MDR vs. MSSP vs. Managed EDR: Which Solution Is Right for You?

August 22, 2019 Arctic Wolf Networks

Defending against cybersecurity threats in the age of digital transformation takes a toll on IT and security teams. The attack surface continues to grow exponentially, and new threats emerge every day. But many organizations can’t keep up with the critical need for advanced security.

Limited resources are just one barrier. What’s worse: even organizations that have the budget for in-house staff can’t fill vacancies for months due to the security talent shortage.

Managed Services Fill the Gap

The struggle to improve security postures with limited talent and resources has created robust growth in the managed security market. According to market-research agency Markets and Markets, the managed security segment is growing at a faster rate than the security industry overall (a compound annual growth rate of 14.7% vs. 10%, respectively, between 2018 and 2023).

A managed security vendor helps solve the problems arising from the talent shortage and can scale as needed in a cost-effective manner. This outside expertise enables you to improve both your security posture and compliance.

Understand the Differences Between Provider Types

Not all vendors offer the same managed services. Before you choose a solution, be sure to carefully evaluate its capabilities and whether they cover your needs.

Generally speaking, managed cybersecurity solutions fall into three main categories:

  • Managed security service providers (MSSPs)
  • Managed endpoint detection and response (EDR)
  • Managed detection and response (MDR)

1. Managed Security Service Providers

Although they provide 24/7 security management, monitoring, and maintenance, MSSPs have a limited scope of service. They typically monitor network traffic, remotely manage appliances such as firewalls, and send alerts to the in-house IT team.

Legacy MSSPs only monitor for known threats and don’t provide detection and response. They’re best suited for organizations that don’t have sensitive data and would like to outsource their basic security functions.

2. Managed Endpoint Detection and Response

Many EDR vendors are evolving to provide managed services. Unlike MSSPs, these vendors have more advanced capabilities and threat intelligence to defend against known and unknown threats.

But EDR solutions don’t give you visibility into your network and the cloud, leaving gaps in your defenses. This service is best for organizations that already have robust cloud and network security but need enhanced endpoint protection.

3. Managed Detection and Response

A managed detection and response service goes beyond endpoints and helps secure your firewall, servers, and cloud workloads. MDR does correlations across all of those dimensions rather than only giving you visibility into devices and servers.

MDR is a holistic solution that combines advanced technology and comprehensive tools with a dedicated team of highly skilled professionals who provide 24/7 monitoring, analysis, and response. And an additional advantage of MDR is compliance reporting tailored to your industry requirements (such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and FFIEC).

MDR is best for organizations looking for a comprehensive, advanced solution and a cost-effective force multiplier for their in-house teams.

Evaluating MDR Vendors

Many MDR vendors have similar capabilities for real-time threat detection, threat intelligence integration, threat hunting, and incident response. However, not all provide 24/7 real-time monitoring and a concierge team dedicated specifically to your organization.

Don’t choose a vendor based solely on technical capabilities. Consider other important aspects such as custom compliance reporting, predictable pricing, and consistent client relationships.

Learn more about key evaluation criteria by downloading our free MDR Buyer’s Guide.


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