Jan 10 2023

5 Takeaways about MDR for Healthcare Cybersecurity

Looking to bolster security for your healthcare organization? Here’s how managed detection and response could fit in.

Cybersecurity is paramount for healthcare organizations, especially since an attack can slow down or even halt patient care.

Managed detection and response could be an appropriate solution for organizations with inadequate staffing or budget constraints that still want to bolster security. MDR combines technology and human expertise to remotely provide customers with the capabilities of a modern security operations center (SOC) delivered as a turnkey service. Organizations of any size can benefit from rapid identification and management of cybersecurity threats without adding to their existing staff.

Security tool management issues are only growing: The average healthcare organization now uses 82 different tools, and even the most experienced staff can find it difficult to manage the steady stream of alerts they produce. MDR can provide nonstop coverage to help teams optimize their solutions.

Here’s a look at the benefits and questions around MDR in healthcare. 

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FACT: MDR Unites Technological Solutions With Human Expertise

Organizations turn to MDR not just for a technology stack but also for expertise. The tech stack can include endpoint, network and cloud services; the logs and information from these services are correlated and analyzed in the MDR platform. Expertise comes from a partner MDR team, which can augment in-house staff and provide expert management of a broad set of security solutions. Such a team will be experienced in managing alerts from a multitude of security solutions and include threat hunting experts who can quickly identify even the stealthiest threats and respond to incidents. Look for MDR partners that are willing to provide knowledge transfer, so your existing staffers can acquire new skills and increase their level of security maturity.

FALLACY: SIEM and MSSPs Are the Same as MDR

Although they may seem similar, security information and event management (SIEM) and managed security services providers (MSSPs) are not the same as MDR.

A SIEM platform collects, aggregates, monitors and correlates data from multiple security tools and logs. It analyzes the data to find anomalies that may signal suspicious activity. SIEM is a critical tool to an SOC, but it still requires a lot of in-house expertise, and it can be challenging to interpret the results. In addition, SIEM platforms require frequent tuning and updates to conquer new threats. In contrast, MDR provides quick, understandable results backed by expert analysis.

MSSPs that monitor and maintain security 24/7 differ from MDR in that they own and manage their security tools. As such, they will not train and improve the skill sets of your own security team, which is a benefit of MDR. MSSPs generally won’t provide the personalized support and wider visibility that MDR services can bring, nor will they offer incident response.

DISCOVER: How managed detection and response can improve security posture.

FACT: EDR Can Be a Part of MDR

Endpoint detection and response, often viewed as something separate, is actually a tool within MDR services. EDR monitors and records behavior and events on endpoints, using this data as input to a rules-based automated response and analysis system. Often incorporating machine learning and behavioral analytics, EDR can send anomaly information to an MDR team for analysis, something that in-house teams often lack the resources and time to do.

EDR passes threat intelligence, advanced analytics and forensic data to human experts. These experts determine whether an actual threat exists and what the appropriate response should be.

FALLACY: MDR is Only for Organizations With Established SOCs

MDR can be tailored to any organization’s needs. If you don’t already have an SOC, consider taking advantage of the MDR solution’s built-in SOC. Its managed investigation services can help you understand threats faster by enriching security alerts with additional context. You can understand more completely what happened, when it happened, who was affected and how far the attacker went. With that information, you can plan an effective response.

Guided response delivers actionable advice on the best way to contain and remediate a specific threat. The MDR advises you on specific actions, such as whether to isolate a system from the network or how to eliminate a threat.

EXPLORE: How MDR services are helping healthcare IT teams ‘sleep peacefully at night.’

FACT: MDR is Continuous Threat Detection and Response

Many healthcare organizations do not staff their security operations at all hours. MDR coverage, in contrast, operates round-the-clock. This is especially important because cybercriminals often operate after-hours, when they expect security teams to be minimally staffed. Always-on MDR coverage can prove invaluable and has proved to significantly reduce the impact of security incidents: Organizations using an MDR solution reduce their time to detect and time to respond from the average of 280 days to just minutes.

In addition, continuous detection and response can improve your security posture by helping to identify and stop hidden, sophisticated threats. Not only are security issues identified quickly but your organization benefits from guided response and managed remediation. Best of all, instead of spending time on tedious tasks or responding to a flood of alerts, this constant coverage frees up your staff to focus on strategic issues.

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