Blog Post January 18, 2024

Finding the Best MDR Provider to Fit Your Needs

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

The managed services sector has had a significant influence and has been a prominent trend in the mid-market cybersecurity industry for the past few years. The MDR market is projected to increase from $1.56 billion in 2023 to $6.29 billion by 2030. Managed services, such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR), Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP), and similar solutions, have emerged in response to the demand. The accelerated growth of the MDR market mainly comes from increasing cybersecurity threats, the adoption of cloud computing, the shortage of cybersecurity talent, and the increase of the Internet of Things (IoT).  

Last year, the global cost of a data breach was USD 4.45 million, which was a 15% increase over 3 years, according to IBM’s latest report. Due to this increase, organizations are investing in MDR services to help reduce their risk of attacks and irreputable damage. As a result, organizations seek a cybersecurity partner to provide all-inclusive cybersecurity services.  

With all the solutions out there, it can be challenging to decide on the right solution for your organization. In this blog, we go back to the basics and break down the different flavors of MDR solutions and what to look for in a provider.  

What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)? 

It is important to understand MDR and the key aspects that differentiate MDR from traditional security services and its proactive approach to detecting, analyzing, and responding to potential cybersecurity threats. It differs from traditional security services and goes beyond solely relying on automated tools and includes human expertise to continuously monitor and investigate potential security incidents.  

Unlike traditional monitoring services, MDR does not only rely on alerts for incident response. It involves a team of skilled cybersecurity professionals who actively investigate and triage potential threats, providing an extra layer of expertise and context. These professionals work closely with organizations, leveraging their knowledge to understand the unique threat landscape and tailor response strategies accordingly.  

What sets MDR apart is the detection and response of threats. MDR provides a proactive approach that enables organizations to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals, significantly reducing the risk of successful breaches. 

Breaking Down the Flavors of MDR 

When it comes to MDR providers, it’s important to recognize that not all MDRs are the same. While they all aim to provide businesses with the necessary tools and services to detect and respond to security threats, the capabilities and offerings can vary significantly.  

From the sources they pull security data from to the level of response services they provide, MDR providers differ in their approaches and focus areas. Understanding these differences is crucial for organizations looking to choose the right MDR provider that aligns with their specific needs and requirements. 

There are two broad classes of MDR providers: Pure-play MDR and managed endpoint or SIEM. 

#1 Pure-Play MDR 

This category of MDR service providers relies on a proprietary mix of third-party security tools and solutions, such as endpoint, SIEM, cloud access, or others, to collect logs and alerts. These providers use a customized technology stack, which their 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) monitors. Most pure-play MDR providers cannot decouple their technology stack from their SOC service offerings. While effective at detecting and responding to threats, this closed-loop approach often limits their ability to offer co-management, work effectively with partners and customer providers, and leaves customers reliant on their SOC to provide reports.  

#2 Managed Endpoint (EDR) or SIEM  

Given the expertise and dedicated resources required to properly manage endpoint and SIEM solutions, many customers outsource management to an MDR or managed IT service provider. Over the last few years, leading providers now offer a managed service based on their core technology offering. This managed service provides updating and operations, detection investigation, and specific response services based on the capabilities of their core technology offering. 

What to Look for in an MDR Provider 

The capabilities and functions of MDR providers can seem overwhelming, so how do you choose one that makes sense for your organization and cybersecurity strategy? First, to ensure the protection of your organization, it is crucial to verify the efficiency of an MDR solution before investing in it. This means making sure that the capabilities fit your needs and understanding that not all solutions are created equally. Here is a list of considerations when evaluating: 

  • Coverage: What methods are used to provide the greatest visibility beyond the endpoint?  
  • Detection: What methods are used to identify threats? Are they applying machine learning or artificial intelligence to detect advanced threats?  
  • Investigation: Will they alert you when things seem malicious? Or do they investigate and confirm for you? Investigations are dependent on the available telemetry, and it is essential to clarify if the provider will investigate alerts or simply notify you. 
  • Response: What does the host containment look like? Do they isolate systems, preventing the spread? Or block network traffic? 
  • Remediation: What type of guidance and/or recommendations will you receive and in what method?  

There are several other factors to consider when choosing an MDR. For example, understanding the service level agreements and communication methods for incident response is crucial. For instance, can you access the same portal as the provider to stay updated on the incident? Can you directly interact with the security analyst to discuss the incident? Also, it is important to evaluate the provider’s reporting capabilities and determine if it is easy to extract the required information when needed. 

Finding the Right Solution  

Cybersecurity professionals have one of the toughest jobs protecting organizations from threats that are changing daily. To help, EDR vs. XDR vs. MDR: The Cybersecurity ABCs Explained breaks down the three primary threat detection and response solutions while giving you visuals to help find the right solution that fits your organization’s criteria.  

Stay Informed

Subscribe to Adlumin’s blog series and gain access to actionable advice and step-by-step guides from cybersecurity experts.