Reaching Strategic Outcomes With An MDR Service Provider: Part 4

February 2, 2021
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3 min read

This is the fourth in a five-part blog series on managed detection and response as it drives strategic security outcomes for businesses.

More and more managed detection and response (MDR) providers need to recognize their place among multicloud platforms. Today’s businesses often have data scattered among different cloud providers. Most vendors offer cloud-based services, after all. Therefore, it’s important for a multicloud MDR services platform to provide a way to pull in all relevant data sources when hunting for potential threats, regardless of the cloud provider.

Read on to learn about how modernizing is key to your MDR services platform.

And, catch up with the other parts of this series: We discuss alignment in Part 1; in Part 2, we focus protection; and in part 3, we highlight management.

How MDR Services Mesh With an Open, Multicloud Platform

More endpoint detection and response (EDR) platforms are becoming available. Therefore, it’s up to the MDR service provider to evaluate its usefulness for threat hunting as well as general endpoint detection capabilities. Some of the important questions to answer while evaluating a new EDR platform are:

  • Does the platform give the entire picture with regards to a process execution?
  • Can it look at file modifications, network connections, registry changes and more?
  • Does the platform allow custom threat intelligence to be included?
  • Can you easily add data from the EDR solution into a platform that can search across all data types in a multicloud environment?

The EDR platform an enterprise chooses to deploy is not an issue when working with an MDR service provider who is agnostic to which technology you use. This viewpoint allows you to pick the right solution for you with guidance from the MDR services provider. It also provides the option to switch platforms if the one you choose first does not perform as expected.

An arsenal of EDR platform offerings allows an MDR services provider to hit the ground running. Threat hunters are already trained on how to use the platform, which enables quicker responses to potential threats. This is even more important for an enterprise that may have just suffered an attack or breach that prompted the hiring of the MDR service provider.

Modernizing Threat Hunting

Endpoint data is only one of the pieces you can use during a threat hunt or incident response. Other resources such as proxy logs, firewall logs and intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system logs help to better paint the entire picture. However, the process of gathering these additional logs can be tedious and inefficient.

A platform that allows a threat hunter to search across all logs, including EDR data, can solve this problem. It reduces the amount of data collection needed and allows the threat hunter to begin looking at the data sooner. This platform should also allow for custom threat intelligence across all data sources and automated responses to high-fidelity threats to prevent more damage. It goes beyond what a SIEM solution can do.

The streamlined process of data collection and analysis allows MDR services providers to spot threats quicker. As a result, it may reduce the damage caused by malware. Adopting and creating new tools and techniques is an indicator that the MDR services provider is forward-focused and constantly looking for ways to improve its service to benefit its clients.

MDR Services for the Modern World

The use of cloud platforms is increasing, which requires MDR service providers to adapt in order to remain relevant and effective. Four important questions to keep in mind when picking MDR services are:

1. First, how many EDR platforms does the MDR services provider support?

2. Next, can the MDR services provider continue to provide the same level of service if the organization switches EDR platforms?

3. Does the service also correlate the endpoint data with other relevant sources?

4. Lastly, is the service forward-focused and looking to improve how it protects you?

In part five of this series, we will summarize the key takeaways from these discussions. We’ll explain specific questions to ask MDR services providers and learn more about IBM Security Managed Detection and Response Services.

Vincent Certoma
Senior Threat Hunter, IBM X-Force Services

Vincent Certoma is a Senior Threat Hunter with IBM's Managed Security Services. Prior to joining IBM, he held Digital Forensics and Incident Response positio...
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