The Strategic Edge of MDR for Resource-Limited Organizations

Paul Lupo

June 27, 2024

The Strategic Edge of MDR for Resource-Limited Organizations

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) has quietly become a critical table stake for today’s organizations, providing many companies with visibility into and control over an expanding cybersecurity stack. However, monitoring your expanding threat surfaces with a growing portfolio of tools can be labor intensive for smaller businesses—especially when you consider the need to operate and protect important assets around the clock.

This is where getting some help from a managed service provider that specializes in detection and response should be considered. Managed Detection and Response (MDR) can augment your team’s existing expertise by acting as the eyes and ears of your security apparatus, allowing your team to focus on more strategic tasks such as application development and patching vulnerable applications. 

Why XDR? 

It’s clear that setting up a firewall and antivirus protection and calling it a day are not good enough anymore. Today’s increasingly sophisticated threats use a variety of techniques to get around these traditional security solutions. Once a foothold has been established, the attacker can then spread around the network virtually unseen and unfettered—eventually making their way to a valuable target where they can deliver their payload to shut down or take over an asset.

The answer lies in an XDR solution. XDR provides the best protection against these evasive and adaptive threats by integrating data from multiple security layers—such as endpoints, servers, cloud applications, emails and networks—and orchestrating a coordinated, effective response to detected events. These responses can be automated or triggered by an incident, recommended by AI to a human in the loop or presented as a playbook that analysts can follow and check off when an event occurs. Using a blend of all three methods from a single, consolidated XDR console enables a fast detection and triage strategy that mitigates business risk.

However, even the most advanced XDR solutions need expert management and continuous monitoring to ensure they operate at peak effectiveness. This is where MDR comes in.

Three Ways MDR Can Augment an Effective XDR Strategy 

The keys to an effective XDR strategy is how fast an organization can detect an event, mitigate it’s impact and employ a long-term fix to close the vulnerability. This requires constant monitoring across an increasingly complex portfolio of security tools. And, while many XDR solutions can automate much of this tedium, you can’t just turn it on and expect it to keep you protected 24x7. Someone has to be ready at all times to take appropriate action and provide the high-level critical thinking that only humans can provide.

Teams can’t be expected to work 60 to 80 hours a week or have the exact expertise to deal with today’s constantly evolving threats. This leads to expensive burnout.

In these situations, it may make sense to work with an MDR service provider that can provide 24x7 coverage and augment your team’s expertise when something new comes along. MDR provides access to the latest cybersecurity knowledge and threat intelligence, helps bridge the expertise gap and makes your team more efficient and effective in a world where everyone is being asked to do more with less. 

1. Ensure Operational Efficiency

Let’s face it. Building an in-house team that meets the evolving security needs of the business can be expensive and likely out of the reach for smaller organizations. This requires hiring or training the right expertise, and teams need to be large enough to provide 24x7 coverage. Turnover is extremely high, meaning that you are likely to lose a percentage of your investment every year that then must be replaced. On the other hand, MDR is essentially plug and play. Most service providers can get set up within days, providing immediate coverage of your most critical digital assets or your entire environment—using the most advanced solutions and tools with minimal investment on your part. The budget that would have otherwise been spent on building an internal team can be reallocated to other cybersecurity projects or reinvested back into the business.

2. Bridge the Resource Gap

MDR service providers are constantly hiring, retraining and upskilling to keep up with the latest technologies, trends and threat intelligence. It’s essentially built into the budget and their business model. Having fingertip access to seasoned experts makes it less likely you’ll be caught off guard by a new or evolving threat. If something new or unexpected happens, you can have the peace of mind that your MDR provider will know how to take care of it. And, in many cases, is probably aware before you are and has already taken the appropriate countermeasures. MDR ensures you always have access to a team of experts for advanced threat detection and response.

3. Enable Business Agility

No matter how fast you grow or contract with the seasons, MDR providers can scale to meet any demand. Merging with another company? Expanding into a new market? Moving to a cloud model? MDR service providers make it much more likely that you can add services or specific protections as business decisions are made in real time without having to overhaul your internal security team or disrupting existing operations. For them, it’s a matter of flipping a switch.

Protect the Organization Effectively and Efficiently at Scale 

XDR is a critical component of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy, but you don’t have to do it alone. MDR helps augment your internal team by acting as the eyes and ears of your security apparatus 24 x 7 x 365. Partnering with an MDR provider helps ensure operational efficiency, bridge the resource gap and enable business agility. Most importantly, MDR service providers make it possible to protect your organizations from today’s increasingly sophisticated threats without having to constantly invest in building out a large cybersecurity team.

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