SIEM vs. MSSP vs. MDR: What are the Differences?

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Pareto Cyber

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New research shows that 88% of boards across industries view cybersecurity as a general business risk rather than an isolated IT issue.

With that in mind, improving your security posture is more important than ever. To help you navigate the maze of available solutions, today we will take a look at 3 popular models for managing your security operations:

  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
  • Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)
  • Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

What Is SIEM?

SIEM is a primarily in-house solution that combines two key capacities: security event management (SEM) and security information management (SIM).

SEM includes the real-time monitoring and analysis of data logs across your systems in relation to specific security events. SIM, on the other hand, provides you with a more long-term view of your information and reporting on your overall security posture.

By combining these functionalities, SIEM allows you to have a comprehensive view of your cybersecurity and incoming threats. You can view and respond to alerts across your networks, endpoints, and any other relevant tools.

Who Is SIEM Best For?

While SIEM can be extremely powerful, the main issue with this type of solution is the investment required.

If you depend on a SIEM solution, your business has to:

  • Train and maintain an in-house security team
  • Host all of your security tools and systems on premises
  • Manually program all types of alerts and any underlying rules for threat detection and response
  • Anticipate any changes in the cyber threat landscape and adapt your security workflows accordingly
  • Update and configure your security systems on a consistent basis

Due to these intensive requirements, an in-house SIEM may work best for large enterprises with significant cybersecurity budgets and existing teams of advanced internal specialists.

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

What Is MSSP?

Unlike SIEM, MSSP is an outsourced security model.

Your company would partner with an external vendor to offload your threat detection operations. The MSSP provider would monitor, maintain, and manage your cybersecurity 24/7 with their own internal analysts on your behalf. In addition, your partner would provide and take care of any related hardware and software tools.

Who Is MSSP Best For?

An obvious benefit of an MSSP model is the reduction in costs on your end. By outsourcing, your company no longer needs to hire, train, and retain internal security engineers who would have previously handled those tasks.

On the other hand, MSSPs do have a number of disadvantages:

  • Lack of support – vendors tend to relegate customer support to general contact centers, so the representatives you contact are not likely to understand your company’s unique risk profile and needs.
  • No customization – typically these solutions rely on a pre-defined set of tools with little flexibility for your existing tech stack and requirements.
  • No incident response capability – while MSSPs can handle threat prevention, you will still need to respond to any threats that breach your systems in-house.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

What Is MDR?

MDR solutions combine the customization and extensive cybersecurity capabilities of internal SIEM with the benefits of outsourcing.

By working with an MDR partner, you will get a dedicated team of security specialists who handle your operations. This means that your outsourced team will function, essentially, as an extension of your internal IT staff. This way, you can trust that your cybersecurity management is handled by engineers who know your organization inside and out.

In addition, MDR vendors typically match their manual security capabilities with advanced automation and artificial intelligence. This way, your partner can effectively prioritize any incoming alerts, avoid wasting time on false positives, and speed up both threat detection and remediation.

Who Is MDR Best For?

MDR is an excellent solution for organizations that cannot maintain a full internal SOC but still require a customized and extensive cybersecurity program.

You can benefit from partnering with an MDR provider if you:

  • Receive an overwhelming amount of security alerts
  • Face significant business risks posed by sophisticated cyber threats
  • Require cybersecurity compliance support

SIEM vs MSSP vs MDR: Which Solution Is Best For You?

No cybersecurity model can be definitively considered the best.

When picking a solution, you have to consider the nature of your organization as well as your investment capacity for cybersecurity operations.

According to Gartner, cyber risk management needs to include not just core IT systems but also the overall business risk profile with factors such as:

  • Third-party devices and entities
  • Supply chains
  • Partnerships
  • Customers

So if you are picking between SIEM vs MSSP vs MDR as models for your cybersecurity operations, keep in mind both the technology and business requirements and risks at play.