Growing cybersecurity threats and talent shortages are driving companies to MDR solutions. 

Ideally, MDR providers can help companies tackle challenges like overburdened security teams, lack of expertise in cloud security, and excessive alert noise. Gartner states “MDR service providers deliver these capabilities using a variable combination of technologies — these are commonly endpoint- and network-driven but increasingly involve cloud services layers, SaaS and custom applications.”  

Modern MDR solutions have evolved far from the traditional service of alert monitoring and notifications. They can use any combination of tools, technology and people to deliver a robust threat detection and response service. 

How will a MDR Solution fit with your SOC or security team? Consider these things below to start evaluating.

10 Things to Consider 

#1 Transparent Investigations and A Unified View of Your Environment 

MDR technologies often act as a “black box,” lacking a unified interface for effective collaboration between customer and provider throughout the TDIR process. Security teams need detailed investigative insights, not just reports, to respond effectively. With the right MDR solution, you should have the opportunity to participate in or lead the investigative process rather than receiving after-action reports. Organizations need a unified view of their data and tool inputs, as well as transparency during ongoing threat investigation to be able to make decisions in a timely manner. 

#2 Compatibility with Your Existing Tech Stack 

Most MDR providers operate with a specific set of security tools, requiring new customers to rip and replace their existing technology stack, regardless of its effectiveness or previous investment value.     

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? 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.  

Even in cases where MDR providers allow organizations to utilize some of their own tools, this often results in integration difficulties that can create gaps in the organizations’ security coverage. 

#3 Detection Beyond EDR  

Many MDR providers that originally offered managed EDR solutions are now trying to broaden their services to stay competitive. Yet, their primary focus remains on EDR alerts, which means organizations might lack essential context and often find themselves with insufficient security coverage beyond their endpoints. For instance, you want to ensure that an MDR extends beyond the endpoint to include detection of cloud services and email systems. 

#4 Actionable Threat Intelligence

MDR providers often restrict the use of custom threat feeds and do not scan the dark web to understand potential threats to an organization’s brand.  Organizations might miss crucial insights, seeing only a partial threat landscape.  

#5 Key Reporting Metrics  

Organizations require metrics to demonstrate their posture and improvement. However, MDR providers frequently miss key metrics like threat coverage, visibility, MITRE ATT&CK mapping, MTTR, and alert reduction, hindering security leaders from effectively communicating their value to the business. 

#6 Configuration to Your Environment  

MDR providers may vary in their ability to tune their services to meet specific customer needs. Some providers offer standardized service packages with predefined rules and playbooks, while others provide a more tailored approach with the flexibility to align their services with the customer’s unique security requirements. Configurability may include tuning detection rules specific to a customer environment, incident response processes, or integration with customer-specific technologies. 

#7 Supporting Multiple SIEMs and 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. 

#8 Predictable and Straightforward Cost  

Is the cost predictable and straightforward? Organizations need to know if the cost for an MDR offering enables them to scale or change their service as their business requirements change.   

Is Monitoring 24/7? They also need to know if 24/7/365 coverage really means continuous monitoring or whether it applies only to a limited number of security events.  

Is threat hunting included in the cost? The logic behind MDR is to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. With that in mind, advanced MDRs offer threat hunting and attack simulation capabilities to their customers. Check if these services are available and if they incur extra fees. 

#9 Detection Content  

Who owns the detection content? Organizations need to consider the prospect of parting ways with their MDR provider. If this happens, will they keep the detection content that the provider generated from them? Or will they need to start over while they look for another provider, leaving themselves exposed in the process? 

#10 Automation Capabilities  

What automation capabilities does the provider offer? Speed is everything when it comes to response. Hence the need for automation throughout the entire threat detection and response workflow. Automation capabilities such as deduplicating alerts, culling historical false positives, enriching investigations with threat intelligence, and automatic response plays are crucial in reducing MTTR and mitigating threats. 

ReliaQuest Moves Beyond the Limitations of MDR Solutions

Building your security program is a complex challenge. ReliaQuest partners with you to advance your security program, focusing on both threat detection and overall operations. Learn more about how GreyMatter, our security operations platform, unifies and streamlines your entire security operations.