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What is Managed Detection and Response?

Learn what managed detection and response (MDR) is, what it isn’t, how it protects your business from cyberattacks, and key MDR topics.


With the cyberattack surface growing with each passing day, even the strongest cybersecurity defenses will fail. As a result, today’s CISOs are increasingly adopting an “assume breached” mentality to protect their company’s sensitive data and systems, and strengthen their security posture. Unfortunately, many IT and security teams don’t have the resources for building, staffing, or maintaining an in-house 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC). This has driven the need for engaging a trusted partner to deliver these capabilities.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services allow you to build a more responsive security operation by combining advanced security monitoring capabilities proactively with ongoing 24/7 threat detection, investigation, and response so you can eliminate cyber threats before they disrupt your business.

However, not all Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services are created equal. An effective MDR provider will go beyond alerting to provide multi-signal visibility, threat containment, and complete response to cyberattacks on your behalf. Other MDR providers, however, may crush your cybersecurity team with alerts, provide limited threat visibility, and leave your team to contain the threats on their own.

What Challenges Can be Solved by Managed Detection and Response?

With hybrid work and cloud adoption expanding the attack surface, cybercriminals becoming increasingly sophisticated, and cybersecurity resources being difficult to find and retain, it has become challenging for cybersecurity leaders to protect businesses when a security incident occurs.

To respond to known and unknown advanced threats fast and mitigate cyber risk, you need complete visibility and coverage of your attack surface through multi-signal Managed Detection and Response.

Here are Some of the Most Common Challenges that Managed Detection and Response Solves:

What are the Benefits of Managed Detection and Response?

There are a multitude of benefits that your organization can expect from leveraging Managed Detection and Response services:

What is the Difference Between Managed Detection and Response Services and SIEM?

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) first appeared in a 2005 Gartner Research report and initially, the promise of the technology was to aggregate security signals (primarily logs) and make them explorable via a single pane of glass.

Unfortunately, there are many challenges to relying on a SIEM platform: they’re hard to install and configure, it’s difficult to see quantitative or qualitative results, security teams will experience alert fatigue and may miss alerts triggered by real threats in a sea of false positives, and there is no insight on how to improve their threat response.

Managed Detection and Response provides solutions to these challenges by:

Fact From Fiction: How to Weed Out Managed Detection and Response Pretenders

Although many cybersecurity providers may claim to offer highly effective MDR solutions, it is not always clear if they go beyond traditional alert-based services with limited signal visibility or if they fully respond to advanced threats discovered in your environment.

In order to discern a real MDR from fake MDR, consider the five core capabilities that a Managed Detection and Response solution must have to ensure robust protection for your organization. Ask yourself:

How Should You Choose a Managed Detection and Response Provider?

There are several factors that are critical to keep in mind as you choose a Managed Detection and Response provider:

Consider the Mean Time to Contain

The best strategy for mitigating risks and protecting your organization from the potential devastation that such attacks can cause is to cultivate rapid threat response capabilities. Given that the most aggressive ransomware attacks can take less than 45 minutes to deploy, speed is of the essence when it comes to threat containment.

So, first and foremost, look for an MDR security provider willing to commit to a Mean Time to Contain malicious activity. In addition, you should understand the length of time it takes to limit a threat to a single host within your environment and ensure the provider can follow through with the commitment.

Size of customer base matters

Because a Managed Detection and Response provider’s customers serve as the source for the data set used to train the XDR platform’s ML models, it’s important to choose a well-established company. After all, the more clients the provider has, the richer their data set. The richer the data set, the more accurate the detections, the quicker the investigations and the faster the containment will be.

Look for a Managed Detection and Response Provider that Customers Trust

One of the primary benefits of leveraging MDR services is that the provider can take containment and remediation actions on your behalf. However, you’ll have to give them permission to do this, which may mean ceding control over business-critical systems and processes. A provider that’s well-versed in performing incident response and remediation activities on behalf of multiple other clients in your industry will have the contextual awareness and experience to earn your trust.

In addition, a Managed Detection and Response provider who does a great deal of end-to-end containment and remediation will be able to incorporate information on those activities into its XDR machine learning training data. This means that its models will be able to operate on the basis of information that’s much richer and more extensive — encompassing the whole of the incident lifecycle — than those belonging to companies that primarily perform monitoring only.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Integrations with Best of Breed Technology Providers

It’s obvious, but still bears mentioning. You’ll save money if you don’t need to rip and replace everything in your existing security technology stack. Even more importantly, however, operating across multiple vendors’ tools and solutions can enable complete cyberattack surface visibility and actually improve detection accuracy. This further increases the diversity of that all-important model training data set, making it that much more representative of real-world conditions.

With that said, deep integration with a few key security tools is more important than broad integration with every tool. It’s more important to obtain full endpoint detection and response (EDR) telemetry and response integration than to integrate with every security toolset in existence.

Questions to Ask When Evaluating an Managed Detection and Response Provider

According to Gartner, there are 200+ organizations that deliver Managed Detection and Response services globally. This has led to confusion and risk for buyers who may not know how to qualify, or disqualify, MDR vendors. As you begin to evaluate different MDR providers, it’s critical to ensure that you’re getting the right protection for your business.

In our Managed Detection and Response guide, 20 Questions to Ask When Evaluating an MDR Provider, we provide a list of the top 20 questions, along with the expected outcomes, that can help you choose the right MDR provider for your organization. Here are just a few questions to consider:

Download the MDR provider guide here for the full list of 20 questions.

Stop Threats Before They Disrupt Your Business Operations With eSentire’s Multi-Signal Managed Detection and Response solution

With 24/7 threat detection and response and a 15-minute mean time to contain, your organization can rest easy knowing that our Managed Detection and Response service helps you build a world-class security operation..

We provide complete visibility and coverage of your cyberattack surface which we deliver through our multi-signal approach to managed detection and response. Our machine-learning Atlas XDR platform ingests network, cloud, log, endpoint, and insider threat signals to automatically detect, respond, and disrupt cyber threats.

An attack on you is an attack on us.

Managed Detection and Response Terms

eSentire Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Our MDR service combines cutting-edge XDR technology, multi-signal threat intelligence and 24/7 Elite Threat Hunters to help you build a world-class security operation today. Our threat protection is unparalleled in the industry - we see and stop attacks other providers and technologies miss, delivering the most complete response and protection.