Why You Need Managed Detection and Response (MDR) to Safeguard Your Business

Cybersecurity experts have proclaimed for years that when it comes to a cyberattack, it’s not a matter of if but when. Businesses and governments have been advised to shore up vulnerabilities in their organizational security protocols, be they insufficient firewalls and anti-malware software or employee ignorance of basic cybersecurity practices. Many firms have stepped up their security efforts by employing managed IT service providers to help them monitor logs and network activity more consistently and aggressively, manage device security more rigorously, and conduct routine vulnerability assessments, among other measures.

However, while these traditional managed security services can help mitigate the risk of a breach and the resulting damage, the growing volume of cyberattacks targeting corporations and government officials demands cybersecurity professionals uplevel their response. Recent high-profile attacks, such as the recent Parkland Corporation ransomware attack, illustrate that no business is safe from cyberattacks or attempts. And the growing magnitude of attacks necessitates ever more vigilance from businesses of all sizes and industries.

More complex attacks on the rise

Perhaps the most alarming new development is the increasing sophistication of these attacks. A recent Microsoft report highlighted the growth of credential harvesting and ransomware attacks and a preference among cybercriminals to attack IoT devices. “[T]hreat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets,” noted Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, in a related blog post. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware.

The report noted that in 2019, Microsoft alone blocked over 1 billion phishing emails designed to harvest access credentials. Further, cybercriminals have been capitalizing on widespread anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic to design effective snares to target individuals. Given the new vulnerabilities remote work presents, these threats can pose risks to their employers as well.

It’s much harder to enforce security policies when dealing with a remote and decentralized workforce. And businesses often forgo consistent and regularly updated employee cybersecurity awareness training. Many firms still have not patched the vulnerabilities that arose as they scrambled to establish remote work infrastructure. And others have not gotten a handle on insider threats, leading to increases in data leaks from inside the organization in late 2019 and 2020.

Ransomware attacks are also growing in frequency and sophistication. And not all such attacks are aimed at large corporations. Often small and midsize businesses and government agencies have glaring gaps in their security that make it easy for cybercriminals to demand a relatively large payout for a relatively small amount of effort. A business’s access credentials may be found for sale on the dark web due to some earlier breach or insider threat. Or a criminal may gain them through duplicitous emails targeting company employees.

Further, cybercriminals and ransomware gangs have become more knowledgeable about how best to extract ransoms from companies. They’ve become aware, for example, of when certain industries cannot afford downtime, as well as when businesses will typically forgo security system updates. And they’ve also targeted businesses more rapidly after first penetrating their network now than in the past.

How MDR Can Help You Manage Risk

To combat these growing threats, IT security services providers have developed Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services that help companies become more aware of the threats they face and respond to those threats more effectively. MDR typically focuses far more on threat detection, anomaly investigation, and response, leveraging sophisticated analytics tools and security event management. Vendors usually provide business clients with advanced security tools they can use to detect and identify complex threats. While these tools contain some level of automation, MDR is reliant on active human participation to be most effective.

MDR differs from managed security services (MSS) in several ways. MDR vendors focus on detecting and stopping threats, while MSS providers broadly monitor network security controls. Because MDR security tools are designed to investigate anomalies and identify threats, MDR vendors typically only deal with event logs generated by their tools. In contrast, MSS vendors typically work with multiple event log types. MSS vendors also typically handle compliance reporting, whereas MDR vendors typically do not. However, compared to MSS, MDR typically involves more human interaction with vendor staff, as you both will be collaborating on threat detection and response.

Many MDR providers will handle event investigations, which can help free your in-house IT staff from wading through false positives. Some also handle compliance issues as well. When evaluating potential MDR providers, it’s important that firms carefully assess each vendor’s services, technology stack, expertise, and capacity. And firms must evaluate each provider in light of their business or industry’s compliance requirements.

How Your Business Can Employ MDR to Minimize Risk

Cybersecurity threats continue to grow at a rapid pace. Businesses cannot afford to rely on traditional preventive security measures, no matter how robust. Criminals and criminal gangs continue to work 24/7 to develop new, more intricate attack methods designed to gain network access. You need MDR, which provides the right tools and expertise to identify emerging intrusion attempts and the support to deal with all incidents rapidly and effectively.

If you’re located in the Calgary or Southern Alberta area and want to safeguard your business or organization with MDR, Pure IT can help. Pure IT has been servicing small and medium-sized businesses for over 20 years, providing comprehensive cybersecurity solutions that help prevent cyberattacks and limit resultant costs and damages. Our expert staff will work round the clock to proactively investigate anomalies and detect and deal with threats. We also provide cybersecurity awareness training, baseline security assessments, and patch management services, as well as data protection solutions that fit your organizational needs.

Partnering with Pure IT is the first step towards safeguarding your business. Contact us today and to discuss MDR and other network security needs.

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