Understanding Managed Detection and Response: What is MDR?

Elana Marom
September 2, 2021

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a security service designed to provide ongoing protection, detection, and response for cybersecurity threats. MDR solutions use machine learning to investigate, alert, and contain cyber threats at scale. Additionally, MDR solutions should include a proactive element, including the use of threat hunting to identify and remediate vulnerabilities or undetected threats within an enterprise’s IT environment.

As the name suggests, MDR should be a fully managed solution, on top of being an automated one. While MDR relies heavily on advanced technology for threat detection and rapid incident response, human analysts should also be involved in the process to validate alerts and ensure that the proper responses are taken.

According to Gartner, MDR services provide turnkey threat detection and response through remotely delivered, 24/7 security operations center capabilities. Gartner predicts that half of companies will partner with an MDR provider by 2025.

Read about our Managed Threat Detection and Response (MDR)

The Need for MDR

MDR has evolved to meet the cybersecurity needs of the modern enterprise. The rapid expansion of the cyber threat landscape and widespread use of automation by threat actors means that everyone is at risk of cyberattacks. These threats are evolving quickly with new ones introduced every day.

Detecting and responding to these advanced threats requires capabilities that many enterprises are lacking. On average, it takes six months for an enterprise to identify a data breach after it has occurred (the “dwell time”), a number that has doubled in the last two years. Additionally, the cost of a data breach continues to rise and is currently almost $4 million.

MDR is important because it provides enterprises with the security capabilities that they lack in-house. With MDR, enterprises can rapidly achieve the level of security needed to prevent, detect, and respond to advanced threats, as well as sustain these capabilities as cyber threats continue to evolve.

The Challenges MDR Confronts

A six-month dwell time demonstrates that businesses are struggling to identify and respond to cybersecurity incidents, due to various factors, including:

  • Lack of In-House Security Talent: The cybersecurity industry is experiencing a talent gap with an estimated 3.1 million unfilled roles worldwide, and 64% of enterprises struggle to find qualified security talent. With MDR, enterprises can leverage external talent and resources to fill security gaps.
  • Complex Security Tools: Security solutions may require careful tuning to an enterprise’s environment, which requires expertise with these tools. MDR eliminates the need for enterprises to maintain these skills in-house.
  • Security Alert Overload: The average enterprise’s security operations center (SOC) receives over 10,000 security alerts per day, which can easily overwhelm a security team. MDR only notifies the enterprise of threats that require their attention.
  • Advanced Threat Prevention and Preparation: Preventing, detecting, and remediating attacks by threat actors requires specialized knowledge and expertise. The MDR service includes incident prevention, detection, and response.

MDR by Cato

Cato offers MDR services to its Cato SASE Cloud customers. Some of the key features of Cato MDR include:

  • Zero-Footprint Data Collection: Cato’s MDR and Zero-Day threat prevention services are built on Cato Cloud, its cloud-native SASE network. With network visibility and security built into the network infrastructure itself, there is no need for additional installations.
  • Automated Threat Hunting: Cato performs automated threat hunting, leveraging big data and machine learning to identify anomalous and suspicious traffic across its platform. Cato’s rich dataset and wide visibility enable it to rapidly and accurately identify potential threats.
  • Human Verification: The results of Cato’s automated analysis are verified by human security analysts. This prevents action from being taken based on false positive detections.
  • Network Level Threat Containment: Cato controls the infrastructure that all network traffic flows over and has application-layer visibility into traffic. This enables Cato to isolate infected systems at the network level.
  • Guided Remediation: Cato provides guidance to help enterprises through the process of remediating a cybersecurity incident. This helps to ensure that the threat has been eliminated before quarantine is lifted and normal operations are restored.

Cato’s MDR has immediate ‘time to value’ because it can roll out immediately with no additional solution deployment required. To learn more about Cato SASE Cloud and Cato MDR service, contact us. In our next post, MDR: The Benefits of Managed Detection and Response, we take a look at a number of key benefits that enterprises can expect when partnering with an MDR provider.

Elana Marom

Elana Marom is a full stack marketer with over 20 years of experience in both startups and enterprises. As Director of Product Marketing at Cato Networks, Elana is passionate about raising awareness for SASE and helping customers leverage its value to prepare their business for whatever is next.