Article

Modern Incident Detection and Response Capabilities

Open-CISO

Detection and Response when the Assets require Protection

The cybersecurity industry is known for coining new terms and acronyms to ease the practitioner's life and stand out in the crowd. For IT professionals, everyday buzzwords will come across as gibberish to strategic decision-making and technologically novice customers. We often encounter many confusing definitions and technical jargon that can probably create a barrier to understanding the actual solution advantages and the outcomes to internal executives and the customers. Unfortunately, definitions for identical terms can vary from vendor to vendor, creating more challenges. This has caused the business, and IT leaders total confusion on what cybersecurity solutions are genuinely needed by the organizations and which are redundant.

XDR Definition

XDR stands for - Extended Detection and Response, a new threat detection approach that provides holistic Protection against cyberattacks, unauthorized access, and misuse. This term was coined by Nir Zuk, CTO (Palo Alto Networks), in the year 2018. To deliver detection and response across all data sources, XDR breaks down traditional security silos. XDR is a SaaS-based (Security as a service), vendor-specific, security threat detection, and incident response tool that integrates multiple security products into a connected security operations system. How Does XDR Work? XDR brings an energetic approach towards threat detection and response. It provides visibility into data across clouds, networks, and endpoints while applying analytics and automation to address the increasingly sophisticated threats in today's age. With the help of XDR, security teams can:

  • Quickly identify stealthy, hidden, and sophisticated threats
  • Ease in tracking threats across any source or location within the organization
  • Improve the productivity of the people operating the technology
  • Get more facilities out of their security investments
  • Efficiently conclude investigations Considering XDR from a business point of view, it enables organizations security against cyberattacks and strengthens security processes. This results in the business better serving their customers and accelerating digital transformation – because when users, data, and applications of an organization are protected, companies can concentrate on strategic priorities.

XDR Benefits Blocking attacks with the help of powerful endpoint protection and leveraging AI-based regional analysis and Behavioural Threat Protection to stop malware, exploits, and file-less attacks to the organization.

  • Improved visibility across the network, endpoint, and cloud data: Collection of data from Palo Alto Networks and third-party tools to detect, triage, investigate, hunt, and respond to threats.
  • Ability to detect sophisticated attacks automatically around the clock.
  • Investigation simplified with automated root cause analysis and unified incident engine, resulting in a tremendous reduction in alerts and lowering the skill required to triage alerts.
  • Eradication of threats without disrupting businesses. Crackdown attacks while avoiding user or system downtime.
  • Ability to eliminate advanced threats such as malicious insiders, ransomware, external threats, policy violations, file-less and memory-only attacks, and advanced zero-day malware.
  • Ability to detect Indicator of Compromise (IOCs) to disrupt every stage of an attack and prioritize analysis with incident scoring.
  • Ability to fleetly recover from an attack by removing malicious files and restoring damaged files and registry keys.
  • Extension in the investigation, detection, and response to third-party data sources. Enable behavioral analytics on logs collected from third-party firewalls while integrating third-party alerts into a unified incident view and root cause analysis for faster, more effective investigations.

MDR Definition

MDR stands for Managed Detection and Response. It is a Saas-based (Security as a service) service designed as an alternative to an in-house Security Operations Centre (SOC). An MDR solution provides access to the tools and security experts an organization needs to protect itself against cyber threats. An MDR provider offers network monitoring and incident investigation and response round-the-clock. Deployment of MDR solutions is within the organization's range, which helps in providing deeper visibility and more detailed Protection than other managed security service offerings. In addition, an organization gains access to leading security technologies with MDR on their sides, such as endpoint detection and response (EDR), and specialized expertise, such as threat hunting or cloud security. Thus resulting, the organization aggressively deploys a functional SOC or increases the efficiency of an in-house security team. How does MDR Works? The MDR casually monitors, detects, and responds to threats within the organization. Security endpoints can get necessary visibility using an endpoint detection and response (EDR) tool. Data relevant to forensic, advanced analytics, and threat intelligence are passed down to human analysts, skilled in analyzing alerts and determining the appropriate response to reduce the impact and risk. In the end, with the help of human and machine capabilities combined, the threat is executed, and the endpoint that was affected is restored to its pre-infected/original state.

MDR Benefits

  • Prioritization: Organizations that struggle with the daily efforts of going through their massive volume of alerts can be resolved with the help of managed prioritization, as we would be able to determine which alert to address first. Managed prioritization can enforce automated rules and human examination to differentiate events and false positives from actual threats. The results are full of additional context and passed into a stream of high-quality alerts.
  • Threat Hunting: The human being responsible for the threat would be thinking about avoiding getting caught by the targets' countermeasures. While machines are ingenious, a human mind is needed to add the element that no automated detection system can provide in certain situations. For example, mortal threat hunters can identify and alert on the stealthiest threats to catch with their skills and expertise, which the machine defense system would have missed.
  • Investigation: Managed investigation services help organizations understand threats and risks faster by providing security alerts with additional information. Organizations can more thoroughly understand what caused it, when it occurred, who was affected, and how far the attacker could infiltrate. They can plan for an effective response or use the information for future mitigation with all this information.
  • Guided Response: Guided response provides actionable advice on the best way to handle a specific threat. Organizations are advised on activities as basic as whether the system is to be isolated from the network to more sophisticated, such as eliminating a threat or recovering from an attack on a detailed step-by-step basis.
  • Remediation: Managed remediation restores the systems to their original state by removing malware, registry clean-up, and keeping intruders at bay. The main agenda of managed remediation is to make sure the network is returned to a known good state and compromises in the future can be prevented.

Managed Detection and Response Benefits

MDR providers act as a full-service outsourced Security Operations Centre for their customers, and partnering with an MDR provider carries several benefits:

  • 24/7 Monitoring: Since cyberattacks can happen anytime, constant Protection is crucial for rapid response to threats. The MDR providers offer round-the-clock monitoring and Protection.
  • Proactive Approach: MDR offers proactive security services, such as vulnerability assessments and threat hunting. With the identification and closure of security holes, MDR helps to reduce cyber risk and the likelihood of a successful cybersecurity incident.
  • Excellent Intelligence: Broad and deep visibility capabilities into client networks are provided by the MDRs. This enables them to develop and use threat intelligence during incident detection and response.
  • Experienced Analysts: MDR provides customers with skilled cybersecurity professionals to shorten the skill gaps. This helps meet the headcount and ensure that customers have access to specialized skill sets when they need them.
  • Vulnerability Management: Due to the complexity and time consumption of Vulnerability management, many companies fall behind. MDR providers can help with patching, identifying vulnerable systems, and installing the latest updates.
  • Advanced Compliance: MDR providers have expertise in regulatory compliance, and their solutions are designed in such a way that it meets the requirements of rules and regulations.

MDR vs. XDR

The primary role of MDR and XDR is to help security teams within an organization with the struggles these teams face around increasing workloads and limited resources to work with. But in the end, both MDR and XDR approach the problem in their unique way. MDR solves these challenges faced by security teams by providing the internal security team of the organization with external resources. The MDR providers will offer an external Security Operations Centre that deals with most or all the duties necessary to monitor and protect an organization's IT infrastructure. There is a high probability that the MDR provider would use XDR solutions. Still, they will be operated or managed by the external SOC analysts rather than the available in-house team. As a result, an organization can cut down on high costs for security compared to maintaining similar SOC in-house and ensuring on-demand access to expert security talent when partnering with an MDR provider. In contrast, XDR is the tool that provides the solution to the challenges by simplifying them and allowing the analysts to do their jobs. By providing visibility on the organization's security architecture and automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, the XDR frees up security staff from these tasks and helps them concentrate on investigation and addressing potential threats to the business. Both solutions can improve an organization's ability to identify and respond to security threats. However, which solution is suitable for an organization ultimately depends on the maturity of the security team that the organization already has and its unique security requirements and business needs.

What is an MSSP?

A managed security services provider (MSSP), traditionally outsourced managed cybersecurity, performs remote monitoring of the customer's environment to detect potential events or threats. If any disturbance is detected, the MSSP would report them to the customer and take the appropriate action. This, in turn, reduces an organization's vulnerability to potential threats. MSSPs are careful in ensuring that their customers possess the latest monitoring technology without facing the burden of acquiring, configuring, and monitoring it themselves. In addition, the ability to outsource monitoring means that an organization can concentrate its limited internal cybersecurity resources on major security tasks that need extra focus. MSSPs take an aggressive role in protecting their clients' systems from potential cybersecurity incidents. They provide virus scanning, firewall management, and similar preventive actions. Both the MSSP and the client benefit here since the probability of a security incident is decreased if the client's network implements best cybersecurity practices. Benefits of an MSSP The primary purpose of MSSP is to replace an organization's internal security team. By partnering with an MSSP, a company receives several benefits:

  • Filling Vacant Roles: The cybersecurity skills gap is a significant problem these days. Thus, filling vacant positions on an organization's internal security team can be difficult and expensive. Partnership with an MSSP allows the organization to serve its internal security team's required skills gap or replace it entirely with appropriate candidates.
  • Accessibility to Specialist Expertise: Organizations require access to specialized cybersecurity expertise (such as threat or malware analysts or forensics specialists) from time to time. An MSSP makes the expertise required of the in-house security team available.
  • Round-the-Clock Protection: Cyberattacks can occur at any time of the day, not particularly during business hours. The MSSP should provide a 24/7 Security Operations Centre, continuously monitoring and responding to potential cyberattacks.
  • Increased Security Maturity: Many organizations, tiny and medium-sized businesses, lack the level of cybersecurity maturity they should possess. With the MSSP, these businesses can deploy a mature cybersecurity solution within no time.
  • Solution Configuration and Management: Cybersecurity solutions configured and managed by an expert are the most effective. Partnership with the MSSP benefits the organization with expert security configuration and management without paying to have the required talent in-house.
  • Compliance Support: New data protection regulations are growing daily (such as the GDPR and the CCPA) with existing laws (like HIPAA and PCI DSS). The MSSP can help with the collection of data and the generation of reports for showcasing compliance during company or external audits.

MDR Vs. MSSP

Organizations and businesses have always turned to managed security service providers (MSSPs) to fulfill their external security needs. In contrast, the MDR providers can detect lateral movement within a network. MSSPs usually work with rule-based detections and perimeter-based technology to identify potential threats. The types of threats that MSSPs handles are known threats, such as malware reoccurrence, exploitation of vulnerabilities, and high-volume attacks. MSSPs provide security professionals who perform log monitoring, management, and analysis but do not perform in-depth analysis. As a result, MSSPs can manage an organization's security only at the perimeter level, and their study does not involve extensive forensics, threat research, and analytics. MSSPs usually communicate via email or phone with security professionals while MDR providers carry out 24/7 continuous monitoring, which some MSSPs may not usually offer. As a result, management of firewalls and other daily security-related needs of an organization's network is a task that is more apt for an MSSP than an MDR provider, which offers a more specialized service. MSSPs provide service level agreements, i.e., SLAs for incident detection and response, whereas MDR rarely provides SLAs.

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