Cybersecurity is an ongoing journey that presents new challenges continuously. With the emergence of new threats and the ineffectiveness of endpoint-only solutions, organizations face difficulties in recruiting and retaining skilled cybersecurity professionals due to the rising competition and higher salary demands. As a result, many IT decision-makers explore three primary security models:
Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs)
Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services.
Choosing the most viable option requires careful consideration of the organization’s specific business needs.
SIEM, which serves as the foundation of a Security Operations Center (SOC), integrates with various IT systems and log flows to collect data for real-time event analysis through a centralized console. It combines Security Event Management (SEM) for real-time monitoring and analysis of log and security event data with Security Information Management (SIM) for historical log data analysis and reporting. The SIEM gathers and consolidates data from diverse devices, security tools, and appliances such as network devices, endpoint security solutions, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and honeypots. However, SIEM’s reliance on rules-based programming limits its effectiveness against unknown threats, and it requires constant rule updates to address the evolving threat landscape. SIEMs can generate a significant number of false positives, leading to alert fatigue among security analysts. Additionally, managing a SIEM solution is resource-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive, often taking up to a year to implement.
While SIEMs excel in data aggregation, event correlation, and compliance streamlining, they have limitations in terms of complexity, cost, noise, and limited insights. They necessitate continuous tuning and updates for new threats, which can be challenging for organizations lacking sufficient resources. SIEM solutions have their place as data ingestion tools in a SOC, but they are no longer sufficient on their own for meaningful threat analysis and reducing false positives.
SOC analysts sift through tens of thousands — up to hundreds of thousands — of daily alerts on average. A SIEM reduces this number, but the SIEM’s context is limited to its rules, which can quickly require updating in a rapidly changing threat landscape. The result is a large number of false positives, which contribute to alert fatigue.
Also known as false negatives, misses happen when an event appears innocuous because it doesn’t violate a SIEM rule but is actually a viable threat. Phishing scams, fileless malware, advanced persistent threats, and zero-day exploits are notorious examples of such silent subterfuge.
Because of the above issues, a SIEM requires constant attention, unending configuration maintenance, and the expertise of experienced security analysts and incident responders. This makes it costly to manage. A SIEM solution is also time consuming and can take up to a year to implement.
While SIEMs are great for data aggregation, event correlation, and help with threat detection and streamlining compliance, these solutions can be complex, labor-intensive, expensive, noisy, and limited in insights. They require continuous tuning and updates for new threats, which can be difficult for organizations that lack manpower or other resources.
A SIEM has its place as a data ingestion tool in a SOC, and will for the foreseeable future, but it lacks the ability to perform meaningful analysis that will reduce false positives. It’s no longer enough by itself.
Securing data with a wide range of unintegrated security solutions causes a large volume of security reports exclusive to each, a high volume of produced alerts, and inconsistent and incorrect reports which in turn bring about attack prediction, detection and response failures. Covering all these security needs without making fundamental changes in the structure of the systems, an advanced SOC is needed to be designed to enable 7/24 monitoring and controlling the data flow in-an-outside the organization which in turn requires powerful SIEM tools.
Polar SIEM and its modules in the following is the one produced to receive, monitor and analyze the most diverse events.
MSSPs, on the other hand, are IT security providers that offer 24/7 monitoring, maintenance, and management of security systems. Some organizations outsource all their security functions to MSSPs, while others use them to complement their in-house capabilities. MSSPs provide an affordable subscription-based security model that relieves organizations from owning and managing security tools in-house, as the MSSP handles hardware and software updates, system optimization, and resource management. They also provide their own security analysts, alleviating the burden of hiring and training dedicated personnel. However, MSSPs cannot fully replace a SOC and may lack personalized support, post-breach assistance, comprehensive analysis and response capabilities, and visibility into improving overall security posture and compliance management. Relying solely on an MSSP may leave security gaps and potentially increase risks, such as data privacy and compliance issues.
When you outsource all or most of your security, you don’t need to own and manage security tools in-house because the MSSP handles the hardware and software updates, the system optimization, and the ongoing management of those resources. The MSSP provides its own analysts, which means you don’t have to hire and train your own security personnel.
An MSSP relieves the pressures of alert fatigue, ongoing SIEM management, the struggle to find qualified security analysts, and overall maintenance costs. But it’s critical to realize that MSSPs are not a replacement for a SOC.
MSSPs can bring value to your security posture, but only if they fill a gap in your existing infosec ecosystem — something that’s difficult to assess without the ability to independently evaluate the capabilities of the vendor.
On top of that, a lack of control over the vendor’s security portfolio and processes creates risks, especially when it comes to data privacy and compliance. Although it’s the MSSP’s job to protect you from data breaches, you’re the one who’ll be liable if your customer data becomes exposed and you find yourself not in compliance with regulations such as HIPAA.
Support is often relegated to contact centers where representatives have limited contextual insight into the client’s business or industry and don’t necessarily understand how the client’s internal systems work. As a result, problems may take significantly longer to resolve. A lack of understanding of your business, IT environment, and constraints may also impede the MSSP’s ability to make the best decisions on your behalf.
MSSPs are predominantly preventative. They will not actively threat hunt for indicators of compromise (IOCs) on the network and they won’t optimize incident response in the event of an undetected breach.
While the MSSP takes alert monitoring off your hands, it doesn’t necessarily include analysis, triage, and response. In many cases, that’s still up to you, so you need to ensure you have adequate expertise in-house to take action.
MSSPs won’t help you holistically improve your security posture, and they very rarely aid in compliance management (e.g., HIPAA, PCI DSS). If you don’t assess and understand your own strengths and weaknesses and rely completely on the MSSP, you still leave gaps in your defenses.
MSSPs are a cost-effective way to augment your in-house capabilities and alleviate the security talent gap. However, the lack of personal support, lack of compliance support, and poor visibility adds new risks.
An MSSP is not a replacement for a SOC. While you may have a security expert managing a set of point solutions for you, these tools are still just that: tools. You won’t get a premium security service that helps you elevate your threat detection and incident response capabilities.
MDR services offer continuous 24/7 threat monitoring, including event/log analysis, suspicious activity detection, and alert management, for a predictable subscription fee. MDR solutions provide dedicated security engineers who become an extension of the customer’s IT and security teams. They perform real-time monitoring, incident response, vulnerability scans and assessments, compliance management, and regular reporting on the company’s security posture. MDR vendors manage their own SIEM systems, often enhanced with cognitive analysis capabilities, and leverage advanced technologies and integrated threat intelligence. MDR solutions are gaining popularity, offering a holistic approach to security. They combine human expertise, SIEM capabilities, and advanced event analysis to reduce false positives, improve vulnerability management, threat response, and proactive defenses. MDR providers also collaborate effectively with MSSPs, provide incident response as part of their service, and offer personalized support, better technology, proactive capabilities, and cost savings compared to an in-house SOC.
The combination of human expertise, SIEM, and advanced event analysis is commonly referred to as human-led AI. It expedites alert triaging and limits false positive cases. And “misses” occur less frequently since analysts can orchestrate meaningful log data analysis. Upon detection of IOCs, security analysts take immediate response actions and work directly with customers to accelerate time to remediation.
Integrating vulnerability management with threat response has advantages because not only is your MDR team constantly identifying new vulnerabilities and prioritizing patching for you, but they’re also monitoring for emerging threats at the same time.
By identifying vulnerabilities and remediating the weaknesses before threat actors can exploit them, MDR effectively reduces the attack surface. Threat hunting capabilities, which combine automated tools with human analysts to track unknown threats, further serve to provide proactive defenses and reduce the damage that attackers can inflict on your environment.
MDR providers are not in direct competition with MSSPs. During vulnerability scans, the dedicated security engineer may make recommendations for point solutions that could enhance detection capabilities. In effect, this engineer also acts as an objective security consultant who is intimately familiar with the client’s network.
The main difference is that MDR is a full-service solution, and an MSSP is a vendor that facilitates a solution. MSSPs can often offer an MDR as a main solution. There are also differences when it comes to incident response. Unlike MSSPs, which require a separate retainer for incident response services, MDR companies offer different levels of incident response as part of their basic fee.
Yes. MDR provides the cost efficiency of an MSSP, the on-demand expertise of an in-house SOC staffed by security experts, and a significantly enhanced version of a SIEM. It’s a more holistic approach that improves your security posture. MDR offers personalized service by a dedicated team that understands your business and environment with better technology, proactive capabilities, and cost savings compared to an in-house SOC.
From a proactive and reactive position, MDR solutions allow organizations to detect, respond, and recover with ease. They are also on the cutting edge of technology while utilizing the innate ability of human experts to detect, understand, and respond to unusual or unseen threats.
Hunting threats and responding to them once discovered, Polar Bear Cyber Security Group’s MDR provides a wide array of security services, including investigation, analysis, response and recovery of incidents through a detailed remediation plan. To mention the main benefit of MDR, it helps rapid identification of threats and limits the impact of threats.