What is Managed Detection and Response? MDR Security Deep Dive 

What is Managed Detection and Response?

Businesses are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals attempting to steal confidential information and disrupt operations. These attempts include phishing scams, malware infections, ransomware attacks, and denial of service attacks. Managed Detection and Response (MDR) can protect your business from these attacks.  

MDR is one of the most popular options for organizations that want to augment their cybersecurity threat-hunting and incident response management. But what is Managed MDR, and what are the benefits of this service? In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into what Managed MDR is and how you can choose the right vendor for your business. 

Defining Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a cybersecurity service that provides organizations with proactive threat-hunting and incidence response services. Managed MDR helps businesses minimize the gap between the speed of compromise and speed of detection, reducing attacker dwell time and mitigating the potential impact of a breach. 

With MDR services, your IT, OT or IoT environments are protected by an expert team of threat hunters and response experts who take targeted actions on your behalf to mitigate even the most sophisticated threats. An excellent MDR solution unifies your people, processes, and technologies, guaranteeing that every threat is visible— and making sure you have the right information at hand to respond to potential threats faster. 

How Does Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Work?

MDR services work by integrating a security platform, such as Microsoft Security with analytics and expert-led services such as Difenda, to provide 24/7/365 threat detection and response activities across the cloud, hybrid and on-premises environment. Your MDR service provider will identify all assets within your network, profile your current risks, and then collect activity information from logs, events, networks, and endpoints to monitor threat activity. 

Proactive MDR technology also works to simulate your environment and run continuous attacks based on current cyber tactics and techniques used to breach customer environments. Successful attack patterns are then translated into detection and response requirements, which are developed and released into your dashboards so you know exactly what response will be deployed when a threat occurs in your network.  

Discover the 4-step methodology that enables Difenda to provide actionable outcomes. View Difenda’s 4-step MDR process.  

The Key Benefits of Working with an MDR Vendor

Managed MDR allows organizations of all sizes to benefit from a world-class cybersecurity program. 

These services play a large role in improving a business’s entire security strategy; from people, processes and technology. They handle threat detection, incident response, continuous monitoring, analysis of IT assets and ultimately the communication of all of this back to the business.  

MDR services mitigate common pain points that modern IT departments usually face, such as high alert volume, threat analysis and skill shortages. Some of the key benefits of Managed MDR include:  

  • Faster response times: 24/7/365 coverage with real-time threat monitoring and reporting capabilities across IT and OT environments allow your team to receive alerts faster than if your in-house team was only working nine to five.  
  • Automation capabilities: Having a dedicated MDR team enables you to rely on artificial intelligence and automation processes to detect threats, such as zero-day attacks. Therefore eliminating the need for ineffective signature-based antivirus solutions that are taking up a substantial amount of your internal team’s time.  
  • Better protection of sensitive data stored in cloud environments: Excellent MDR providers will run simulated attacks within your organization’s critical infrastructure and leverage a purple team approach to identify hidden threats, build detection use cases, and deploy updates to managed SIEM platforms. All of these processes help to mitigate risk within your cloud environment and draw real-time data for you to track assets within your network.  
  • Increased visibility: By streamlining and coordinating your cybersecurity response and improving your data reporting capabilities with an expert cybersecurity team you will improve visibility to your attack surface.  
  • Dedicated support: With MDR, your account is assigned a dedicated account team to ensure your valued outcomes are always in focus.  

Discover how to unlock improved visibility across OT, IoT, and IT for accelerated security and digital transformation. Download the MDR for OT eBook!  

What Tools and Solutions Should You Expect an MDR Vendor to Offer?

While all MDR services will be slightly different these are the staple tools and solutions you should expect to see:

  • Threat Profiling: The best MDR providers perform threat profiling up front to minimize the number of false positives and accelerate alert validation. Reports should provide a high level of detail to determine the validity of the findings, as well as concrete steps to remediate. Effective threat profiling allows your company to gain critical insight into your organization’s attack surface and better understand your risks.  
  • Endpoint Data: Your MDR service should include deep visibility at the endpoint and log data level. Effective endpoint monitoring helps prevent, contain, and remediate attacks from all threat vectors before, during, and after execution.
  • Automation Capabilities: Excellent MDR services that will alleviate stress on your team will rely on artificial intelligence and automation capabilities to detect threats, including zero-day attacks, eliminating the need for ineffective signature-based antivirus solutions. Automated alerts will also be sent to your team when critical assets are affected or based on business priorities that you have outlined with your provider.
  • Threat intelligence program: All MDR providers should be taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, including actively hunting for threats throughout your security environment. Proactive threat intelligence combines manual and automated threat-hunting techniques to improve your threat-hunting programs. MDR programs should utilize advanced security and event management (SIEM) technologies to collect, analyze, and detect threats.
  • Customized playbook design: Customized cybersecurity playbooks will outline a unique manual based on your organization’s outline that dictates what actions to take when data loss occurs. This ensures that you and your management team are on the same page and is a key component to reducing the risk of a critical damage if a data breach occurs.

How to Choose the right MDR Provider for Your Business

From threat hunting and defensive controls to responding and reporting, selecting a Managed Detection and Response provider that actually allows you to co-manage your program can be overwhelming. 

We put together a list of the 5 things you need to look for in MDR service providers and why: 

  • 24/7/365 security analysts and incident responders: By monitoring your network at all hours, your MDR security team can quickly recognize abnormal activity and take immediate action to keep cybercriminals out of your system, at any time. 
  • Highly Certified SOC: Highly certified SOC teams prove that the vendor has the necessary skills and ability to deploy and monitor your company’s IT infrastructure using MDR best practices. 
  • Automation: Automated processes proactively alert key members of your security teams, ingest data and coordinate responses, to help your team respond faster. This reduces attacker dwell time and effectively helps to mitigate risk.  
  • Live and On Demand Reporting: Comprehensive dashboards and real-time reporting capabilities, like the Difenda Shield can maximize visibility across your entire organization. 
  • People, Processes and Technology: Simply put, technology alone won’t solve all your problems. Your MDR vendor needs to align all the people, processes and technologies in your network for a streamlined and efficient security system. 

Discover the 6 major red flags you need to avoid when vetting MDR providers in Your Guide to Selecting a Managed Detection and Response Provider.  

Difenda Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Difenda’s Managed Detection and Response powered by Microsoft Defender XDR offers the latest in extended detection and response (XDR) technology—allowing organizations of all sizes to benefit from an expert cybersecurity program. 

With MDR from Difenda, your organization is protected by the full range of Microsoft’s cutting-edge security tools, while also enjoying such benefits as 24/7/365 accessibility, a single portal to access all threat information, and automated remediation. Our MDR programs go beyond basic threat profiling and classification to detect all threats (known and zero-day), while our security experts also actively hunt new threats.  

With MDR from Difenda, your organization can maximize its Microsoft investments, while also accumulating additional benefits, such as simplified compliance and increased efficiencies through automation. 

How does it work? Difenda Labs environment is a core part of our process that simulates common customer environment components. Within the Difenda Labs environment, our Cyber Research and Response team runs continuous attacks based on the cyber tactics and techniques used to breach customer environments. Successful attack patterns are then translated into detection and response requirements, which are developed and released to Difenda Shield services using an agile delivery methodology.  

Our Difenda Shield platform is designed to provide customers with a streamlined ‘SecOps-as-a-Service’ experience through highly automated and orchestrated processes based on proprietary integrations with Microsoft 365 services and other supporting industry-leading security technologies. 

Discover the 6 Major Red Flags To Avoid When Vetting MDR Providers. Download Your Guide to Selecting an MDR Provider.

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Ken Perkins

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Carlos Espinoza

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Sheldon Shaw

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Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Ian Miersch

Ian Miersch has energy to spare, and uses his eclectic background to make a positive mark on the cybersecurity industry. As Vice President of Finance & Human Resources, Ian Miersch is responsible for overseeing scalable business growth as Difenda expands throughout North America. But it is the way he does it that sets him apart. By leveraging his engineering background and critical thinking skills, he has been able to develop unique strategies that balance the company’s current business needs with its long-term growth plans. And the results of his unique background and drive mean that the company is growing in a fiscally responsible manner, all with the customer’s needs at the forefront.

With a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering, coupled with an MBA in Finance, both from McMaster University, Ian’s ability to analyze data and make informed decisions is augmented by his ability to understand all facets of the business. He has a holistic understanding of the craft, from operations to project delivery and management, to his niche in financial planning. Ian’s ten years of experience in the industry mean that he has seen it all, and knows how to create a dynamic team and manage the resources needed for success.

Outside of work, he uses his energy to help others through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program, earning the Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

Ian also enjoys exploring and hiking with his three young children, exercising (so he can keep up with them), and reading professional development books. He is an avid but generally heartbroken fan of the Toronto sports teams, including the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and Raptors.

Derek Nugent

Derek Nugent, Vice President, Revenue lives by the motto “Be early, be better.” Derek leads our Sales and Marketing team and is responsible for customer success, as well as pre-sales and sales enablement. His high energy level and creativity have built high performing teams, whether at the Herjavec Group, CDW, or in his current leadership role at Difenda.

After earning a Bachelor Administration and Management degree from the Academy of Learning, Derek started in the information technology industry in 2004 and transitioned to the cybersecurity industry in 2014. With so much experience in a wide-variety of roles, he is poised to take the team at Difenda to the next level.

He excels at leading revenue strategies, new market entry, partnership engagement, and customer acquisition and retention. His work ethic and interest in rising to the top motivate his sales teams, who respond well to his passion and zeal. Under his tutelage, they are able to achieve attractive lead generation, YOY growth, and sizable deals. Derek works tirelessly to build a better team, and his constituents follow his road to success, which ultimately leads to a rewarding experience for the customer.

Even when volunteering, Derek is all in. He was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters from 2005-2015, earning Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

And when he isn’t busy leading the team to the acme of sales, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, running, working out, watching thrillers, action and dramatic television shows

Manoj Arora

Manoj Arora, Difenda’s Founder and CEO has always been ahead of the curve in Technology and Cyber Security. After securing his engineering degree in Computer Science, he wrote his first mobile banking application when he was just 23 years old. This accomplishment certainly set him apart from the crowd and prepared him for a lifetime of innovation and success in his field. At just 25 years old, he was selected as the youngest Cyber Security Officer for one of the largest banks in Asia.

As a globetrotting young cyber security professional, Manoj was instrumental in designing cyber security infrastructure and controls for some of the largest institutions around the world. Depth of his expertise and passion to serve customers at the highest level of competence and integrity lead to Difenda. Founded in 2008, Difenda is a rapidly growing cybersecurity firm operating in North America and Asia.

As the CEO at Difenda, Manoj drives the strategic vision to protect our customers and enable our team members to deliver our services in line with core values- competence, integrity, and innovation. Currently one of Microsoft’s leading North American partners, Difenda reflects Manoj’ single-minded focus on our customers. Difenda is fully vested in success of its customers and takes pride in considering our success as a byproduct of our customers. Manoj has always been committed to building a great team and forging strong partnerships to serve our customers with standards that top our industry.

When he is not busy bringing cybersecurity to the world, Manoj enjoys playing golf and squash, and continues to travel the world.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Andrew Hodges

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Jeffry Jacob

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