Expanded Definition: Managed Detection and Response

What is Managed Detection and Response?

When cybersecurity threats arise, they need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Using a combination of a security operations center (SOC) team and cybersecurity technology, managed detection and response (MDR) services constantly monitor an organization’s infrastructure, look for threats, and eliminate or mitigate them in real-time when they occur. MDR is considered to be an advanced form of 24/7 cybersecurity, leveraging analytics, threat intelligence, automation, and human skill to provide maximum efficiency.

MDR adoption has been steadily increasing as organizations of all sizes and across all industries recognize the need to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. According to the Gartner 2020 Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services, 50% of all organizations will be using MDR services for threat monitoring, detection, and response by the year 2025. For many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the need for outside security expertise has become urgent: Over half of SMBs say that they lack the in-house skills and resources necessary to properly deal with security issues.

When compared to handling 100% of an organization’s cybersecurity efforts internally, MDR provides both partners and clients with a number of advantages. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Extended threat detection coverage and improved threat response capabilities
  • Reduced complexity (and cost) of setting up an internal SOC
  • Access to seasoned security experts who can give guidance in difficult situations
  • Comprehensive threat hunting to uncover attacks in their earliest stages

One of the key ways that MDR differs from other cybersecurity solutions and services is that it not only monitors and identifies threats, it takes action to stop them right away and mitigate the damage or potential spread of an attack. MDR providers will also confirm that a potential threat is real before advising anyone to act. This prevents alert fatigue so that when the alarm sounds with MDR, organizations know it’s something to be taken seriously.

The MSP role in managed detection and response

As a trusted IT partner, MSPs always keep cybersecurity top-of-mind with clients, whether that means pointing out weaknesses, facilitating security services, or making recommendations about how they can shore up their cyber defenses.

Endpoint management

While endpoint security is just one element of MDR, endpoint management is a highly valuable service that MSPs can provide for clients to help enhance their cybersecurity posture. Endpoint management should include:

  • Controls to prevent unknown software applications from installing
  • Health reports on the performance of each device
  • Ongoing scans for all files to catch any compromised items

MSPs can also leverage a robust endpoint management solution that combines threat detection and remediation technology along with a fully-staffed SOC to provide 24/7 protection for clients’ devices and servers. This allows MSPs to offer proactive cybersecurity services that can increase recurring revenue without requiring a huge time commitment by their employees.

Patch management

Threat actors are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities to exploit in outdated software, especially with widely-used applications designed by Microsoft, Adobe, Java, and more. MSPs can do their part by closing off these common attack vectors and removing low-hanging fruit from hackers’ reach. This allows advanced cybersecurity solutions like MDR to focus on more complex, insidious threats.

Using a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool, MSPs can even automate their patch management tasks, saving technicians countless hours and ensuring that software updates are deployed as soon as they’re available.

Co-managed detection and response

To detect and respond to threats that get past other cybersecurity measures, MSPs might consider a new breed of MDR: co-managed detection and response (co-MDR). Co-MDR uses a 24/7 SOC in combination with state-of-the-art technology that automates and curates the best threat intelligence on the market today. With co-MDR, MSPs can manage alerts for as many businesses as they want — including their own. MSPs that use this type of service can share reported threats with others in the co-MDR community, and vice versa, taking a “better together” approach to cybersecurity and keeping track of emerging types of threats.

Did you know?

94% of organizations not already using MDR are currently evaluating or have plans to evaluate MDR over the next 18 months.

2020 IBM and EMA Report

Additional resources

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