Why MDR services are essential to modern cybersecurity efforts

Erik Biemans
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Erik Biemans , Head of Cybersecurity Services , Nomios Netherlands

7 min. read
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Cybersecurity trend: MDR services are on the rise

It’s a fascinating time to be a CISO or security manager in charge of cybersecurity. Your adversaries may range from classic script kiddies to average cybercriminals to hardened ransomware gangs. They may even—depending on what type of products or services you sell—reach all the way up to the level of nation-state actors.

They can all do a lot of damage in various ways, and the level of sophistication of their attacks is rising, too. Their strategic advantage? They only have to succeed once. You, on the other hand, can’t afford to make a single mistake.

Then again, you can’t just employ every type of cybersecurity specialist there is! So how are you going to defend yourself against potential attacks? Enter MDR: Managed Detection & Response. This is just what it says on the tin.

How an MDR provider operates

You hire an outside team via an MDR provider with all of the necessary expertise and tooling (so you don’t have to provide it). They will guard the fort that is your organisation’s network and your endpoints, in combination with data from all your other systems, giving you a holistic view of your entire security landscape.

This approach helps organisations to better understand their security environments, as well as enhance their threat detection and response capabilities. Real-time, 24/7 monitoring is typically a standard feature of MDR, as is incident response to potential cyberattacks. Many MDR providers add cybersecurity consulting and on-demand, round-the-clock access to a concierge security team of experts. Let’s dive into the benefits of using MDR instead of doing it all by yourself.

3 main MDR benefits

#1. Increased visibility of your organisation’s cybersecurity posture and the risk landscape.

The first important benefit of MDR is the increased visibility it provides of your organisation’s cybersecurity posture and the risk landscape. With regular reports on threats, vulnerabilities and incidents, you can get a much better understanding of where your risks lie and what needs to be done to mitigate them. This can help you make more informed decisions about your security strategy and priorities.

Another thing that’s essential is using a sector-specific approach. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, so businesses need to be prepared for anything—both known knowns and known unknowns. After all, a zero-day vulnerability in the case of a known unknown can be potentially exploited anywhere in your stack without your knowledge, however small this probability may be.

It is, of course, more alarming if a zero-day is publicised without there being a patch available. This known-known scenario is one of those worst-case scenarios, and it will keep many a CISO awake at night. Luckily, it doesn’t happen that often in critical systems, but it helps to be in the know if and when it occurs.

It’s easy to write this off as FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), then stick your head in the sand and think it won’t happen to you. But the cold, hard reality of 2022 is that cybercriminals have found that it’s more profitable and relatively safer to rob the proverbial bank online than in the real world. That’s why vulnerabilities (zero-day or otherwise) are extremely valuable in a world that’s becoming more and more digitalised by the day. The “loot” and therefore the stakes are higher, too.

For example, some ransomware gangs are known to go after hospitals and other vital organisations. In most countries, the (semi)governmental sector is known for not always being able to deploy the latest and greatest systems or employ enough highly paid cybersecurity experts to secure these systems. As a result, it’s highly likely that they will be forced to pay up.

Although rarer, the infamous Colonial Pipeline and US meat processor JBL attacks in 2021 reveal a murky grey area where certain cybercriminal groups are seemingly affiliated with nation-states.

All of this has demonstrated why it’s so important to take a sector-specific approach to cybersecurity. Each industry faces different challenges to protect its systems. Working with an MDR provider that specialises in security for your specific industry allows you to deploy effective measures against threat actors and attack vectors. All the while keeping your costs predictable and within your budget. And because MDR providers have expertise in specific industries, they can provide threat intelligence that is tailored to your company’s needs.

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#2. Receive additional cyber threat intelligence

MDR services can also play a crucial role in detecting and responding to cyber-attacks. By monitoring your networks around the clock, MDR providers can quickly identify malicious activity and take steps to stop it before it does serious damage. In addition, they can help you recover from any attacks that do occur, minimising the disruption caused to your business.

Sophisticated MDR providers offer additional cyber threat intelligence, which is used to provide the most optimal protection against advanced attacks. By extracting relevant intel from several reputable sources, including open-source and commercial ones, and learning from experience in the field, you benefit from constantly evolving threat intelligence on threats deployed by cybercriminals.

This makes the MDR provider your personal intelligence agency that can assess risks, then spot and counter emerging attack techniques. The MDR providers who deploy cyber threat intelligence usually employ automated detection via machine learning (ML) and manual investigations to get to the heart of the matter when necessary.

The automated part is where the MDR services continuously monitor certain Indicators of Compromise (IoCs). If spotted, these trigger a response that enables you to investigate the incident and prepare yourself for a possible attack.

Next comes the manual investigation to get the full picture of said attempt. Here, seasoned experts compare indicators, like IP addresses, hashes and headers, with the known intel of attacks. This allows them to identify, in most cases, what type of attack you’re dealing with and which threat actors may be responsible for the attack.

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Did you know that Nomios also offers Managed Detection & Response services to minimise the cyber risks your organisation is exposed to? Discover our MDR service »

#3. Improved ability to prevent, detect and respond to data breaches.

MDR services can help to give you greater peace of mind, knowing that your organisation is protected against the latest cyber threats. By working with a trusted MDR security provider, you can be confident that your data is safe and your systems are secure. Having an MDR in place can also help to improve your overall security posture and reduce the risk of a data breach.

When it comes to data breaches, MDR services can offer a lot of protection. MDR providers work with companies to monitor their networks 24/7 for any suspicious activity. If a breach is detected, the MDR provider will work quickly to contain it and prevent any further damage.

Additionally, MDR services can help you comply with various security regulations, like GDPR in the EU or HIPAA in the US. This is because organisations using personal data and other confidential information have to comply with certain rules and regulations.

Take GDPR, for example. It requires you to properly secure personal data and mandates that data breaches are reported to the Data Protection Authority in your country or state. You must also inform the people and entities involved that their data was leaked. MDR services help by giving insight into all relevant data and which data was accessed when and by whom.

There are various other sector-specific rules and regulations that must be met. So be sure to look at MDR providers that use detection rules that keep you compliant with the requirements for certifications like ISO27001, NEN7501, PCI DSS and many others.

Look for the right MDR service for your organisation

By working with an MDR provider, you can be sure that your organisation is taking all the necessary steps to protect its data and systems against increasingly sophisticated attackers.

A reliable MDR security provider helps you spot attacks the moment they happen. They also allow you to take your security up a few notches by offering a holistic overview instead of just looking at endpoints and networks alone.

It’s important to find an MDR provider with sector-specific knowledge—one that can tailor its MDR services to your exact needs and challenges. This ties directly into cyber threat intelligence that works as an intel agency for your organisation. By combining the power of automation and manual precision, it continuously scans for anomalies and alerts the team if additional manual investigation is necessary.

MDR services can help protect your business from a wide variety of cyber threats, including ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks. MDR security can also help you comply with regulations, like GDPR or HIPAA, and more sector-specific rules, regulations and even certifications, like ISO27001, NEN7501, PCI DSS and many others. That’s crucial considering the importance of compliance in the modern business landscape.

For these reasons, MDR is a valuable addition to any organisation’s security posture. If you’re looking for an MDR provider, be sure to do your research and choose one that has a proven track record of delivering results. Contact Nomios today to learn more about how we can help protect your business.

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