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Blog | Nov 22, 2019

The Seven Categories of MDR - #6 – MD-Big-R (Multiple Telemetry)

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.

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 help organizations make an informed cybersecurity solutions choice, eSentire has authored, The Definitive Guide to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) (and this blog series) which examines seven categories of MDR providers, measured across four criteria, which include:

  • Visibility: Signal sources such as endpoints, IPS/IDS, logs, cloud, vulnerabilities, etc.
  • Fidelity: The depth of information provided by each of the signal sources
  • Detection capabilities: Ability for the provider to detect known and unknown attacker methodologies using commoditized and advanced methodologies
  • Response: Delineation of provider and client responsibilities from investigation, alert, containment and recovery

MDR Category #6 – MD-Big-R (Multiple Telemetry)
MDR (Multiple Telemetry) is a viable option for organizations with higher budgets, lower risk tolerance and limited in-house capabilities to respond to endpoint threats.

Profile
MD-big-R (Multiple Telemetry), or MDR-MT, options are typically built around a log-based and EDR service stack. In some instances, MDR vendors will offer endpoint and network components without log visibility; however, this approach is rare.

In MDR-MT, it’s increasingly common to see legacy MSSPs evolve their service offerings to include as their MDR service model an integrated response to EDR. Other services—such as vulnerability management or visibility into cloud services beyond log, endpoint and vulnerabilities— may also be included, but could come at incremental costs.

Fundamentally, the difference between MD-little-r (Multiple Telemetry) and MDR-MT is that the latter includes managed remote threat containment and full IR Lifecycle support.

The EDR component of these solutions typically represents the ability to contain on the client’s behalf. However, organizations are encouraged to carefully read SLAs and/or incident response retainers, which can be misrepresented as big-R in this category. Buyers are also encouraged to investigate the level of integration between the services that comprise the Multiple Telemetry MDR solution, as some vendors silo particular services rather than including them within a single MDR platform. MDR (Multiple Telemetry) is a viable option for organizations with higher budgets, lower risk tolerance and limited in-house capabilities to respond to endpoint threats.

Coverage

Varies, but typically two of the following options (note that cloud visibility outside of endpoints, logs and vulnerability varies by provider):

  • Endpoint: process visibility, East/West (internal lateral)
  • Network: things in motion, ingress/egress
  • Log: breadth across network signals and technologies

Strengths

  • Higher level expertise
  • Commonly a proven vendor in the MDR marketspace
  • Use of best-in-class technologies, typically SIEM plus EDR • Greater level of visibility in comparison to EDR
  • Able to correlate multiple signals
  • Advanced threat detection capabilities
  • Integrated machine learning and behavioral processes
  • Deep-level fidelity into certain visibility, typically endpoint • Improved ability to limit false positives
  • Full IR Lifecycle support
  • Typically has ability to contain threats at endpoint level
  • Deep-level portal visibility
  • Supports multiple regulatory measures

Weaknesses

  • Higher-level service cost compared to EDR
  • Limited visibility in comparison to MDR (Full Telemetry)
  • Limited signal fidelity in certain network components
  • Incomplete signals required for correlation and forensic investigation o Hunting limited to in-scope visibility
  • Requires client-side team to hunt, investigate, confirm and respond to threats outside of scope
  • Limited response capabilities in comparison to MDR (Full Telemetry)

Questions and considerations:

  • Does included visibility appropriately account for our current and future network infrastructure? What else is required that will have to be managed and provisioned?
  • Does the level of data captured provide the appropriate depth to cover our threat landscape?
  • Do we have adequate budget for the provider’s services and in-house requirements without sacrificing our overall security posture in other critical areas?
  • Does the provider have integrated automated response for known threats available via APIs?
  • Does the provider have adequate detection capabilities to enable detection of known and unknown threats?

While this blog provides a snapshot of one category of MDR, the intricacies and interdependencies are the varying types is complex. To learn more about the strengths and weaknesses for each of the seven MDR categories and how you can make an informed decision about what MDR solution best suits your organization, download The Definitive Guide to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) here: https://www.esentire.com/resource-library/the-definitive-guide-to-managed-detection-and-response-mdr

Akash Malhotra

Akash Malhotra

Technical Developer/Writer

With diverse knowledge of computer security, threat intelligence and front-end web development, Akash has worked with developing and documenting API libraries with Cymon.io, our open source threat intelligence aggregator.