What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR) in Cybersecurity?

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Managed detection and response (MDR) is a cybersecurity service that combines technology with human expertise to detect, analyze, and respond to threats across an organization’s network. According to Gartner, 50% of organizations will be using this service by 2025.

Why is this? 50% of organizations is considered relatively high for a third-party service provider. Clearly, this shows that MDR services are providing something that simpler, in-house cybersecurity protocols cannot.

This comprehensive guide is here to help you answer that question. We’ll take a deep dive into why MDR is necessary and what makes it stand out compare to other cybersecurity measures. This should answer the question of why MDR is valuable and help you decide if it’s right for you.


Why is MDR Needed?

Cybersecurity for personal devices almost never includes MDR. This leads to the misconception that MDR is an added luxury instead of a necessary cybersecurity protocol for businesses.

Businesses, regardless of their size or industry, often handle sensitive customer information. So, unlike personal devices, a breach could have wide reaching consequences that affect significantly more people. It can also lead to severe financial and reputational damage. MDR services provide higher caliber defenses to protect data in this high-stakes scenario.


“No modern business can afford to overlook the critical role of MDR services. Cybercrime is evolving, but we can work together to evolve faster.” – Tab Bradshaw, Chief Operating Officer, Redpoint Cybersecurity


Furthermore, businesses today operate in an increasingly global environment. Security standards vary between countries and jurisdictions, opening up a new threat landscape. MDR is a simple yet effective way to navigate this environment without adding additional features for each jurisdiction.


Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Features


24×7 Monitoring

Most MDR companies provide continuous surveillance of your systems, networks, and data 24×7. This makes it much easier for your security team to spot suspicious activity near instantaneously.


Threat Detection

Threat detection could be performed by an automated tool, security staff, or a combination of both. The process involves actively scanning your systems and networks for signs of potential threats. This proactive approach allows for the identification and mitigation of threats before they can cause significant damage.


Threat Intelligence

MDR teams come with a wealth of human expertise that will significantly expand your company’s threat intelligence. This helps you understand the cybersecurity landscape so you can proactively strengthen your defenses.


Incident Response

Incident response is about taking rapid, effective action when a threat is detected. The goal is to contain the threat, minimize damage, and restore any affected systems as quickly as possible.


User Behavior Analytics

User behavior analytics involves studying patterns of user behavior to identify any anomalies that could indicate a security threat. This can help spot potential insider threats or compromised user accounts.


Forensic Analysis

Forensic analysis teams investigate security incidents to uncover how the breach happened, who was responsible, and what data was affected. This information is crucial for preventing future attacks and for any legal proceedings if pursued.


Read More About MDR Services & Advanced Threat Detection


Benefits of MDR


Faster Threat Detection

With MDR, you can detect threats faster than traditional security measures. MDR services use advanced security technologies and machine learning algorithms to continuously monitor your systems and networks. This allows for real-time detection of any unusual activity.


Proactive Security

MDR isn’t just about reacting to threats; it’s about proactively seeking them out. This approach helps prevent security incidents before they even have a chance to become security incidents. As a result, your employees can continue working as if there was never an issue.


Improved Compliance

MDR can bolster your compliance with various cybersecurity regulations and standards. Many of these regulations mandate continuous monitoring and threat detection. MDR services fulfill these requirements.


Cyber Insurance Qualification

Cyber insurance brokers often require businesses to have an MDR solution to qualify. However, this can vary between insurance providers. Check with your insurance provider to understand their specific requirements.

MDR Challenges


Evolving Threats

The cyber threat landscape is constantly changing. This makes it challenging to keep your MDR tactics up-to-date. Any good MDR provider should have decent threat intelligence to help you with this challenge. However, it’s in your best interest to seek those who can demonstrate sophisticated threat intelligence to keep you far ahead of emerging risks.


Network Scaling

If you’re a rapidly growing organization, you probably have encountered scaling challenges in some capacity (on or offline). As your IT system and user count grows, you need to ensure that your MDR solution can keep up. If it can’t, you’ll risk missing a threat in your newly expanded network.


Risk of False Positives

If you receive a high volume of alerts, there is a chance that some will be false positives. This is especially true if you rely on automated security tools for your MDR. This risk emphasizes the importance of human experts alongside your tool. A solid team will be able to assess each alert to determine its validity so you don’t waste time on false positives.



Cost is almost always the top discussion when businesses procure third-party solutions. It’s true that MDR services come with a price tag, but there are methods you can use to make a more cost-efficient choice.

  1. Think about the ROI: IBM reports that data breaches cost companies $4.45 million. In this sense, the price of MDR is much more affordable. Having one in place will reduce the chance of a costly breach and possibly make it less damaging if it happens.
  2. Look for predictable rates: an MDR provider who offers a regular fixed flat rate is much more cost-wise than one with fluctuating fees. That’s because you can proactively work them into your budget, which makes IT budget allocation much simpler.
  3. Is a Security Operations Center (SOC) worth the price?: Many MDR providers utilize SOC, which can drastically increase their price. Seeking a SIEM-powered MDR solution will save you that cost without compromising quality.


How Does MDR Work?

A typical managed detection and response operation goes through the following steps. This process is circular as re-deployment may occur when new improvements are required.


1. Deployment

The first step in the MDR process is deployment. This involves setting up the necessary tools and technologies in your digital environment. It also includes configuring your system settings and networks to support continuous human-led monitoring and threat detection.


2. Monitoring

Once deployment is complete, monitoring begins. The MDR provider will continuously scan and observe your network traffic, system logs, and user behavior. This is typically done using powerful algorithms that keep tabs on all activity 24×7.


3. Detection

If the algorithm detects unusual activity, it will flag it and alert cybersecurity personnel. This could be anything from suspicious network traffic to unusual user behavior. During deployment, the technology would have been configured to specify what is considered unusual for your system.


4. Analysis

After a potential threat is detected, cybersecurity experts examine the flagged activity to determine whether it’s a genuine threat or a false positive. They would use their expertise and knowledge of your business operations to come to a conclusion. You may be consulted to rule out any one-time exceptions, such as an expected external user login.


5. Response

If a genuine threat is confirmed, response begins. This involves taking action to contain the threat, minimize its impact, and restore normal operations. The specific process will depend on the nature of the threat. It could include blocking malicious network traffic, resetting compromised user accounts, or any other necessary action.


6. Reporting

The MDR team will prepare a detailed report of the events after the threat has been neutralized and systems restored. This report documents the nature of the threat, the steps taken to respond to it, and the outcome of those actions. It can be used for compliance reporting, stakeholder communication, and as a learning tool for future threat prevention.


7. Reviewing

Finally, a thorough review process examines the incident and any lessons learned. This is an opportunity to improve your cybersecurity measures based on real-world experience. If necessary, the team will circle back to the deployment phase to implement new measures.


MDR vs. Other Endpoint Protection Solutions

MDR is far from the only endpoint protection solution out there. Many organizations benefit from a combined approach that uses MDR in tandem with other security tools or methods. Here’s a simple overview of MDR compared to other protection options.



Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a tool that collects data from endpoint devices to detect, investigate, and mitigate threats. Both EDR and MDR play crucial roles in your cybersecurity strategy. However, they serve different purposes.




Scope A holistic approach to security, covering all aspects and detection to response Focused on detailed visibility into specific endpoints across the network
Resources MDR is managed by a team of experts, reducing the need for in-house resources EDR requires in-house expertise or a managed IT provider to analyze and respond to threats
Threat Types MDR is designed to handle a wide range of threats across your system EDR is primarily focused on endpoint-level threats



Security information and event management (SIEM) is a tool that aggregates and analyzes log data from various sources to identify anomalies. MDR can leverage SIEM in its approach but the two differ on a high level.




Scope MDR provides proactive threat hunting and data analysis to detect and respond to threats SIEM focuses on data correlation and anomaly detection
Resources MDR is managed by a team of experts, reducing the need for in-house resources SIEM requires in-house expertise or a managed IT provider to analyze the provided correlations
Threat Types MDR can handle a broad range of threats, including sophisticated cyber attacks SIEM is primarily used for detecting anomalies and potential threats in log data


MDR vs. Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is a staple in cybersecurity. While it can detect and remove malware from your system, it has limitations when used alone.




Scope MDR provides continuous monitoring and response to a wide range of threats Antivirus software focuses on detecting and removing known malware
Resources MDR is managed by a team of experts, reducing the need for in-house resources Antivirus software requires regular updates and scans, which may require internal resources
Threat Types MDR handles a wide range of threats Antivirus software only handles malware



Intrusion detection systems (IDS) monitor network traffic for suspicious activity and issues alerts if found. This is similar to parts of the MDR process but is often limited to network traffic.




Scope MDR provides continuous monitoring and response for all aspects of your IT system IDS focuses solely on monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity
Resources MDR is managed by a team of experts, reducing the need for in-house resources IDS requires in-house expertise or a managed IT provider to respond to alerts and mitigate threats
Threat Types MDR can handle a broad range of threats IDS is primarily focused on detecting potential network intrusions



Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) examine network traffic flows to prevent vulnerability exploits. IPS can protect your network, but it isn’t as holistic or comprehensive as MDR.




Scope MDR provides a comprehensive approach to threat detection and response IPS focuses on examining network traffic flows
Resources MDR is managed by a team of experts, reducing the need for in-house resources IPS requires in-house expertise or a managed IT provider to update and manage threat databases
Threat Types MDR can handle a wide range of threats, IPS is primarily focused on preventing known threats from penetrating the network



Managed threat response (MTR) is a service that combines technology, process, and people to respond to threats. MTR and MDR are both managed security services, but their focus and scope slightly differs.




Scope MDR provides a comprehensive, integrated security service MTR focuses on responding to identified threats and mitigating their impact
Resources MDR is managed by a team of experts, reducing the need for in-house resources MTR may require comparatively more in-house collaboration for effective threat management
Threat Types MDR proactively handles a wide range of threats MTR is more reactive and primarily responds to already known threats


Get Military-Grade Protection With Red Recon Managed Detection and Response

If you’re looking for enterprise-grade MDR without the enterprise price tag, you’re in the right place. Redpoint Cybersecurity offers Red Recon, our SIEM-powered MDR solution that leverages Gartner Magic Quadrant technology to bring you optimal protection.

We’ll implement NGAV-based machine learning to pinpoint potential and persistent threats across your network. This, combined with our advanced cybersecurity team, ensures that you’ll have robust security measures in place 24x7x365.

Ready to fortify your business with top-tier, military-grade cyber protection? Reach out to Redpoint Cybersecurity and let Red Recon shield your network.



XDR stands for Extended Detection and Response. It’s a security approach that integrates multiple protection tools into a unified solution.

XDR typically includes MDR as part of its broader security approach. However, it will implement MDR alongside other endpoint security tools.

This is a good option if you need multiple security approaches at once. However, it may be excessive if it includes more than your network can handle.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is an unbiased research report that evaluates technology providers. This report helps business owners make informed decisions about their partnerships.

Providers and technology tools listed in the Magic Quadrant are recognized as key players in the market. They earn this place by demonstrating effective implementation and clear future potential.

NGAV stands for Next Generation Antivirus. Traditional antivirus tools use signature-based protection, which is limited because it can only identify known threats from a malware database.

Comparatively, NGAV leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect new, unknown threats by analyzing patterns and behaviors.

It does this by looking at how programs interact with systems and each other to determine what is considered usual. Then, it flags activity that doesn’t follow regular patterns.

Disaster recovery isn’t typically part of MDR. Although MDR processes involve restoring affected systems after a breach, this isn’t the same as disaster recovery.

The difference is that disaster recovery deals with restoring systems and data after any significant disruption, not just cybersecurity incidents. 

MDR focuses solely on security incidents and anything that was affected.

While it’s possible to implement MDR in-house, it requires significant resources and expertise. 

Trying to bring MDR in-house takes a lot of time and money away from other parts of your core business. It would also involve strenuous recruitment, training, and implementation processes.

Outsourcing MDR to a specialized provider is a much more efficient option for most organizations.

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