10 Key Advantages of an MDR Solution

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Security operations solutions are now essential to stopping today’s cyber threats.

As cyber attacks evolve and sophisticate, cybersecurity must also change to prevent major incidents and data breaches. Defending against current threat actors requires a dynamic, adaptable approach that’s as evolved as cybercriminals’ tactics. While there’s a plethora of tools on the market that can help organizations track data, detect threats, and even utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to map events across their environment, a tool is only as effective as the human utilizing it. With security architecture only increasing in complexity, and organizations perennially struggling to keep security expertise in-house — 68% of organizations identify staffing related issues as the number one threat to achieving their objectives — it’s become clear that tools alone won’t keep organizations secure.

That’s where managed detection and response (MDR) changes the game. Gartner predicts that, “by 2025, 60% of organizations will be actively using remote threat disruption and containment capabilities delivered directly by MDR providers, up from 30% today.” That’s a major increase in use, and for good reason. A solution that takes an operational approach, combining the best in technology with the expertise and adaptability of humans allows organizations to not only detect threats, but respond to them swiftly while working to proactively harden their attack surface over time.

Before diving into the details, it’s important to note that MDR and a security operations center (SOC) are not interchangeable. Whereas a SOC consists solely of an internal or third-party team and their processes for protecting an organization, an MDR solution combines a SOC with monitoring and detection technology. An external SOC is part of MDR’s offering, but not the entirety of it.
Now, let’s look at exactly why MDR represents the future of cybersecurity and how organizations can take advantage of these capabilities.

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. Recent data shows that organizations would each need to hire between 5-10 employees to fill their security skills gap. Outsourcing allows organizations to stay secure without having to strain their budget or rely on inexperienced, overworked experts in-house. A strong MDR solution will be human led, providing 24×7 eyes-on-glass and response to serious alerts.

    A major difference between MDR and a managed SIEM or a managed extended detection and response (mXDR) solution is, in MDR, the human element is comprised of trained security engineers who actively monitor and work with your organization’s applications and attack surface. More than managing tools, this team is actively monitoring the environment, detecting threats, and leading the response.

  2. Continuous Security Monitoring

    Visibility is critical to a strong cybersecurity strategy, and visibility means both the ability to see and gain insights into the full environment, while also making sure that eyes are watching the environment 24×7 — especially since threat actors aren’t known to keep office hours.

    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.
    By 2025, 60% of organizations will be using MDR.

  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. While other SOC-focused tools, notably SIEM solutions, have the ability to customize alerts, MDR solutions utilize their security teams to fine-tune and adjust the alerting and security rules as needed, saving the organization time and resources. 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. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Capabilities

    While the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in cybersecurity is not new, the rapid interest and adoption certainly is. According to a recent survey by Arctic Wolf, “98% of respondents plan to allocate some portion of their upcoming cybersecurity budget towards AI,” and “64% of respondents indicated that their organization is highly likely to adopt an AI-centric solution.”

    The fact is, 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 augmenting human expertise with machine learning algorithms. A next-generation MDR provider leverages the agility and adaptability of cybersecurity experts alongside AI and ML 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 and Detection Capabilities

    Cloud-based technology applications are now mainstream and essential for business productivity, with 99% of organization s 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. While other tools may take to the cloud, many, like traditional SIEM solutions, are not configured to accurately secure an organization’s cloud environment. MDR solutions, however, are now becoming not only cloud-capable, but cloud-native, ingesting and analyzing the cloud environment as they would on-premises applications.

  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 reputation 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.

    Learn how Arctic Wolf’s MDR solution assists with specific compliance requirements across industries.

  7. Workflow Integration

    A successful cybersecurity plan requires smooth, non-disruptive interaction with the rest of a system process . 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.

  8. 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. This collection can not only assist with compliance needs, but the accurate collection and correlation can make a major impact when investigating a potential threat or when a digital forensics expert is investigating an environment during an incident.

  9. Scalable Data Architecture

    No organization is static, so security and operational needs are always evolving based on external and internal factors. Because of outside management, predictable pricing, and flexible capabilities, MDR solutions can evolve alongside your organization.

    A strong MDR solution 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.

  10. Addresses Both Modern Threats and Responds to Modern Infrastructure

    The key reason MDR is gaining momentum in the cybersecurity market is because it’s purposefully designed for this modern age where hybrid work models meet rapidly digitizing organizations. Threats evolve, work models evolve, and MDR is there every step of the way.

    According to Gartner, “Modern infrastructure includes the use of SaaS, IaaS, third-party subscriptions, open-source tools and a wide variety of internally developed applications. The traditional model of on-premises devices, boundary firewalls and business-specific endpoint devices is beginning to fade. MDR buyers must demand compatibility for the areas of their infrastructure that are most critical to their mission.”
    This also includes the monitoring of identities within the environment, as the modern organization is defined more by users and their behavior than it is by endpoints and firewalls. It’s important to look for an MDR provider that is not only vendor neutral but can provide truly broad visibility across the most vital elements of an environment.

Explore MDR in-depth with the MDR Buyer’s Guide.

See how utilizing a security operations solution like Arctic Wolf can save your organization budget and resources while improving your cybersecurity.


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Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf provides your team with 24x7 coverage, security operations expertise, and strategically tailored security recommendations to continuously improve your overall posture.
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