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Beyond Basic MDR, with SOC-as-a-Service

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The healthcare and financial industries are most often in the crosshairs of cybercriminals, but in the past year, we’ve seen that no industry is immune. From attacks on the entertainment industry to food and beverage companies and critical infrastructure, threats continue to evade or bypass security controls and processes.

Businesses suffered 50% more cyberattacks per week in 2021 than the previous year. Whether due to ransomware, fileless malware, spear phishing, supply chain attacks or other advanced threats, organizations have started to recognize the importance of improving their detection and response capabilities. As a result, many are turning to managed detection and response (MDR) services to address this critical security need.

Let’s explore MDR and SOC-as-a-Service: we’ll take a look at both the strengths and limitations of traditional MDR services, and how SOC-as-a-Service differs.

Traditional MDR vs. SOC-as-a-Service: Advantages of Managed Detection and Response

MDR offers a compelling value proposition for organizations that lack the resources, expertise and staff to implement a holistic detection and response capability, 24/7.

IT professionals compare MDR vs. SOC-as-a-service on two computer monitors

For many, the ability to staff a 24/7 SOC and manage the related technologies is cost-prohibitive, and beyond their means or interests. Organizations that either do not have a SOC can benefit from outsourcing to an MDR provider. By doing so, IT and security teams are able to stay ahead of threats even while dealing with an expanding attack surface and the growing volume and sophistication of threats.

Limitations of Traditional Managed Detection and Response

While there are a number of important advantages of outsourcing to MDR service provider, there are also some very significant challenges and limitations that need to be explored. 

  • Narrow Data Sources: Managed Detection and Response services often rely on a relatively narrow or curated set of data sources, which means customers may have to deploy a specific endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution. As well many MDR providers support a narrow set of data sources. As a result the breadth and fidelity of threats detected may be limited or significantly less than optimal.
  • No SIEM: MDR services don’t provide clients with the benefits of having their own SIEM for log storage and compliance purposes. In addition, they often lack transparency, meaning clients may not have full visibility into the threats being investigated. Nor will they have the ability to customize rules or create specialized use cases to support their requirements.
  • Recommendations not Remediation: Many MDR vendors will simply provide clients with recommended mitigation measures, and not be able to actively respond to threats. While this may be sufficient for some organizations, it imposes a greater resource (staffing) requirement on clients, and can potentially introduce delays in the response process. MDR vs. SOC-as-a-Service

Keep in mind that there are many MDR providers on the market, and not all services are similar. The Gartner1 Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services report states that: “The number and variety of MDR providers continue to grow rapidly in an established, but competitive market. Buyers are challenged to differentiate among the variations in delivery approaches and technologies used by MDR service providers.”

It’s important to understand the difference between those that provide traditional or basic MDR services, and those that provide SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS). SOCaaS is a form of MDR service, but it provides a more comprehensive, flexible, transparent and, most importantly, more effective approach to it.

SOCaaS combines experts, a specialized next-gen SIEM platform, and threat intelligence and processes, and delivers them as a service via the cloud. There are several key advantages that SOCaaS offers that distinguish it from traditional MDR services:

  1. You get a full, modern, cloud-native, next-generation SIEM platform as part of the service
  2. Transparency through a co-managed SaaS so that you can fully participate alongside the vendors’ analysts in threat investigations
  3. An open technology stack so you can take advantage of the existing EDR and other security solutions you’ve already invested and leverage data from the broadest range of sources (cloud, IoT, infrastructure, etc), to ensure the threat detection processes is comprehensive and generates more accurate, higher fidelity detections.
  4. Active response, not just recommendations for the response that should be taken

Go Beyond Traditional MDR to SOCaaS

Security leaders recognize that threat detection and response is a top priority. Adversaries have demonstrated that they can bypass most defenses, which is why threat detection and response has become an essential security function. Understanding the difference between a traditional MDR and. SOC-as-a-Service is important. 

Are you evaluating MDR vendors? In this white paper, we take a deeper look at five ways that SOC-as-a-Service goes beyond basic MDR services and outline key questions you should ask a vendor to make sure their offerings are up to par. If you’re ready to learn more about Cysiv’s leading SOCaaS platform, get a demo today.

1. Gartner, “Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services,” Toby Bussa, Kelly Kavanagh, Pete Shoard, John Collins, Craig Lawson, Mitchell Schneider, 26 August 2020.