MDR service essentials: Market trends and what to look for

Mark Sangster, VP and Industry Security Strategist at eSentire, is a cybersecurity evangelist who has spent significant time researching and speaking to peripheral factors influencing the way that legal firms integrate cybersecurity into their day-to-day operations. In this interview, he discusses MDR services and the MDR market.

MDR service essentials

What are the essential building blocks of a robust MDR service?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) must combine two elements. The first is an aperture that can collect the full spectrum of telemetry. This means not only monitoring the network through traditional logging and perimeter defenses but also collecting security telemetry from endpoints, cloud services and connected IoT devices.

The wider the aperture, the more light, or signal. This creates the need for rapid ingestion of a growing volume of data, while doing so in near real-time, to aid rapid detection.

The second element is the ability to respond beyond simple alerting. This means the ability to disrupt north and south traffic at the TCP/IP, DNS and geo-fencing levels. It can disrupt application layer traffic or at least block specific applications. Encompassing the ability to perform endpoint forensics to determine integrity of accessed data and systems and the ability to quarantine devices from endpoints to industrial IoT devices and other operational systems, such as medical diagnosis and patient-management systems.

What makes an MDR service successful?

MDR services require a hyper-vigilance with the ability to scale and rapidly adapt to secure emerging technology. This includes OT-based systems beyond the typical auspices of IT. It also requires an ecosystem of talent: working with universities to guide curriculum, training programs, certification maintenance and work paths through Security Operations Center (SOC) and into threat intelligence and lab work.

The MDR market is becoming more competitive and the number of providers continues to grow. What is the best approach for choosing an MDR provider?

Like any vendor selection, it is more about determining your requirements than picking vendors based on boasts or comprehensive data sheets. It means testing vendor capabilities and carefully matching them to your requirements. For example, if you don’t have internal forensics capabilities, then a vendor that is good at detection but only provides alerts won’t solve your problem.

Find a vendor that provides full services and matches your internal capabilities.

How do you see the MDR market evolving in the near future? What are organizations looking for?

More and more, companies will move to outsourced SOC-like services. This means MDR firms need to up their game, and a tighter definition must come into play to weed out pretender firms. Too much rests on their capabilities.

MDR vendors also need to focus on emerging tech (5G, IIoT, etc.) and be prepared to defend against larger adversaries, like organized criminal elements and state-sponsored actors who now troll the midmarket space.

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