What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)? Benefits & Capabilities
Last updated on January 5, 2024
The term Managed Detection and Response (MDR) refers to an outsourced cybersecurity service that employs advanced technologies and human expertise. It can carry out threat hunting, monitoring, and response at the host, endpoint, and network levels.
The vendor usually offers cutting-edge, 24/7 security control that consists of a variety of core security tasks. MDR security platforms can provide cloud-managed security for businesses that are unable to run their own Security Operations Centers (SOC).
The goal of MDR is to prevent an organization from ever experiencing the same cyberattack twice, going beyond simply attempting to stop an active attack.
Managed Detection and Response Capabilities
MDR is a collaboration between the customer and the experienced staff of the service provider, adding the necessary personnel to boost the customer’s security team’s capacity to identify, evaluate, research, and respond to threats.
Customers can use the SOC team of the MDR provider to construct a comprehensive detection and response process and allow 24×7 security operations monitoring.
Some of the main requirements of an MDR service are threat hunting, prioritization, investigation, remediation, and reporting.
Threat hunting is a proactive approach regarding threats, contracting with other reactive methods that are used post-factum (after an attack). Providers of MDR will proactively scan a company’s network and systems for signs of an active attack and, if one is found, take action to stop it.
MDR adds human intelligence to the equation to identify even the most elusive threats that the various levels of automated defenses may overlook.
Managed prioritization separates benign occurrences and false positives from real dangers using automated rules and human review. The outcomes are then refined into a stream of high-quality alerts after being further contextualized.
MDR services assist firms in comprehending risks more quickly by adding more context. The investigation and comprehension of what happened, when it happened, who was impacted, and how serious the incident was is made easier as a result. This knowledge makes it possible to design an efficient response.
MDR services must also remediate their customer’s systems by restoring them to a pre-attack state and removing persisting mechanisms, if any, to prevent further compromise.
The actions that must be performed for this part include malware removal, registry cleaning, and intruder ejection.
Accurate reporting is mandatory for having an overview of a company’s cybersecurity state. Any effective MDR solution must provide verifiable, easily accessible, and practical results and reporting.
Benefits of MDR
The benefits that Managed Detection and Response services provide to organizations that opt for them are various and significant:
continuous visibility over all organizational assets (24/7);
full-service managed endpoint threat detection and response;
technology augmentation with human intelligence to improve reliability and value;
advanced threat intelligence based on indicators and patterns collected from global insights;
personalized responses that take into account the context and motive of an attack for each business;
reduced possibility or impact of successful cyberattacks;
constantly updated information on emerging threats and vulnerabilities;
superior reporting and compliance;
lower security expense, higher ROI.
What Challenges Does MDR Solve?
The cost-effective range of services offered by Managed Detection and Response vendors strengthens an organization’s security posture and reduces risk in the context of a constantly evolving cyber threat landscape and rising security events.
The main challenges that an MDR solution can solve are linked to costs, understaffing, lack of security skills, and alert fatigue.
Organizations struggle to find the budget to keep Security Operations Centers staffed with highly qualified individuals and the newest resources as the volume, variety, and sophistication of cybersecurity attacks rise significantly. Managed Detection and Response suppliers offer an affordable menu of services and skilled experts to increase an enterprise’s cybersecurity defenses and reduce risk without a significant upfront investment in cybersecurity.
Understaffing / Lack of Security Skills
While larger companies that can afford it may be able to train and put up specialized security teams to conduct full-time threat hunting, most businesses often find it challenging, considering their financial constraints. This is particularly true for medium-sized and small businesses, which are frequently the targets of cyberattacks, yet lack the funding or personnel to field these teams.
Managed Detection and Response solutions can help by providing higher skill-level analysts using cutting-edge security techniques and current worldwide databases, which are outside the financial reach and cost-effectiveness of the majority of company budgets, skill levels, and resources. Hence assisting in keeping up with combative strategies and techniques that are constantly changing.
As endpoints add up due to IoT devices, remote workers, supply chain partners, and hybrid networks, managing enormous amounts of alerts generated by security solutions is another major difficulty.
Most businesses lack an internal team that can choose the best course of action for each alert. Additionally, when threats are serious, they don’t have the necessary expertise to promptly address them before having to deal with a significant breach.
Managed Detection and Response take this burden off the shoulders of the in-house IT team by automatically analyzing these alerts. What is more, experts can also correlate these threats because doing so can show whether a series of seemingly unrelated signs add up to a greater attack.
Using MDR services can help with compliance regulations too. Since many industries – such as finance, and healthcare – have strong cybersecurity laws and regulations for safeguarding sensitive data, a lot of reporting and visibility is required. MDR offers complete stakeholder reporting and log keeping on a variety of laws and standards, this way compliance difficulties can be overcome.
MDR vs. MSSP
With no surprise, Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) services and Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services are frequently contrasted. They share some commonalities like 24/7 monitoring of the attack surface and availability of response; they both manage firewalls and security infrastructure, in general. But they also have differences in technology, experience, and engagement.
MDR can take managed service to another level by doing threat hunting for unknown threats on network and endpoints, using AI-based threat detection, triage, and extensive forensics, offering access to a team of experts, as well as access to global threat intelligence and analysis and by using integrated endpoint and network security tools.
By utilizing a structured mix of network and endpoint monitoring, behavioral analysis, Machine Learning tools, and threat intelligence, Heimdal’s XDR/SOC acts as a central hub for security intelligence, gathering and dynamically comparing input from multiple sources (endpoints, networks, cloud workloads) to detect threats faster and ramp up response times.
Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a cybersecurity service that can help companies resolve some of the main challenges of today’s businesses: understaffing, lack of security skills and alert fatigue, offering threat hunting, prioritization, investigation, remediation, and accurate reporting.
Andreea is a digital content creator within Heimdal® with a great belief in the educational power of content. A literature-born cybersecurity enthusiast (through all those SF novels…), she loves to bring her ONG, cultural, and media background to this job.