Comparing Managed Detection & Response with Security Information & Event Management

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”]
[et_pb_row admin_label=”row”]
[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]

The threat has not diminished

At a time when cyber threats continue to evolve and become ever more sophisticated, it is essential organisations deploy the most robust security solutions to protect their systems, digital assets and sensitive data.

In the realm of cybersecurity, there are two approaches that are expected to deliver similar outcomes, although some confusion exists as to the difference between Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).

Both are critical for detecting and mitigating threats. However, they serve different purposes and have distinct features that separate them, which we will cover in this blog post, as we conduct an in-depth comparison of MDR vs SIEM.

Managed Detection & Response (MDR)

MDR is a comprehensive, outsourced cybersecurity service that provides continuous monitoring, threat detection and rapid incident response. MDR providers typically offer a range of services, including threat hunting, security analysis and incident investigation.

Some of the key features of MDR, include:

  • Continuous Monitoring: real-time 24/7 monitoring of an organisation’s network and endpoints, allows for the immediate detection of suspicious activities and potential threats.
  • Threat Detection: advanced threat detection tools and techniques, including behavioural analytics, anomaly detection, and signature-based identify security incidents.
  • Incident Response: rapid incident response includes isolating affected systems, containing the threat and conducting thorough investigations to understand the scope of the breach.
  • Threat Intelligence: leverage threat intelligence feeds to remain current with emerging threats and vulnerabilities to help organisations defend against new attack vectors.
  • Security Expertise: teams of security experts, who have deep knowledge of cybersecurity threats and tactics, are crucial for effective threat detection and response.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is a technology that aggregates and analyses security data from a variety of sources within an organisation, to help identify and respond to security incidents, manage compliance, and gain insights into their security posture.

Some of the key features of SIEM, include:

  • Log Collection: logs and events from various sources, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and servers are collected and centralised, to provide visibility into network activities.
  • Correlation and Analysis: correlation rules and analytics identify patterns and anomalies in the collected data to help detect potential security incidents.
  • Alerting: alerts are generated when suspicious activities or events are detected, that match predefined criteria, which can then be investigated by security teams.
  • Compliance Reporting: tools assist organisations in meeting regulatory compliance requirements by providing reports on security events and activities.
  • Historical Data Analysis: historical data is stored to enable organisations to conduct forensic investigations and identify the root causes of security incidents.

Comparing MDR with SIEM

To fully understand which of the approaches might best suit your organisation, we need to undertake a detailed comparison of MDR and SIEM, considering a variety of aspects:

  • Threat Detection and Response:
    • MDR: known for its proactive threat hunting capabilities, security experts actively search for threats within an organization’s environment, making it highly effective at detecting sophisticated attacks.
    • SIEM: SIEM primarily relies on predefined correlation rules and analytics. While it can identify known threats, it may struggle with detecting novel or zero-day attacks without customisation.
  • Real-time Monitoring:
    • MDR: continuous, real-time monitoring, provides immediate detection of threats as they occur.
    • SIEM: provides near real-time monitoring but may not be as immediate as MDR.
  • Incident Response:
    • MDR: incident response included as a core service, ensuring rapid containment and resolution of security incidents.
    • SIEM: generates alerts but often requires a separate incident response process to handle these alerts effectively.
  • Security Expertise:
    • MDR: providers employ security experts who are well-versed in the latest threats and tactics, enhancing the quality of threat detection and response.
    • SIEM: relies on in-house security teams to investigate alerts, which may require additional training and expertise.
  • Scalability:
    • MDR: typically scalable and can adapt to an organization’s evolving needs.
    • SIEM: may require fine-tuning and additional resources as an organization grows, potentially leading to scalability challenges.
  • Cost:
    • MDR: often offered as a subscription service, making costs predictable. However, it can be relatively more expensive.
    • SIEM: solutions vary in cost and the total cost of ownership can be influenced by factors such as data volume and customisation.

No simple answer

When it comes to debating the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, there is no simple answer to the question, which is better? The choice between MDR and SIEM depends on an organisation’s specific needs, resources and objectives.

MDR is a comprehensive, managed service that offers proactive threat hunting and rapid incident response, whereas SIEM is a technology that provides centralized log collection and analysis. The simple conclusion might be that most organisations would benefit from a hybrid mix of the two approaches to ensure there are no gaps in security and the risk of financial or reputational damage is considerably reduced.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column]

Like what you read?