for proactive and early threat response and mitigation

As threats increase in frequency, type, and sophistication, threat detection is not enough to protect business-critical assets. Companies also need proactive and continuous threat intelligence, threat response, and mitigation. With MDR, they can access advanced levels of threat monitoring, detection, and analysis without overwhelming their security teams. More importantly, by leveraging these benefits, they can stay ahead of clever adversaries and their evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures.

The need to strengthen cyberdefenses in the long term

Experienced MDR providers can deal with emerging threats and advanced attacks that traditional MSSPs or inhouse teams may not be prepared for. Many provide MDR service suites that are both comprehensive and cost-effective.

These services can improve detection levels. They can also reduce the time required to identify and contain a breach, which according to IBM was 277 days on average in 2022. In the long term, MDR enables organizations to effectively improve enterprise cybersecurity defenses and minimize risk to a substantial degree.

Compliance

MDR can also help enterprises to meet their compliance challenges. Providers that deliver stakeholder reporting and log retention for all applicable regulations and standards can be a reliable compliance partner and cybersecurity partner.

Alert fatigue among overwhelmed inhouse security teams

Adding more tools to the security stack may be a critical business imperative but it can also add complexity to the enterprise infrastructure. It can also contribute to the alert fatigue experienced by inhouse teams. When the alerts come from multiple tools and with increasing frequency, security personnel experience alert fatigue, which prevents them from properly responding. In some cases, they may ignore real threats, increasing the risk to the organization.

MDR vendors provide manpower and expertise for alert triage and analyses so inhouse teams don’t have to worry about these tasks or struggle with alert fatigue. Moreover, they can focus on other higher-value security tasks to protect the organization.

Strengthen Your Cyberdefenses with ForeNova Managed MDR and NDR Offerings Services

Malicious adversaries are lurking around every corner. All they need is one blind spot in your security infrastructure to compromise systems and steal sensitive data. Keep your assets safe from them with ForeNova’s Managed Detection and Responseservices.

With our MDR offering, you will get leading-edge security technology and world-class security experts working with you and for you. These resources will monitor your networks and provide 24x7 endpoint protection and identity protection. They will also detect and respond to threats and stop breaches in a proactive manner. Enhance your network security and cloud security and secure your assets from an ever-growing threat landscape with ForeNova MDR.

Contact us to know more about ForeNova’s Managed MDR.

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