Why MDR is the Savior of Small IT Teams

IT teams of all sizes are facing a deluge of challenges with continually growing networks and shrinking teams. For businesses both large and small, technology is an essential part of successful business. While it might seem like the number of challenges would align with the size of your business, evolving technology can create even more challenges for growing companies than established ones. Today, more than ever, businesses rely on their networks. IT teams are the professionals who keep these networks running properly. As networks grow and cyberthreats grow alongside them, small IT teams have more work than ever.

Unfortunately, the majority of small businesses aren't prepared for a cyberattack. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 small business owners, only 5% of small business owners reported cybersecurity to be the biggest risk to their business right now. Even while small business owners remain confident about their safety, data breaches targeting small businesses jumped 152% globally in 2020 and 2021 compared with the prior two years. In comparison, breaches targeting larger businesses only rose 75%. While a cyberattack doesn't have the same financial impact on a small company as on a large company, the costs are significant. The average cost of a security breach on a small business is around $38,000. This includes the costs of downtime, lost business opportunities, and professional services to mitigate the breach.

MDR Buyer's Guide

The adoption of IoT devices and increased remote work lead to the growth of devices connected to business networks. These technologies also offer new vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. As a result, IT teams are facing a deluge of extra tasks. Rapid turnover and an ongoing talent shortage mean that lean teams are getting even smaller, forcing IT professionals to do more with less. If cybersecurity continues to be placed on the back burner, it's only a matter of time until a successful attack occurs.

When IT teams are faced with more than they can possibly accomplish, they need a trusted partner that can handle the rigors of modern cybersecurity. Small IT teams already facing increased work aren't likely to have the budget, time, and tools needed for the high-level security necessary to protect modern businesses. If your small IT team is struggling to cover all the requirements of cybersecurity, MDR could be the savior you need.

Unique Challenges for Small IT Teams

Technology helps businesses of all sizes reach success. Powerful tools increase reach, improve collaboration, and save time. Without modern technology, even the smallest business risks alienating customers and falling behind in the industry. Yet, tools that utilize modern technology must be run and maintained by highly educated professionals for the best results. Small IT teams face the same needs for new tools and practices as fully staffed teams maintaining the networks of large corporations. While small IT teams generally manage smaller networks, they still must keep up with the speed of technological changes. Because of this, smaller IT teams are likely to face unique challenges.

Sourcing Talent

Demand for computer and technology specialists is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, potentially adding about 667,600 more jobs to the industry. Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security. Placing bigger tensions on the immediate future, a recent study revealed that as many as 72% of IT workers are considering quitting their jobs in the next 12 months. As smaller companies try to increase IT teams to match company and technological growth, they'll be forced to compete with bigger companies to source candidates from a shrinking talent pool.

Integration Challenges

Large corporations are more likely to have an on-prem SOC with advanced infrastructure and software designed to work together for a streamlined IT system as well as complete visibility for improved security. Small IT teams working on a shoestring budget are often forced to invest in separate tools that aren't necessarily designed to work together. As a result, small teams are faced with more tasks and tools to manage than the large teams overseeing the network of big companies. Poorly integrated tools don't only disrupt workflows, they can present security issues and leave more vulnerabilities open to hackers. 

Frustrated Users

Employees within any company depend on technology to get work done. When IT teams are spread thin, end users have to wait longer for assistance when issues arise. Furthermore, smaller businesses are more likely to have slow outdated systems that require more attention than modern systems. Frustrated users facing slow IT response times often seek workarounds. While such solutions might help maintain productivity, they can cause introduce new security issues.

Endpoint Management

The growth of remote work means that every company has tens, hundreds, or even thousands of home offices. Working remotely is different than working in an office environment. However, employees still need the right tools and access no matter where they're working from. Managing the complexities of remote work can be difficult for any IT team, but smaller teams are forced to spread resources even thinner to include remote work devices.

Alongside remote work, the internet of things (IoT) is growing exponentially. IoT devices are used in businesses and industries of all sizes and even for personal use. The lack of security built into these devices is a major concern for all IT teams. However, smaller IT teams have fewer members to optimize new devices and implement endpoint security. 

Automation

Many modern security tools depend on machine learning and AI to eliminate manual tasks required by cybersecurity teams. These tools should (and sometimes do) offer relief for smaller IT teams. However, automated tools aren't optimized for the best performance out of the box. In cybersecurity, AI without proper optimization can lead to a landslide of false alerts. When a system or tool seemingly isn't performing as intended, it's often misused or not used at all. Furthermore, alert fatigue will be experienced more quickly by small teams, and legitimate security concerns are more likely to be overlooked.

What is MDR?

Managed detection and response (MDR) is a group of services provided by a remote security center. The services provide customized solutions that allow organizations to rapidly detect threats, provide accurate analysis of threat severity, investigate to discover the root causes of a breach, and offer a timely response.

MDR providers use a predefined technology stack alongside 24/7 monitoring and assistance from security professionals to offer a turnkey experience with rapid time to value and functions similar to an on-prem SOC. The solution is customizable to the size and needs of an organization and is billed on a monthly basis. For small IT teams, MDR can offer a boost with modern tools and increased cybersecurity head count. 

How MDR Helps Small IT Teams

Unlike various tools used to target specific security concerns, MDR is a group of services designed to provide security measures for an entire network. For small IT teams facing modern cybersecurity threats, the service can provide both important tools and an extension of your IT team. MDR is an effective service for businesses of all sizes, but it can provide extra value for businesses with a small IT team with these features.

Scalable

Small to medium businesses are functioning on a tight budget, and can't afford the same security protection as large companies. What's more, these smaller companies don't have the same security needs as a major enterprise. MDR services provide full-scale protection for your network at the size required for your company. This customizability eliminates the chance of investing in and running un-needed tools that could present more work for a team already stretched thin. More importantly, it helps smaller businesses invest in a solution that fits their budget.

Modern Tools

Investing in technology can be expensive for a growing business. Yet hanging on to legacy systems can be even more expensive and cumbersome. Outdated systems and software are impossible to update and can leave critical security vulnerabilities. They require more time and effort from tech professionals and limit the performance of organizations. 

MDR includes a provider-owned and managed technology stack that enables real-time threat monitoring, detection, investigation, and active mitigation. Since the technology is maintained by your provider, updates and patches are supplied as part of the service. Instead of facing substantial up-front costs for updates, businesses gain all the benefits of next-gen cloud-based applications that are designed to detect and respond to modern sophisticated threats. The use of provider-owned tech provides two-fold benefits for SMBs in that it offers affordable upgrades along with tools that reduce the workload of small teams. 

Endpoints are a Part of Modern Business

No matter the size of a business, endpoints are everywhere. Busy employees access a business network from in-office computers, remote laptops, smartphones, and other remote devices. Practically all companies depend on cloud-based applications and connected devices that send and receive vital data to the network. Each of these endpoints presents security vulnerabilities. Almost 45% of security teams are managing 5,000 to 500,000 separate endpoints. Even if your organization utilizes fewer than 10,000, individual management of each would be impossible.

Endpoint visibility and protection are essential to prevent breaches that allow threat actors to access sensitive data or carry out credential theft. It's common for modern threats to target low-level devices to slip into a network undetected and dwell within the system for a significant period of time. Effective endpoint detection and response (EDR) provided by your MDR will catch these threats before they enter critical sections of your network. EDR logs data from endpoint activity and sends alerts when abnormal behavior is detected. EDR automatically detects security incidents and contains them at the endpoint. Once the threat is contained, incident investigation takes place and your remote SOC team offers remediation guidance to eliminate the vulnerability. For small IT teams with growing networks, these services eliminate much of the guesswork and manual tasks that go along with endpoint maintenance and protection.

Decrease Alert Fatigue

Small IT teams are often faced with managing a plethora of disjointed tools. This can lead to redundant alerts and a deluge of false alerts. Alert fatigue can occur quickly when small teams are bombarded with false alerts they don't have time to prioritize. When forced to ignore or potentially overlook real threats, teams face security dread, a condition that makes them stay on high alert. Security dread can quickly lead to anxiety and burnout, contributing to increased turnover and eventually leading to even smaller IT teams. 

MDR services prioritize threats based on the type of threat, its potential impact, and other factors. Instead of simply providing threat alerts, MDR includes context that describes the nature of the threat. MDR providers will work with you to understand the scope of the incident and take action to contain it.

A Predefined Technology Stack Optimized by Professionals

When growing businesses invest in new tech to increase security hygiene, IT professionals must spend time optimizing tools and software for the proper results. For an already overloaded team, this can spell trouble. When optimization fails to cover the true scope of the business or doesn't include testing to eliminate false alerts the software can be more of a hindrance than a help. Unfortunately, the task of optimization can take a considerable amount of time for small IT teams,

MDR services supply you with a predefined technology stack that is either designed by the provider or curated from existing solutions. In either instance, the technology will be provided as a turnkey service with rapid time to value. Pretuned processes and detection content is already built into the system that includes a standard playbook of workflows, procedures, and analytics. The tools are customized to your company environment by security professionals and optimized to perform almost immediately. 

Proactive Security for Protection Against Threats on the Horizon

Legacy cybersecurity tools depend on defense tactics to keep hackers out of your system. While keeping bad actors out is a good idea, it's virtually impossible in today's threat landscape. Dwell time is the term used to describe the time that threat actors lurk within a network before reaching a threat objective or being kicked out. Remarkably, the average amount of time a hacker can remain hidden in an organizational network is over 250 days. During this time, attackers can be stealing data, orchestrating a catastrophic attack, or simply waiting around for a lucrative opportunity. For small IT teams depending on legacy tools, this can mean the attacker is never recognized until the attacker reaches a major objective like deploying ransomware or selling customer data.

Modern security tools are designed to recognize threatening behavior and respond before attacks occur. User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) creates a profile for every user and device on your network that establishes a baseline for normal behavior. When usual behavior occurs, the system sends out an alert. While all MDR providers don't include UEBA as a standard offering, BitLyft includes UEBA integrated into Securonix SIEM for complete visibility into the entire network. Alongside UEBA, central threat intelligence automatically protects your network against validated threats with information provided by outside sources and the platform database. This powerful proactive protection can wipe out threats before they even reach your system.

Integrated Tools for Streamlined Visibility and Response

Disjointed tools are inefficient and cumbersome. They are a drain on resources and the time of professionals. MDR provides companies with a technology stack that's designed to work together. Instead of optimizing and maintaining several different tools, tech professionals get complete visibility into the entire network and streamlined alert and incident response that works seamlessly. For small IT teams, this seamless integration offers fewer redundant alerts and the elimination of many manual tasks that take up the time of IT professionals.

24/7 Monitoring and Response from an Off-Site SOC

Time is perhaps the most precious commodity for small IT teams. IT professionals with the education and experience to perform critical tasks are often inundated with manual data entry and analysis. As a result, important tasks get lower priority and IT professionals become overwhelmed.

A true MDR solution offers both modern technology and 24/7 monitoring and assistance from skilled security experts. An effective security program requires 24/7 monitoring and oversight using an analytics-driven SIEM. Small IT teams typically don't have the labor force to maintain this level of protection. MDR services include 24/7 threat monitoring, detection, and lightweight response. The off-site SOC team provided by MDR helps small IT teams manage the ongoing task of monitoring the network and prioritizing threats. These professionals also provide around-the-clock on-call support for troubleshooting, incident response, investigation, and remediation. Working in conjunction with an off-site team of security professionals offers small IT teams ongoing support and routine communication for improving security posture and providing continued security education for IT professionals.

Avoiding the Cost of a Successful Cyberattack

Internet connectivity provides businesses of all sizes with the capability to reach customers globally, work remotely, and make business connections anywhere in the world. It also provides cybercriminals with the ability to target hundreds of thousands of businesses. While large successful corporations represent the most lucrative targets, smaller businesses are likely to be more vulnerable. 

The average cost of a cyberattack on a small business is over $25,000. These costs are a result of network damage, lawsuits, professional services to recover from the attack, company downtime, and ransoms when applicable. Other costs are more difficult to quantify. For instance, the loss of intellectual property can be common in data theft. Reputational damage that results in lost customers is almost a guarantee after a successful cyberattack.

Understaffed IT teams working with outdated tools simply don't have the resources to create an effective defense against modern attacks. Hackers know this and are more likely to target SMBs as a result. MDR is the only solution that provides complete protection that is similar to the security utilized by large corporations with a fully-staffed SOC.

Choosing the Right MDR Provider

MDR services offer the most comprehensive protection available against modern sophisticated threats to your network. It's the only protection that provides insight into your entire network along with automated and human response to stop attacks before they cause damage. An MDR provider can be a force multiplier that instantly adds cybersecurity protection without needing to add internal headcount. For companies with small IT teams, MDR services provide a solution to staff shortages and outdated tools.

While many companies advertise MDR services, it's important to understand that not all MDR solutions are created equal. MDR providers use a variety of tools, methods, and forms of communication to provide the services required of MDR. To find the right solution for your organization, it's important to consider the technology stack offered and the style of support offered by your off-site SOC.

At BitLyft, it's our goal to provide organizations with the most comprehensive security solutions available. For this reason, we take BitLyft Air beyond traditional MDR services to provide a fully integrated suite of tools along with 24/7 accessibility to our expert team of cybersecurity professionals. With Securonix SIEM, you get the deepest level of visibility into your entire network. Integrated UEBA and EDR mean that every part of log collection, threat detection, and automated alerts and response is fully integrated to work seamlessly across your network and eliminate redundant reports. We protect your network with a balance of automated and human response to reduce critical dwell time and offer human intelligence for rapid attack response and remediation. Our SOC works as an extension of your team to stay in sync with you through routine check-ins as well as 24/7 response for emergencies. We're always a message or call away, and there to stop the threat at 3 am while your team is still sleeping. BitLyft offers a full security team with 24/7/365 monitoring to our clients for less than they would spend for a single full-time analyst. Learn more about how you can offer your small IT team the vital support they need to improve your security posture. Get your free MDR buyers guide today.

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