For many businesses and organizations, a full in-house IT security operations center (SOC) is unachievable. Yet, a tight budget or limited resources doesn't mean that security stops being a necessity. In fact, across all industries, cybersecurity is more crucial than ever.
When faced with the costs of an in-house SOC and the talent shortage in the security industry, businesses are looking in another direction for the comprehensive cybersecurity packages they need for protection. More often than not, Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provided by a third-party managed security service provider (MSSP) is the best option for complete cybersecurity protection. These services use a host of professional security tools combined with a remote SOC that provides organizations with around-the-clock access to a full team of cybersecurity experts. MDR services provide businesses with cybersecurity solutions that eliminate expensive start-up costs and are scalable to grow with your company.
As technology grows and advances, all industries are faced with increased security threats derived from long supply chains, multiple endpoints, and the growing trend of remote work. MDR works to address all these concerns with comprehensive solutions that provide better visibility into your network, immediate responses to threats, and automated reactions to contain active incidents.
How to Choose an MDR Provider
Predictions suggest that a quarter of all organizations will be using MDR services as a supplemental or complete solution for cybersecurity threats, with 40% of midsize enterprises depending on MDR as their only managed security service. While this builds confidence in the ability of these providers to offer a comprehensive cybersecurity solution, it can be difficult for customers to differentiate one provider from another. In the most general sense, MDR services provide:
- Remote, 24/7 SOC solutions that can detect, investigate, and respond to threats
- Skilled cybersecurity professionals with expertise in threat monitoring, detection, and hunting combined with skills in incident response
- Processes that include standardized workflows and procedures
However, different providers use a variety of tools and methods to produce these results. Many MSSPs also offer an array of features that extend beyond the general definition of MDR services. This means companies searching for a provider should consider the many services available under the umbrella of MDR, and build a list of organizational security requirements to get the most complete security solutions for their needs.
Some companies search for MDR services that close gaps in existing security measures, while others intend to depend entirely on MDR. No matter which plans best suit your needs, it's important to understand how your MDR provider takes care of these tasks.
Threat Detection and Investigation
Detection of threats through security log collection and data analysis decreases the risk of a breach. Forensic investigation techniques following a breach are essential to eliminate vulnerabilities and prevent future attacks.
Remote Incident Response
Remediation should immediately follow threat detection. Best in class MDR services will provide remediation guidance immediately after a threat alert.
Orchestration and Automation
Careful tuning of SIEM tools and integration with other software offers automated threat responses and reactions without human intervention. Faster alerts coupled with speedy responses and advanced detection from multiple environments limit overall damage from potential threats.
Threat Intelligence and Analytics
By continually seeking potential threats on the horizon, MDR providers can intercept threats and patch vulnerabilities before attacks occur.
Interrelated Response Services
Alongside typical security features, MDR should provide services like vulnerability management, security assessments, and compliance reporting.
The Human Factor
The most advanced software depends on human specialists to install, customize, and maintain consistent and efficient service. The security analysts you depend on should have a long track record to show their advanced experience and the communication skills to work with your internal IT team.
While many companies claim to provide managed detection and response for cyber threats, it's crucial to understand exactly what your provider offers. A program that is managed offers more than the actions provided by third-party software. It requires an expert SOC team and 24/7 vigilance and support. The following top MDR providers offer some of the most comprehensive cybersecurity packages available for all types of businesses and organizations. However, they use different methods and tools. Read our comparison to see how these MDR providers stack up against each other and which solution best fits the needs of your organization.
Self-described as XDR before XDR was even a thing, Rapid 7's Insight platform offers a variety of services for "your comprehensive security arsenal." Managed services by Rapid7 include vulnerability management, application security, and managed detection and response. MDR from Rapid7 provides customers with around-the-clock monitoring and attacker intelligence based on millions of endpoints to defend against advanced threats and stop attackers in their tracks. Rapid7 MDR
- Detects threats within the first 60 days with MDR monitoring
- Provides tailored service based on your environment and security goals
- Finds known and unknown attackers with multi-layered detection methodologies across the SOC Triad
Threat Detection Tools and Methods
Rapid7 MDR uses multiple advanced detection methods, including proprietary threat intelligence, behavioral analytics, Network Traffic Analysis, and human threat hunting to detect incoming security threats. The benefits of these methods include real-time incident detection and validation, proactive threat hunting, and behavioral-based detection for your unique network.
Incidents include alerts and breaches. MDR from Rapid 7 uses technologies and cybersecurity experts to respond to incidents in ways that limit damage and help you avoid downtime. Containment of user and endpoint threats isolate attacks to a single area. After containment, detailed findings report guide remediation efforts and mitigation actions to eliminate existing vulnerabilities.
Once the threat is contained, recovery efforts are launched to avoid further damage and prevent downtime. With detailed data about the breach, automated recovery actions along with the guidance of the remote SOC team offers resources to prevent ongoing damage and get your network back to normal as fast as possible.
Rapid7 MDR Service Benefits
- Dedicated security advisor assigned to your organization
- Real-time incident detection
- Access to Rapid7's threat Intel and research
- Behavioral analytics
- 24/7 monitoring by security experts
- Immediate response actions
- Proactive threat hunting
- Full access to InsightIDR (cloud SIEM)
- Incident management and response support
- Limited cloud risk assessment
- Inability to attach files to investigations
- No compliance reports within the solution
- The dashboard could be simplified
- Excess of false alerts
- Lack of information about why alerts are automatically closed
With a vision to end cyber risk, Arctic Wolf provides managed services that include managed security awareness, managed risk, and managed detection and response. MDR from Arctic Wolf eliminates alert fatigue and false positives to promote a faster response with detection and response capabilities tailored to your organization. Arctic Wolf helps companies
- Quickly identify and categorize risky software, assets, and accounts
- Understand your current digital risk posture and identify gaps in security
- Find vulnerabilities and start prioritizing security improvements
Threat Detection Tools and Methods
Arctic Wolf threat detection begins with broad visibility through software that works with your existing technology stack. This software discovers and profiles assets and collects data and security event observations from multiple sources. With 24/7 monitoring, your environment is monitored for threats and risks around the clock. This approach is designed to catch advanced threats with a platform that analyzes more security data and a team of experts with the experience to hunt for threats.
When threats are identified, Arctic Wolf data analysts investigate suspicious activity. Taking these repetitive tasks out of the hands of your IT team eliminates alert fatigue and false positives. Automated log retention and search take the work out managing logs while still retaining the data you need to conduct investigations. Speedy detection and response to critical security incidents prevent the spread of threats.
Avoiding downtime is essential for any business. Remediation from Arctic Wolf includes guidance to validate the threat has been neutralized and verification that it hasn't returned. A deep investigation into the root cause of incidents works to create customized rules and workflows that improve your security posture. Regular meetings with security analysts allow you to review the company's overall security posture and find areas for improvement.
- Broad visibility through log collection and observations from multiple sources
- 24/7 monitoring from security experts
- Analysis of more data to catch advanced threats
- Elimination of alert fatigue with managed investigations
- Automated log retention
- Automated incident response
- Guided remediation from a dedicated SOC team
- Root cause analysis to uncover the cause of breaches that occur
- Routine meetings with security experts to review the company security posture
Arctic Wolf ConsiderationsWhile Arctic Wolf is a highly rated cybersecurity company, reviews from users share these potential drawbacks
- Complex user interface
- Limited options to filter risks
- Lack of detailed network information in the dashboard
- Lack of direct communication since open tickets must be filed
Created to illuminate and eliminate cyber threats, BitLyft utilizes a variety of tools to supercharge security analysts with advanced detection and automated threat remediation. BitLyft AIR® combines managed services to provide a single turn-key solution for managed detection and response. MDR from BitLyft provides greater visibility for threat detection, and provides lightning-fast response time tuned to your environment.
BitLyft AIR® offers:
- Heavily enriched insights into threats, vulnerabilities, and user behavior that go beyond endpoints
- 24/7 human support with an expert security team
- Reduced dwell time with automated responses tuned to your environment
- Integrated threat intelligence that provides proactive protection through validated threat intelligence
Threat Detection Tools and Methods
Complete visibility with Securonix SIEM provides a comprehensive view into your entire network with real-time dashboards, reports, and threat alerts. BitLyft analysts use software and raw data provided by your network to establish normal behavior and recognize threats. With this knowledge, your cybersecurity software is tailored to your organization. Automated log retention, analysis, and reporting tools help businesses and organizations meet compliance requirements. Your IT team and BitLyft's off-site SOC team have the same access to data within your network for the most in-depth view of your entire network.
24/7 monitoring from the BitLyft SOC team combined with automated incident response (AIR) work together to detect threats in real-time and prevent attacks that move throughout the network. Automated responses tuned to your environment provide lightning-fast reactions to investigate and fix issues without human assistance. BitLyft security orchestrated automated responses can be tied to alarms at the SIEM level to speed up the process of threat containment and remediation. AIR modules combine multiple tasks and processes into a single triggered event that is automated, which saves crucial time compared to manual tasks and processes required by SOC data analysts.
Security automated incident response is the first step in a speedy recovery when a breach occurs. When a threat is recognized, security software works to immediately isolate and contain the danger. Upon threat neutralization, log data provides feedback about how the breach occurred and potential points of vulnerability. An in-depth investigation results in a comprehensive plan to eliminate vulnerabilities and improve your company's overall security posture.
Prevention with Central Threat Intelligence
Integrated threat intelligence provides proactive protection through herd immunity. Threat actors are continually devising new ways to access networks of businesses and organizations in every industry. By constantly searching for new threats on the horizon, cybersecurity systems can prevent attacks before they occur. Central threat intelligence goes beyond the threat feeds that can quickly become outdated or expensive to update to utilize threat information from all users and clients on the platform. This continually updating knowledge means you get the preemptive advantage against attackers with proactive protection against risks that haven't reached your organization. Instead of only reactive protection, CTI offers proactive protection against potential threats that have yet to occur.
BitLyft AIR MDR Service Benefits
- Expert-level protection at a fraction of the price of an in-house security team
- Streamlined monthly billing for platform and services with no hidden fees
- Complete visibility into your network with SIEM dashboards, reports, and threat alerts
- Built-in compliance with various regulations like GLBA, PCI, HIPAA, etc.
- 24/7 threat detection and remediation from security experts
- Reduced dwell time with AIR modules that combine multiple tasks and processes into a single triggered event
- Integration with your existing software and security stack
- Scalability that puts professional-grade security in reach of any organization
- Expert guides to help you meet your organizational goals and compliance regulations
- Ongoing data, insights, visibility, and feedback about your security posture
- Future threat protection through herd immunity
While BitLyft is a highly rated cybersecurity company, reviews from users reported these potential drawbacks.
- Initially used Securonix SIEM for reporting purposes
- Limited reporting about log trends
- Limited information about the number of employees
Making the Right MDR Choice for Your Unique Organization
Leading MDR providers offer a wealth of benefits for companies and organizations without an on-premise SOC. These services can even be useful to supplement your in-house SOC for 24-hour coverage. After walking through a full comparison of the ways leading MDR providers to protect your network, it can be difficult to determine which differences matter most to your business or organization. When evaluating an MDR provider, assessing your current security practices and needs can be the best way to recognize the unique services an MDR vendor can provide. Consider these important features when you assess the services offered by an MDR solution.
All MDR services utilize software and other tools for advanced threat detection. Does your potential provider offer a technology stack that leverages your existing technology? Is the new software capable of being integrated with your current programs and platforms?
On-Premise & Cloud Support
Does the MDR solution offer support for both on-premise and cloud environments?
Experience within Your Industry
The security needs of a finance company are vastly different from a utility company or a university. Does the provider have experience in your industry? Consider reviewing case studies and past customer reports when available.
Fit with Your Current Policies and Procedures
Your MDR solution should be customizable to work with the way your company already operates. Does the provider's containment approach work with your organization's policies and procedures without causing unnecessary delays or downtime?
Automated Alert Capability
Fully managed and monitored logs evaluate and categorize data faster than with the human eye alone. This means you get real-time alerts that help stop threats before they can become significant attacks. Does your provider offer automated alerts tailored to your network behavior?
Fully managed detection and response solutions provide more than canned guidance when alerts occur. Your alerts should be reviewed by experts so immediate actions can take place.
Remediation that begins immediately when a threat is realized offers the most comprehensive damage control. Does your MDR provider offer automated actions for breaches as they occur?
Custom Reports and Compliance Documentation
As cybersecurity becomes a widely recognized necessity across all industries of business, various organizations, education systems, utilities, and government agencies, regulations that protect sensitive data are becoming more common. Does your MDR provider offer custom reports that prove organizational compliance with federal, state, and local regulations?
Threat Hunting and Intelligence
Thousands of malware strains already exist and new ones are being created each day. Consider how your potential vendor utilizes existing threat intelligence for automated responses to recognized threats. It's also vital to understand how your solution will seek ways to eliminate new threats before they reach you. The best MDR services will offer reactive and proactive protection against a variety of threats.
The Human Element
One of the most important parts of MDR is the management provided by cybersecurity experts. Having experienced security analysts that act as an extension of your team is essential to successful threat intervention. While typical providers advertise the existence of a remote SOC, it's important to ask certain questions that will help you decide the level of support this team offers. Some MDR vendors simply offer automated guidance while others provide you with around-the-clock access to experienced professionals ready to react to a breach any time day or night (and even on vacation). When learning about the human element of your MDR solution, ask these questions to ensure you'll have the level of support you expect.
- What communication methods are available to reach security experts as needed?
- To what degree are security experts involved with the installation and customization of integrated security software?
- What proactive response capabilities do you provide, and to what extent are responses automated?
- What is the role of the customer in response to actions?
- How is a threat hunt defined?
- How is threat intelligence incorporated into the threat hunting program?
- What are staffing levels during off-hours periods?
- How do processes differ during off-hours?
- Beyond incident response, what does the SOC team do to address continued cybersecurity health?
One of the most vital benefits of a highly qualified MDR provider is the ability for your organization to have the services offered by experienced cybersecurity experts. Yet, if there's a lack of communication or services offered by the remote SOC team, you likely won't have the level of protection you need to effectively protect your network. One of the best indicators of how your MDR vendor will communicate with you in the future is how much they're willing to communicate before you're a customer. Before you purchase cybersecurity services, ensure you feel comfortable with the company and its communication styles. It's not your job to be a cybersecurity expert. A qualified provider will be able to answer all your questions and ensure you are completely informed about the services provided and how they can improve your organization's security posture.
A comparison of Rapid7, Arctic Wolf, and BitLyft AIR MDR services offers a glance into the different ways MDR vendors work to eliminate cyberattacks that constantly threaten all types of businesses and organizations. At BitLyft, we believe our procedures offer the most comprehensive form of protection any organization can receive. To learn more about how BitLyft AIR can help protect your organization against cyber threats, schedule your needs assessment to help create your tailored cybersecurity solution.