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Emerging from the traditional managed security service provider (MSSP) model, Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is an answer to the fact that threat actors have increased their ability to circumvent traditional detection measures. As early as 2011, MDR emerged (uncategorized at the time) with a single guiding principal: Acknowledge that a breach will happen. When it does, minimize threat actor dwell time to reduce risk.
In 2016, Gartner formally recognized the emergence of MDR and its departure from the traditional MSSP model, citing 14 organizations as being representative vendors. Just three years later, the 2019 edition states: “Gartner estimates that there are now over 100 providers claiming to offer MDR services.”
Recognizing market demand, traditional security service providers have promoted existing services to align themselves to MDR. Unfortunately, marketing messages do not translate to actual service delivery, leaving potential customers at risk with legacy models. And, while many analyst firms have released reports or guides that include broad category definitions and guidance on MDR, none currently stipulate objective measurable attributes.
However, as the MDR market has evolved, four criteria remain constant as key to minimizing threat actor dwell time in the event of a breach: visibility, fidelity, detection capabilities and response. When these criteria are measured against in-house resources, risk tolerance and available budget, they can be used to choose the appropriate MDR vendor based on your organizational requirements.
To be clear, not all criteria must be met to be categorized as an MDR vendor. Thus, no singular definition will comprehensively cover the MDR marketplace as a whole. The definition of MDR is contextual to each organization’s unique requirements. Consequently, a number of clear categories have emerged representing the intersections of different levels of risk mitigation and cost:
While this blog provides a snapshot of the MDR market, the intricacies and interdependencies are complex. To help organizations make an informed cybersecurity solutions choice, eSentire has authored, The Definitive Guide to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) to define:
As eSentire's Director of Product Marketing, Wes oversees market intelligence, competitive research and go-to-market strategies. His mult-faceted, technology experience spans over a decade with market leaders such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell SecureWorks.