Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a popular topic in the cybersecurity sector right now. Cynics may say that Sales will put an X in front of anything to try and give it the edge. But in this case, X really does stand for ‘eXtended’, so it’s there for good reason.

XDR is a platform – a threat monitoring and detection tool that goes beyond the endpoint to cover an organization’s entire infrastructure and streamline the ingestion of data, the analysis, and the workflows from all security technology integrations. In many senses, XDR is an evolution of traditional Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tooling. It goes beyond just the network or the endpoint. It provides a unified system compared to previously siloed solutions, and delivers broader correlation, threat detection, investigation, and response capabilities for organizations from across every industry.

So if XDR is the gold standard of cybersecurity, why do we spend so much time talking about Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

In this blog, we’re going to explore the MDR vs XDR debate, and explain why it isn’t an either / or situation.


What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

When it comes to cybersecurity solutions, there are a range of choices to suit you, depending on the size and structure of your business. XDR, SIEM, SOAR  and EDR are just four of the acronyms that you’d come across when shopping for a cybersecurity system. As you’ll know, MDR is not a software, it’s a service.

Sometimes described as a Security-as-a-Service offering, Managed Detection and Response is provided by expert third-party vendors who take the complexity of managing the cybersecurity challenges off an organization’s plate. This service goes beyond detecting and investigating threats, but also involves working to resolve them, either in partnership with the organization’s internal IT resource or independently.

Depending on the vendor, the MDR service will utilize a specific suite of cybersecurity software, whether that’s EDR, XDR, SIEM, SOAR (typically included as standard with a modern SIEM) or a combination of different solutions.

The features of an MDR service offering include the following:

  • Threat Investigation—through a combination of data analytics, machine learning and human intervention, the vendor will investigate an alert and ascertain whether or not there is a genuine threat.
  • Alert triage—genuine threats will be prioritized based on risk to ensure the most business-critical issues are resolved first.
  • Remediation—as part of the service, the vendor can remotely resolve the security event within the customer’s network.
  • Proactive threat hunting—modern cybersecurity software is becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to detecting threats before they become significant issues, but they won’t necessarily catch every attack. An MDR vendor will typically also provide proactive threat hunting, with their expert security team searching for and identifying attacks, and take remedial action.


The benefits of MDR

MDR offers several benefits, as an alternative to handling all of your cybersecurity in-house.

Free-up internal resources

Monitoring your organization’s ‘attack surface’ (that is, your entire network infrastructure) is time-consuming, and not a 9-to-5 job.

Even if you have an expert internal team, their time will often be occupied by having to deal with multiple alerts and notifications from the many cybersecurity solutions deployed across the network.

By employing an MDR vendor, you can rest assured that your network is being monitored 24/7, while freeing up your internal teams to focus on more business-critical work.

Combining machine learning, AI, automation, and human expertise

If you’ve invested in a state-of-the-art cybersecurity solution, as well as an internal security team, you’ll be benefitting from the combination of software and human expertise already.

However, organizations without the budget to invest in-house in a full cybersecurity team may have to rely on the software alone to identify threats. By contrast, MDR offers a complete service, combining all of the artificial intelligence of the SIEM or XDR platform with the skills and experience of human experts, and providing a practical answer to the challenge of recruiting and retaining talent.

Regulatory compliance

The best way to ensure compliance with data security and privacy regulations is to follow cybersecurity best practices.

Although no level of preparation or investment in cybersecurity can guarantee you won’t experience a data breach, it can significantly minimize the chance of your organization receiving expensive fines, class-action lawsuits or reputational damage that comes with failing to adequately prepare.

An MDR vendor will offer their guidance and experience to help you ensure greater levels of compliance, while reducing the likelihood of a data breach in the first place.

Scalable data architecture

Your organization doesn’t stand still, and neither should your cybersecurity solution.

As your business scales up or down, your network will as well, and it can be a challenge for organizations to stay on top of this internally. An MDR provider will deliver a dynamic and flexible data architecture that can scale with you on demand.


How is XDR different from MDR?

MDR is a security-as-a-service offering that provides continuous threat detection and response. XDR was originally a platform that provided a unified view of attack tools and vectors from across the complete IT environment. As different technologies were adde to XDR, it became a solution.

XDR is the modern security solution for organizations, providing a single source of truth for cybersecurity professionals, bringing together data from endpoints, servers, cloud applications, email clients and more all into one place.

However, the platform is only as good as the team leveraging it. It’s a powerful weapon against threats and attacks, but you need to know how to use it.

And this is where next-generation Managed Detection and Response comes in. MDR is a service provided by a specialized vendor that manages (and in some cases like Kudelski Security, provides) the XDR solution.

This service-orientated approach leverages XDR technology to identify, investigate and respond to threats, and combines expert analysis, response teams, and resilience building to secure organizations against cyber attacks.


How XDR impacts MDR

The evolving threat landscape requires an evolved solution, which is why MDR providers need to incorporate the principles of XDR into their solutions.

In the past, a cybersecurity tech stack was incredibly complex, with multiple tools all producing a huge amount of alerts and notifications that needed to be addressed. We’ve talked about how this is hard to manage for an organization’s in-house team, but it can be a challenge for MDR vendors too. XDR solutions  allow us to centralize and correlate all the sources in one place, removing the complexity and ensuring visibility across the whole environment with a single-pane view.


What can you expect from Kudelski Security’s MDR ONE Resolute?

MDR ONE Resolute is our answer to a unified, next-generation MDR solution that prioritizes cyber resilience.

Powered by our FusionDetect™ XDR platform, we go beyond the typical MDR service to deliver threat detection and response that is rapid, accurate and effective.

As you’d expect from a best-in-class XDR platform, MDR ONE Resolute ingests unlimited data from your entire network, and the key features include:

  1. High-performance data lake: Seamless ingestion, storage and organization of unlimited raw data and alerts from multiple sources.
  2. Advanced analytics at scale: Our detection engine is always up-to-date, and accelerates threat detection and investigation.
  3. 12-month ‘hot data’ retention: Historical data and events will be stored for a year by default, facilitating investigation and threat hunting.
  4. Intuitive client portal: Our client portal provides 24/7 access to dashboards, reporting, trends, response recommendations and more.
  5. Threat navigator: Our proprietary toolset maps to MITRE ATT&CK, providing visibility into security gaps and opportunities for improvement.
  6. High-quality incident escalation: In-depth investigation, optimized by AI, provides actionable insights and next steps for dealing with prioritized incidents.
  7. Resiliency guidance: The client portal provides resiliency recommendations to reduce exposure and help prevent future breaches.
  8. Real-time threat updates: Our platform will implement threat updates on-the-fly, reducing the amount of manual time required to do so.

Want to find out more about our MDR ONE Resolute solution? Talk to us today and discover how your organization’s network could be better protected.

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