Managed extended detection and response (MXDR) takes the extended detection and response (XDR) model a step further by delivering it as a managed service. Its outsourced nature offers businesses, especially those lacking the requisite resources, an opportunity to bolster their cybersecurity posture without requiring significant internal expansion.
In recent times, we've noticed a significant surge in demand for MXDR offerings. One of our customers, a US-based Master MSSP, has honed in on MXDR as the fastest-growing revenue contribution to its business and often leads with MXDR when pitching to new customers.
This trend reflects a broader shift in the cybersecurity landscape, with organizations recognizing MXDR as the best solution set for risk mitigation, risk reduction, and cyber resilience. MXDR brings together multiple security products into a cohesive system, offering unparalleled threat detection, incident response, and continuous monitoring capabilities in a service model that minimizes the need for in-house cybersecurity expertise.
Let’s explore how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) is best equipped to provide MXDR services for MSSPs.
A Flood of Alerts: The Challenge for XDR
XDR platforms excel at gathering, centralizing, and processing vast amounts of data. However, they often fall short when it comes to comprehensive response capabilities, creating a significant hurdle for MSSPs. The essence of the problem lies in the sheer volume of alerts and the difficulty of distilling these down to actionable information.
Without SOAR, large MSSPs often have to contend with hundreds of thousands of alerts each month, generated from various technologies and sources. These could include endpoints, firewalls, SIEM and IAM systems, and cloud collaboration suites, to name a few. In practice, this creates a tsunami of noise, making it extremely difficult for analysts to efficiently identify, prioritize, and address genuine security threats.
The Game-Changing Impact of SOAR
With a robust SOAR solution, the situation changes dramatically. SOAR can amplify detection and response capabilities, enrich operations, and significantly reduce the manual labor involved in dealing with alerts. MSSPs using SOAR as the backbone of an MXDR service can drastically reduce their alert volume, allowing analysts to focus on the small fraction of alerts that truly merit their attention.
In the MXDR world, normalizing and correlating security telemetry and alerts from a plethora of sources is the norm. Here, SOAR becomes invaluable for its ability to automate alert triage, leverage threat intelligence, and even make automated decisions based on frameworks such as MITRE ATT&CK.
A well-implemented SOAR system can streamline and automate many of these response processes, so your analysts can focus on what they do best: making decisions that reduce risk and enhance security.
Avoiding Vendor Lock-In with Vendor-Agnostic SOAR
A crucial advantage of certain SOAR platforms over XDR lies in their vendor-agnostic nature. The flexibility to incorporate and support hundreds of different security technologies is key for many organizations that seek to avoid vendor lock-in scenarios.
This open approach enables MSSPs to work with customers that use any stack, a feature that vendor-oriented or native XDR solutions, with their inherent vendor focus, often lack.