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MDR Vendors: Separating the Players from Pretenders

BY Wes Hutcherson

October 28, 2019 | 3 MINS READ

Managed Detection and Response

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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 principle: 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 MDR 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 managed security service providers have promoted existing services in an attempt to rebrand themselves as MDR providers. Unfortunately, marketing messages do not translate to actual service capabilities, 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.


As the MDR market has evolved, there are five main criteria that are integral to minimizing threat actor dwell time in the event of a security breach: visibility, fidelity, threat detection capabilities, threat investigation capabilities and response. 

We recommend measuring these criteria against your in-house resources, risk tolerance, and available budget. Based on your organization’s specific needs and existing gaps, choose the right MDR vendor that can augment your team, fill the gaps, and help you strengthen your cybersecurity posture.


MDR Vendors

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 vendor 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:

Download the guide

MDR Vendors: Go with a Player Not a Pretender

In summary, the best MDR vendors provide 24/7 security monitoring, threat detection, investigation, and complete response. Here’s what we recommend you keep in mind:

To that end, you should evaluate MDR vendors based on their ability to detect and respond to threats, their experience and expertise, customer service and support, and pricing.

eSentire: A Leading MDR Vendor

Whether your environment is in the cloud, on-premises, or hybrid, you need complete visibility and coverage across your attack surface. eSentire MDR leverages a multi-signal approach to help your team respond fast and mitigate business risk. We combine automated response capabilities with human expertise to identify, assess, and respond to advanced threats:

Unlike other MDR vendors, we don’t drown you in alerts. eSentire will help you assess your MDR needs and show you why we are a trusted MDR vendor. Contact eSentire today to learn more about MDR solutions.

Wes Hutcherson
Wes Hutcherson Director of Product Marketing
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.

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