Security operations solutions are now essential to stopping today’s cyberthreats.
As cyberthreats evolve and grow more sophisticated, cybersecurity must also evolve to prevent major breaches and attacks. Defending against current threats requires a dynamic, adaptable approach that’s as evolved as cyber criminals’ tactics.
Where endpoint detection and response (EDR) was the leading solution and is still a critical part of many organizations’ cybersecurity architecture, it’s getting complimented more and more regularly by managed detection and response (MDR) capabilities.
In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 50% of organizations will be using MDR services for threat monitoring, detection, and response functions that offer threat containment and mitigation capabilities.
So, why are organizations moving toward MDR solutions, and what makes them so valuable in the modern cybersecurity landscape?
What to Look for in an MDR Solution
1. A Dedicated Security Team
Every business has its own unique processes, goals, and security concerns. By investing in an outsourced security team, an organization can ensure that their cybersecurity is managed by trained experts who understand the specific network environment and organizational business risks — and who can adapt goals as those needs change over time.
In addition, it’s not news that the security skills gap continues to plague organizations’ security and IT departments. 41% of organizations have listed the skills shortage as their top security concern, and recent data shows that organizations would need to hire 5-10 employees to fill that gap. Outsourcing allows organizations to stay secure without having to strain their budget or rely on inexperienced, overworked experts in-house.
2. Continuous Security Monitoring
Keeping an eye on a network during the business day is never enough — bad actors don’t keep regular office hours. Cybersecurity is a round-the-clock concern, so the approach to it needs to be as well. A 24×7 security solution including continuous monitoring for threats is essential for detecting and responding to malicious activity on the network.
Through continuous monitoring, an MDR security team can quickly recognize abnormal activity, reliably identify threats, and take immediate measures to keep threats out of a system, even at hours when the rest of an organization’s IT team is getting a good night’s sleep.
3. Personalized, Customizable Security Rules
The top MDR solution providers use a customizable rules engine to define security policies for each customer. This engine allows the provider’s security engineers to apply exact security and operational policies, and then update them to align with changing business needs, new and evolving threats, and any applicable rules and regulations.
Using a set of customized security rules, an MDR team can selectively filter out noisy events that represent no real security risk, allowing them to stay focused on detecting both known and unknown threats. Alert fatigue is costly, and by utilizing new methods like machine learning, MDR solutions are eliminating false positives and setting organizations up for security success.
4. Machine Learning Capabilities
It’s impossible for humans alone to analyze the massive amounts of log data coming from even the most modest IT environments organizations have. The only way to efficiently and effectively analyze high volumes of log data is by using machine-learning algorithms.
Machine learning is a useful tool for identifying known threats, but categorizing new threat data often requires human expertise. A next-generation MDR provider leverages the agility and adaptability of cybersecurity experts to filter out false positives and fine-tune algorithms as new threats are detected, making sure that your security system is an accurate reflection of your business’s policies and risk assessments. The pairing of technology and human expertise puts MDR solutions a step above traditional monitoring tools
5. Cloud Threat Monitoring
Cloud-based technology applications are now mainstream and essential for business productivity, with 99% of organizations now utilizing at least one form of the public or private cloud. So, modern IT environments need MDR solution with integrated cloud monitoring, to ensure there are no security blind spots.
Cloud security has become a top concern for organization leaders, with 48% of leaders citing a cloud-based data breach as their top concern. A strong cloud monitoring system will monitor internet-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), and security-as-a-service (SECaaS) solutions. Using APIs, virtual sensors can provide near-real-time monitoring of cloud resources and user behavior to ensure they comply with an organization’s security policies and are free from threats.
6. Compliance Reporting
Good regulatory compliance typically results from good security practices. With online data privacy concerns at an all-time high, keeping customers’ and employees’ personally identifiable information protected is crucial for organizations across industries.
Data thefts and security breaches can lead to heavy fines, class-action lawsuits, and reputational damage for organizations that don’t stay compliant. An MDR provider should offer experience and guidance that enhances automated systems, allowing organizations to meet various regulatory obligations and demonstrate compliance.
7. Vulnerability Scanning
While phishing attempts may make headlines, it’s vulnerability exploits that cause most data breaches — 81% of breaches in Q1 of 2022 were caused by external exploits alone — so scanning for, and patching vulnerabilities becomes critical to cybersecurity success.
Trained MDR experts can apply a deep understanding of an organization’s critical assets to develop an accurate, prioritized list of current vulnerabilities. That then allows the MDR team to provide risk-based advice and recommendations to mitigate risk and limit exposure to both known and unknown threats.
8. Workflow Integration
A successful cybersecurity plan requires smooth, non-disruptive interaction with the rest of a system processes. MDR providers should offer onsite workflow integration tools that optimize operational efficiencies and establish a seamless process for trouble ticketing.
Reliable workflow integration ensures that alerts are prioritized, properly escalated, and put in front of the right people, so that issues can be remediated by an internal IT staff before they become a larger problem.
9. Log Data Collection/Correlation
Comprehensive, user-friendly log management is important for organizations to understand their security environment and make better security decisions. MDR solutions provide this capability, including the automatic collection, aggregation, and retention of log data.
10. Scalable Data Architecture
As an organization’s dynamics change, it’s important that an MDR provider can scale along with those growing needs without missing a beat. A strong one should have security-optimized data architecture that can unify the ingestion, parsing, and analysis of log data, and which can also dynamically scale, compute, and store resources on demand.
A scalable cybersecurity architecture forms a strong foundation on which to build the analytics that give security analysts deep visibility into advanced threats. Scalable data architecture also provides on-demand access to relevant data for incident investigation and is immediately operational with no setup time.
Moving to an MDR solution is more complicated than just understanding the pros and cons.