MDR VS MSSP: Which one does your organization need?

understanding the difference between mdr and mssp

MDR VS MSSP: Which one does your organization need?

  Cyvatar | 05/26/2022

The cost of cybercrime is expected to grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. It will be more profitable than the global trade in all major illegal drugs combined.

With the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks increasing, organizations should do everything in their power to equip themselves with the necessary tools and skilled personnel.

On average, companies with fewer than 500 employees suffered losses of more than $2.5 million due to cyber attacks.

In this article, we are going to look at the managed cybersecurity solutions – MDR and MSSP. Many perceive them to be the same, but there are marked differences.

If you are looking to augment your cybersecurity, you might want to know about them and decide which is best suited for your organization.

There were on average 270 attacks per company over the year in 2021, an increase of 31% when compared with that of 2020. If you want to be in a position where you can tackle such attacks, then read on.

What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

It refers to outsourced cybersecurity services that are devised to protect your data and assets if the threat isn’t captured by common organizational security controls.

The MDR security services platform offers 24×7 security control whose security services include cloud-managed security for organizations that cannot maintain their own security operations center.

The MDR managed detection and response services use a suite of technologies such as threat intelligence, advanced analytics, and human expertise in incident investigation. The MDR market is expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2025.

MDR Services

Let us look at the different services under MDR and see how they protect an organization’s cybersecurity.

  1. Managed Prioritization

For organizations that have an immense number of alerts to take care of, the managed prioritization service helps. It applies automated rules and manual intervention to determine bad events and false positives from true threats.

  1. Threat detection

One of the most critical components of MDR services is threat detection. It requires high levels of expertise. The MDR service providers need to have a clear understanding of the business and the IT assets that are being protected.

To figure out which MDR service is best for your company, you should ask these kinds of questions:

  • Do you detect known and unknown threats by performing threat detection methodologies? Which techniques do you use?
  • Can your solution detect threats across multiple platforms?
  • Are they capable of detecting threats in cloud services?
  • What are the KPIs you use?
  • How do you integrate threat intelligence into your program?
  1. Threat investigation

It offers additional context to the security alerts, thereby helping the organization understand the threats on a deeper level. The organization will be able to plan an effective response as they will understand what happened, when it happened, and the nature of the attack.   

  1. Guided response

The MDR service provider offers actionable advice on the best way to contain and remediate specific threats. They advise the organization on how to eliminate a threat or recover from an attack.

  1. Remediation

Managed remediation ensures that the system goes back to its pre-attack state as it removes malware and intruders, cleans the registry, and removes persistence mechanisms. It ensures that the network is in a good state.

  1. Endpoint detection and response (EDR)

When you hire MDR service providers, they come with EDR tools and integrate them into detection, analysis, and response processes. It reduces the need for elaborate in-house endpoint security.

How to evaluate an MDR (Managed Detection and Response) service?

When you are assessing potential MDR service providers, you need to look for the following:

  1. Response rates

When you hire MDR services, you are promised 24×7 attention. They also promise that they will protect your data with an all-encompassing security plan that can detect and respond to attacks instantly.

Here are the following questions you need to ask them:

  • What is the response capability you have?
  • What percentage of the response actions are automated?
  • What is the client’s role in how you respond?
  • What is the approval process for response actions?

According to a recent Ponemon study, most companies take up to 206 days to identify security breaches.

Companies that contained such breaches in less than 30 days were able to save more than $1 million. MDR solutions can identify breaches in a few hours. You might want to know the response rate of the MDR service provider you intend to choose.

  1. Credible reporting

Do they provide credible reports on things like risk reports, compliance, and governance? It requires the ability to gather information from different systems in the organization. 

  1. Continuous research

Will they provide continuous research to augment security tools and technologies? You need to make sure that they have the capability to provide constant intelligence. 

  1. Custom responses

Check if they offer custom responses according to every organization’s unique environment.

What is MSSP in cyber security?

A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) offers management of security devices and systems, and outsourced monitoring. Some of the common services include a virtual private network, vulnerability scanning, antiviral services, managed firewall, and intrusion detection.

MSSP providers employ security operations centers to provide 24×7 services that are designed to reduce the number of security personnel an enterprise needs to maintain an acceptable level of security posture.

MSSPs can also provide businesses with an effective way to protect data and networks from external intrusions, and even manage to reduce the complexity of the process.

Most organizations that avail of MSSP services are large enterprises because of their ever-increasing and evolving cybersecurity threats.

The demand for managed security services market and MSSPs is expected to reach $43.7 billion by 2026.

MSSP Services

Let us look at the services under MSSP and how they will help your organization’s cybersecurity.

  1. On-site consulting

In this service, the MSSP does a detailed security analysis of the company’s network and identifies real-world threats and vulnerabilities. They find the security holes and help the organization fix them. 

  1. Perimeter management

Perimeter refers to a conceptual line that separates the organization’s internal assets from those that are public. The MSSP’s job here is to ensure that the network perimeter of the organization is safe and that all the devices inside it are well protected. 

  1. Managed security monitoring

It entails regular day-to-day monitoring and investigation of security events throughout the network.

  1. Compliance monitoring

It checks the organization’s compliance with policies and procedures for data security. The MSSP performs regular scans of the security devices and infrastructure. Based on the scan results, the MSSP will determine whether to change the security software or infrastructure. 

  1. Penetration testing and vulnerability assessments

These methods test the security of the organization’s technology assets and information systems. Penetration testing involves breaking into computer systems to uncover vulnerabilities that harmful agents may exploit. That said, pentesting is different from vulnerability scanning.

  1. Solution configuration and management

Cybersecurity solutions are best when they are configured with the help of experts. Organizations get expert security management when they hire MSSPs without having to hire the required talent in-house.

Get started with Freemium and experience the power of outsourced managed security

How to evaluate managed security service providers?

When trying to choose the best MSSP, these are the things that you should consider:

  • Make sure that the MSSP has staff who are experts in their field, including cybersecurity professionals.
  • Do the MSSP’s services match your organization’s needs?
  • Do they have trained staff who will be readily available 24×7 to respond to emergencies?
  • How do they deal with the sensitive information of the organization?
  • Assess the organization’s pricing and service levels and see if their services match your budget

Do remember that not every service offered by an MSSP is valuable to every organization. The right MSSP should be chosen based on the services they offer and how important they are to your organization.

Or you can choose an MSSP that provides cybersecurity services customized to your organization’s requirements.

Major differences between MDR and MSSP

Even though both MDR and MSSP provide cybersecurity managed services for an organization, the exact services offered differ significantly. 

An MDR acts like a complete replacement for the internal security operations center (SOC) of an organization. They have deep visibility into the organization’s network, and they are well placed to respond to ongoing threats or to act proactively to identify undetected risks.

mdr vs mssp

MSSPs act as a complement to the existing security team of the organization. It helps fight alert overloads and enables the security team to focus their efforts on bigger threats to the organization. MSSPs also offer support for incident response to an organization as required. 

Let us look at some of the other major differences between MDR and MSSP:

  1. Network visibility: MDRs possess the capability to detect events and movement within a client network. MSSPs focus only on the perimeter. 
  1. Log format: MDRs only use the logs that come with their tools, while MSSPs work with a wide variety of event logs and contexts. 
  1. Compliance: MSSPs focus on compliance reporting and help them meet compliance requirements. MDR does not focus on this. 
  1. Detection methods: MSSPs are not involved in analyses, but they focus more on threats that are known and that frequently occur. 
  1. Human interaction: MSSPs handle communications with the provider through online portals and emails. MDRs have experts who are available 24×7 in their security operations center (SOC) and can be reached through multiple channels. 
  1. Cost: The cost of security in MSSPs is distributed over their entire client base. Thereby, the MSSPs can independently support each client with a single appliance. Therefore, it is cheaper than MDR.
  1. Forensic tools: MSSPs offer comprehensive security, which is adequate for small and medium-sized businesses. MDR focuses deep into the network with its forensic tools.
  1. Secure endpoint management: MSSP offers multiple layers of security and they work on a preventative model with their secure endpoint management. MDR works more on a reactive model where it neutralizes a threat once it shows up.
  1. Remote device management: MDR allows for remote management only for their own technology stacks.

    In MSSPs, it is possible to use most common security controls, including intrusion detection systems (IDSs), web gateways, intrusion prevention systems (ISPs), firewalls, and the tools deployed with MDR-type services.

MDR vs MSSP: Which is the right service for your business?

When trying to choose between an MDR and an MSSP service provider, you need to consider the problem that the organization is facing and the maturity of the existing security program.

Let us look at when you need to choose either MDR or MSSP.

When to choose MDR?

MDR offers threat resolution and advanced monitoring.

You should choose an MDR:

  • If you have a regulatory requirement that you provide an advanced level of security
  • If you are looking to upgrade your cybersecurity to include 24×7 monitoring and intelligent response, but don’t have the requisite resources for it, then an MDR service provider is best suited to your needs.

MDR service providers are researching, analyzing, and detecting threats constantly so that they can address them quickly and efficiently. They are mainly focused on keeping everything working the way it should.

When to choose MSSP?

The following reasons should be good enough for startups and SMBs to go for an MSSP:

  • Looking for a well managed security monitoring system
  • Need an effective patching system
  • Looking for a team of affordable cybersecurity professionals

MSSP helps meet compliance requirements and provides incident response support.

Secure endpoint management (SEM) saves the day

SEM through an MSSP such as Cyvatar’s platform offers multiple layers of protection, each working in tandem with manual expert intervention to prevent an attack in the first place. It shuts the door on insider threats as well as external threats.

Learn how Cyvatar’s preventive, outcome-based cybersecurity is the right fit for startups and SMBs.

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