Why Do You Need Managed Detection & Response?

You may have heard of the term MDR, short for Managed Detection and Response, and wondered if your business needs it. MDR providers deliver threat monitoring, detection, and response services on a 24/7/365 basis across your endpoints, hosts, and networks.

Providers achieve this with a mixture of technology, threat intelligence, and advanced analytics, plus human brainpower for incident response and investigation. MDR providers usually offer remote incident response and technical support for incident remediation should your organization experience a major cyberattack.

MDR is not just about technology, though. A good MDR service will depend heavily on the human element behind the technology, people with the experience to spot anomalies and see the big picture when it comes to disparate and uncorrelated events. MDR requires seasoned and skillful analysts with specific threat-hunting and incident response domain expertise, as well as tenured resources to regularly update detection rules with the latest threat intelligence and regularly fine-tune these rules to your environment. 

These talented people are the ones who will come to your aid when the worst-case scenario occurs and a cyber attacker penetrates your defenses. 

Who Needs MDR?

In general, if your business does not operate its own cybersecurity operations center (SOC), you  need to leverage a managed detection and response service. But not every organization needs MDR for the same reasons, so the question of who needs MDR is not as straightforward as you would expect. 

Most organizations need MDR for several reasons, but the common reasons why you would need the capability are:

  • You suffered a breach but lacked the staff, visibility and intel to detect, prevent or contain the attack in any meaningful way.
  • You do not have a dedicated cybersecurity team and identified you need to outsource all or some of your cybersecurity operations - including monitoring, threat detection, and incident response - to a trusted third party.
  • You have a small cybersecurity team, but want that team to handle the day-to-day cybersecurity operations workload and systems management/security, keeping them available for other duties without overloading them.
  • You have a cybersecurity operations team and you probably could (or already do) handle 24/7/365 security monitoring yourself, but want to outsource threat-hunting and detection to a third-party specialist. This is usually because of the cybersecurity skills gap. Hiring and retaining qualified cybersecurity analysts is a huge challenge for even the largest organizations.
  • You need access to advanced threat analytics and the human expertise required to quickly detect advanced threats that manage to slip through your cyber defenses.

Why Not Build Your Own SOC?

The decision to outsource your MDR does not just come down to cost and convenience It also comes down to people, processes, and technology. An MDR provider gives you access to their deeply experienced SOC personnel. If you were to try and grow this capability in-house, you will find it difficult to hire experienced analysts. There are not enough candidates to fill available positions and only the most well-resourced operations can attract analysts with the right experience.  

Some organizations build and mature their own security operations center over the long term. They are prepared to make the initial and continuous investment that maintaining the capability requires, but for others, it is hugely challenging to build this capability internally. The reasons for this are usually the same: money, resources, not enough staff , and time. These are all good reasons for outsourcing your MDR to a team of professionals. 

If your current team is understaffed and you need help with the 24/7/365 monitoring, outsourcing is a great timesaver to meeting compliance requirements that stipulate you need to provide this level of coverage. Regulatory bodies do not require you to provide the coverage as long the coverage is in place.

Another compelling reason to outsource your MDR is the expense. Hiring the right people, investing in training, developing and maturing cybersecurity processes, and acquiring the technology can be prohibitively expensive for even the largest enterprises.  You may not need a fully-staffed SOC and just need critical capabilities that an MDR service can provide. It could be that you just need your MDR provider to threat-hunt and monitor your networks and infrastructure, alerting you and responding when a security event occurs.

The Advantages Of Outsourcing Your MDR

MDR Providers Have Resources 

MDR providers run dedicated MDR teams that operate sub-teams specializing in specific domains like threat-hunting, threat detection, and incident response. They often operate an MDR tooling unit within those teams, focused entirely on the technology side of managed detection and response. 

Because MDR providers deliver their services to multiple customers, they can lower the cost of delivering these services and commit more resources to MDR than most organizations can, making them MDR ‘super providers’ that outgun smaller teams. The primary resource that MDR providers have are people and processes that have matured over time.

MDR Providers Have Threat Intelligence 

MDR providers typically support a wide range of customers spread across different industries, and they gather threat intelligence from all of them. They also subscribe to a number of different threat intelligence feeds to give them the most up-to-date threat intelligence. 

They don’t just have more threat intelligence data than most, they also have the capability to analyze that data. Their research and development units are essential for unlocking the full potential of that data.

MDR Providers Are Always Open 

Mature MDR providers operate fully-staffed cybersecurity operations centers that are open 24/7/365. There is never a time when their CSOCs are not staffed with experienced cybersecurity analysts. Because operating twenty-four hours a day is the default state for an MDR provider, and because they are dealing with multiple customers at once, they can spread the cost of those perpetual operations between their customers to provide a true ‘open all hours’ service.  Be wary of MDR providers who leverage automation outside of office hours, or who use shift workers who are not experienced cybersecurity analysts. It makes for an inconsistent delivery of services.

MDR Providers Have Deep Analytics and Human Expertise

Managed detection and response providers lean heavily on human expertise and the experience of seasoned information security professionals to interpret data and triage severe security events, but they also rely on advanced and deep analytics to help them lighten that load. Leveraging an MDR provider gives you access to not just their human expertise, but also their mature and refined deep analytical tools which can help detect threats. 

Getting Started With MDR

One of the first things that MDR buyers ask is, “What can we do to make sure our MDR outsourcing is a success?” The important thing to know here is that without deep collaboration between customer and provider, you end up with an MDR service that is not customized to your organization's unique needs. Therefore, they are not as effective at easing your pain points as much as you would have liked. 

There are many different ways to provide a managed detection and response service, meaning that the outcomes can be different depending on the provider and their capabilities. Some of them just do not deliver enough value; these are the providers who send out alerts rather than properly responding to threats. That means you will still have to do a lot of work unless the provider is willing to go further and remediate issues with incident response. 

It is common for MDR customers to be disappointed with their MDR services because of this. An email alert telling you where a threat was investigated and asking you to respond yourself is an example of an MDR provider at their worst. Make sure your MDR provider is able to properly respond to incidents and comprehensively remediate them. 

Always remember that you can never outsource the knowledge of your own business and industry, which is really what a good MDR provider needs to deliver an effective service. Work closely with them and communicate constantly.

Next, you need to find the best place to begin. Many organizations think this is a traditional combination of a SOC and a SIEM. While this used to be the case, it really isn't anymore. To achieve full visibility into cybersecurity operations and properly detect threats, a SIEM alone is not enough.  Securing and monitoring your networks and your endpoints is vitally important. Good MDR solutions are increasingly cloud-native and contain within them good EDR (endpoint detection and response) and NDR (network detection and response capabilities) to deal with modern-day hybrid (cloud, onsite, and offsite) IT infrastructures. 

Good MDR providers have matured their services to the point where their EDR and NDR capabilities form a strong foundation for their overall MDR service. They make sure that they are cloud-native and able to accommodate any number of cloud-based IaaS, PaaS, productivity, and communication services. They explicitly model their services to match your unique environment and provide visibility across the entire service delivery and kill chain. They continuously look at ways they can improve upon this, too.

It is only by seeing the MDR provider’s work that you can verify they are doing their job. 

Contact Digital Hands

Digital Hands provides a fully-managed detection and response service. We go above and beyond to provide dedicated analysts and white-glove service. We integrate your environment with our own internal SOAR and SIEM tools, providing us with visibility and a huge amount of threat intelligence that we use to protect your business and users.

If you have questions or need a competent partner to help you manage your detection and response efforts, get in touch via (855) 511-5114 or info@digitalhands.com.

About Digital Hands:   Digital Hands is a trusted global cybersecurity leader continuously taking action to protect our customers’ most valuable assets against relentless threats. Digital Hands is proud to offer extensive security expertise and advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities. Our robust set of innovative cybersecurity services and solutions ensures your organization, customers, and employees are defended against cybersecurity attacks and data breaches round the clock. Digital Hands enables our customers to harden their security posture, outmatch bad actors, and benefit from our complimentary white-glove service and excellence in delivery. Our industry-leading customer retention rate and Net Promoter Score of 94 reflects how we go above and beyond every day for our customers, providing a ‘white-glove’ managed security service.