What is MDR and how will it transform security for SMEs?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is an outsourced cybersecurity service designed to protect data and assets even when threats bypass an organization’s standard security controls. .

What is MDR?

The MDR .’s approach to security primarily focused on protection against sophisticated malware, ransomware and Advanced Persistent Threats (APT), which cannot be detected by traditional security tools. It complements solutions such as legacy antivirus, firewall, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), providing a second layer of protection in the event that an attacker breaches these layers of protection.

MDR has two or three elements: a software platform deployed in the protected organization, threat intelligence and advanced analysis techniques, and a team of human experts. These professionals manage the platform remotely, analyze security data, and use it to detect and respond to threats.


Most MDR services are based on endpoint detection and response (EDR) technology. EDR is a endpoint security technology was introduced in 2013 and has quickly become an essential part of modern security toolkits.

EDR solutions are deployed on end devices, such as workstations, servers, and employee mobile devices. They use advanced behavioral analysis to detect suspicious activity on an endpoint, send alerts to security teams, and can automatically block some attacks, such as by stopping a process. suspicious software or isolate an endpoint from the network. Security professionals can use the EDR platform to further investigate incidents and stop threats.

SMB . Security Challenges

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) are the main engine of the global economy. However, SMEs face a number of cybersecurity challenges. For example, most businesses fear cyberattacks could severely affect their bottom line, even causing them to shut down their business.

Unfortunately, cybersecurity breaches are extremely common, with more than a third of SMBs reporting incidents within the past five years. Unfortunately, some smaller businesses ignore security concerns, believing they are too difficult to prevent or are just a significant problem for large businesses.

Of the breaches experienced by SMBs, the most common type of incident is a phishing attack. Other significant risks include lost or stolen devices (especially laptops), CEO fraud, and ransomware (freezing or deleting data for ransom). Additionally, scammers often use existing concerns to trick employees into revealing sensitive information — for example, some phishing emails have exploited fear related to the COVID-19 pandemic to invade. account violation.

The CEO scam is a decoy that tricks employees into taking instructions in a phishing email that appears to be from the company CEO. Usually, email asks for an urgent payment for some business purpose.

Summary of Security Challenges for SMBs

  • Many companies and employees are aware of the threats.
  • However, businesses do not adequately protect their sensitive data.
  • Companies lack the budget to implement security measures.
  • There is currently a shortage of cybersecurity professionals.
  • The SMB region lacks adequate security guidelines.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many SMBs face additional security challenges. As a result, companies must find new ways to provide service to customers and allow employees to continue working during shutdowns or isolation to keep their businesses running. Typically, this involves turning to an online business to support a remote workforce.

However, moving online (i.e. to the cloud) and providing remote access to sensitive corporate applications and data presents additional security threats and requires a New approach to network security.

Why is MDR important for SMEs?

When EDR solutions were introduced, they were adopted by many SMBs because of their ability to identify and stop harmful cyber attacks as they happen. For example, an EDR solution can effectively detect and block new and unknown ransomware attacks that can cripple an unprepared organization.

However, most SMEs that have purchased EDR find that they cannot run it efficiently. An SMB organization typically doesn’t have dedicated, in-house security staff, and security is handled by IT administrators. These IT professionals don’t have the time and training to learn how to use EDRs and configure them properly.

Even when in-house professionals can use an EDR system, they often don’t have time to review all the high-priority alerts and react to them. Worse yet, the global shortage of cybersecurity skills means that even if an SMB organization chooses to hire a security team – it may not find the right candidate and may not be able to pay salaries. according to their request.

The natural choice is to outsource the EDR to an outside vendor. This is exactly what MDR offers — an MDR service that provides EDR software, along with dedicated security experts who can use it for network and endpoint monitoring, incident analysis, and incident response. try.

MDR has several advantages for an SMB organization over using EDR:

  • Lower upfront costs, no need to purchase EDR software and associated infrastructure.
  • No need to deploy and configure EDR (time consuming and requires expertise)
  • Access to skilled security professionals trained in EDR solutions.
  • Vendor experts have time to review all relevant security alerts and respond to relevant threats.
  • Expert use of EDR can lead to a much higher chance that critical incidents will be dealt with quickly and efficiently, preventing data breaches.
  • MDR experts can provide input to an SMB organization, helping it improve its security practices to prevent further attacks.

The MDR service can provide the following security benefits:

  • Protection against zero-day attacks and evolving attack vectors.
  • Protects against sophisticated threats that can bypass existing security measures.
  • Prevent critical incidents from escalating into full-blown data breaches.
  • Recovery time should be faster, which can have a big impact in the event of a breach.
  • There is no need to recruit external incident response services when a major attack occurs. This is costly and also less efficient when these services are recruited at the last minute.

Review of MDR . services

Here are the most important criteria that you should evaluate when considering an MDR service for your SMB organization:

  • Read third-party reports about the service’s ability to respond to threats that bypass active security controls.
  • EDR and other technology reviews service-powered — prefer a proven platform deployed by reputable organizations in your industry.
  • Evaluate automated security responses provided by the supplier’s technology. Some MDR solutions can orchestrate existing security tools, such as automatically defining firewall rules or reconfiguring network segments to block malicious traffic.
  • Understand how providers implement remote management—For example, the level of access they require to local systems, how they work with cloud environments, and how much they interact with internal teams.
  • Determine the impact of compliance of MDR services. For example, some regulations or standards may restrict how you work with the MDR service.
  • Service level rating provided and whether the MDR service is truly end-to-end, from monitoring to incident detection, containment, destruction, and recovery. If certain parts of the process are not handled by the vendor, consider how you would handle them with internal teams.
  • Threat intelligence assessment and analysis platform capabilities, are the key differentiators between vendors.
  • Ask the supplier how to customize options and whether you can tailor the MDR service to your organization’s specific needs and technical settings.


In this article, I explained the basics of MDR and showed how it can be a game changer for SMB security. In particular, MDR can provide the following unique capabilities that a small business would not be able to achieve:

  • Protection against zero-day attacks and evolving attack vectors
  • Protects against sophisticated threats that bypass existing security measures
  • Identify critical incidents and prevent them from escalating
  • Quick recovery after major incidents
  • Instant access to outside security expertise

I hope this helps as you take your small business security to the next level.

Featured image credit: Provided by the author; Vecteezy; Thank you!

Gilad Maayan

Technology writer

I’m a technology writer with 20 years of experience, working with leading technology brands including SAP, Imperva, Check Point and NetApp. Three-time international technical communication award winner. Today I lead Agile SEO, the leading content and marketing company in the technology industry.

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