With the ever-growing cybersecurity threats companies face today and a shortage of cybersecurity talent, it’s no wonder that many are turning to MDR solutions. Ideally, managed detection and response (MDR) providers can help companies tackle problems like overburdened security teams, lack of expertise in cloud security, or alert noise. Choosing the right MDR provider for your organization is crucial, so it’s important to evaluate your options thoroughly before committing. To help you make an informed choice, we’ve compiled a list of 5 questions to consider when assessing an MDR provider.

1. Does It Extend Beyond the Endpoint?

It’s important to ensure that the solution you’re evaluating covers not just your endpoints but also your entire security tech stack, including cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and SaaS solutions as well. When you dig into the origin of many MDR providers, they started as managed EDR and may have a veneer of coverage outside of EDR. Endpoint-focused solutions are limited in what they can detect. An MDR solution with coverage beyond the endpoint can detect more threats across a wider area, providing a more comprehensive view of your environment.

For instance, an MDR solution that monitors cloud environments such as AWS, Azure, and GCP can detect suspicious activity, such as the creation of new accounts or access to sensitive data. By monitoring the activities of users and accounts on the cloud, the MDR solution can detect any unauthorized access attempts, giving you early warning of potential threats.

Moreover, many MDR solutions monitor email systems for malicious activity like phishing attempts. By closely monitoring your inboxes for suspicious emails, the MDR solution can quickly identify any malicious attempts to steal information or disrupt operations. In addition, an MDR solution with email monitoring capabilities can flag emails from known malicious actors before they reach their target.

By ensuring that your MDR solution extends beyond the endpoint to include cloud services and email systems, you can get a more comprehensive view of your security environment and have greater peace of mind.


2. Will You Have Visibility into Investigations?

When evaluating an MDR solution, you want to make sure that you’ll have visibility into investigations. It’s important to understand what happens after an incident is detected and how it is addressed. An investigation summary report is nice, but insufficient. You may want to participate in investigations and be “over the shoulder” of the analyst doing the investigation.

With the right MDR solution, you should have the opportunity to participate in or lead the investigative process rather than receiving after-action reports out of a “black box.” In your conversations with potential providers, ask questions about how your team can participate in the investigative process and interact with the MDR provider’s team.

If a provider does not offer transparency and visibility into investigations, the MDR solution may not go far enough for your organization. Transparency is essential for understanding how threats are identified, what steps are taken to address them, and how potential damage can be mitigated. Ensure you get current information and analytics that allow you to make informed decisions and effectively manage your security operations.

3. Can You Keep Your Current Tech Stack?

You already have a set of cybersecurity tool investments that you have tuned and optimized. How will an MDR provider fit into that existing environment? You want your provider to accommodate you, not the other way around. Look for vendors that can leverage what you already have today and provide flexibility to support what might emerge in the future. Avoid deploying additional software agents that might cause compatibility or performance issues.

The best providers should be able to integrate with your existing tools, whether they are SIEMs, cloud services, or security analytics solutions. Your MDR provider should be able to easily integrate with the technologies you’re using in your organization, so there’s no need to add extra agents or additional layers of complexity. Any APIs should be bi-directional—ingesting information to make decisions and then taking action through your existing toolset. Make sure that the provider offers APIs and automation options supporting your toolset so you can create seamless workflows across all your systems and get the most out of your MDR service.


4. Does It Support Multiple SIEMs or Clouds?

Security telemetry is no longer restricted to endpoints. As you leverage infrastructure-as-a-service offerings or deploy Microsoft E5 tools, you might end up with more than one security information and event management (SIEM) system for telemetry and analytics. There is a cost issue that comes into play. Having a single SIEM might impose the cost of data egress feeds from your cloud provider. You want to use your telemetry where it lives without having to worry about expensive data transport or egress fees, and that means supporting multiple SIEMs and clouds. The right MDR solution should offer an open platform and the flexibility to integrate with your existing security infrastructure.


5. Does It Provide Actionable Metrics?

There is the old saw that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Metrics allow you and the MDR provider to have a more fruitful relationship. Metrics such as the number of events per day may provide a basic level of visibility into your security posture, but these metrics alone do not provide enough information to make informed business decisions.

Rather than settling for basic security metrics, look for an MDR solution that can provide more advanced and actionable metrics to help you mature your security posture. These metrics should include details about the level of visibility you have into your environment, any gaps in detection coverage and how to address them, and team performance metrics like mean time to respond (MTTR).

Being able to measure and track these metrics can help you identify gaps in your security program, determine which areas need to be improved, and make more informed decisions about security investments. An MDR solution with advanced metrics can enable you to accurately assess your current security posture and make better-informed decisions about how to improve it going forward.


Go Beyond Traditional MDR with a Security Operations Platform

MDR solutions are often the go-to choice for organizations that need to monitor and respond to threats quickly. However, they often have limitations, particularly for organizations that are looking to improve their security posture and grow their security maturity. To take your security program to the next level, it’s important to consider investing in a security operations platform like ReliaQuest GreyMatter.

ReliaQuest GreyMatter is an innovative solution that takes MDR to the next level, offering a comprehensive approach to security operations that is both transparent and measurable. With GreyMatter, you can gain better visibility into threat investigations, automate playbooks with bi-directional integrations with your existing tech stack, and monitor security operations for gaps and improvement over time. The powerful GreyMatter platform unlocks a new level of intelligence and control, making it the ideal solution for organizations looking to take their security operations to the next level.