Someone looking at their computer, reviewing security events. MDR vs SIEM vs MSSP. By RedLegg.

MSSP, SIEM, and MDR: What Are The Key Differences?

6/30/21 7:29 AM  |  by RedLegg Blog


MSSP: Managed services provider

What Does an MSSP Do?

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) monitor your network for security events. When a suspicious event or network anomaly occurs, MSSPs notify you. Some MSSPs offer virus protection and firewall management services, but they do not investigate or respond to cybersecurity threats. In this case, the onus is on the organization to mitigate a cybersecurity incident.

Traditional MSSPs are useful for organizations that want network incident monitoring handled by a third party but prefer to eliminate false positives, perform incident responses, and conduct anomaly investigations internally.

However, in today’s market, many MSSPs offer advanced services that include Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM). This is because more and more organizational networks contain highly sensitive data that requires robust, comprehensive coverage.

When you engage an MSSP with these capabilities, a team of security experts monitors your endpoints, conducts malware investigations, and responds to potentially harmful incidents. MDR and SIEM are typically utilized in a single security system operated by your MSSP.

SIEM: Security Information and Event Management

What Does a SIEM Do?

Security Information and Event Management entails a range of products and services, but most often focuses on collecting data from network traffic and events. SIEMs do this by aggregating data from multiple sources and drawing correlations to underscore events that warrant investigation.

Management of these services depends on your level of engagement. SIEMs can operate the security technology, monitor and notify you when anomalous events occur, and even help you determine the best way to respond to an incident.

If your organization has regulatory or compliance requirements, SIEMs can help you meet industry-specific security standards. What’s more, if your organization already has an IT security team, but wants to add an extra layer of protection, SIEMs are an ideal solution. They are usually more affordable than MSSPs and are the most effective when an internal team is available to communicate regularly with the security analyst.

MDR: Managed Detection and Response

What Does an MDR Solution Do?  

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) has numerous benefits, including a very light footprint on your network. Security analysts leverage advanced technology to detect network intrusions, malware, or other malicious activity. It delivers a fast response that mitigates threats efficiently and effectively.

When your organization can detect and respond to threats in real-time, you are far less likely to experience a debilitating attack on your network. MDR helps eliminate false positives, detect actual security threats, and deploy strong incident responses within hours or a breach or detection of a threat.

If you have industry-related regulatory requirements, utilizing an MDR service is a smart, tactical approach to maintaining appropriate security measures. Organizations in healthcare, finance, or other industries that traffic in Personal Identifying Information (PII) have a responsibility to protect customer data with security tools that respond to threats quickly. Keep in mind that, while all organizations are at risk, cybercriminals seek opportunities to exploit organizations that handle sensitive information, which puts a significant target on your back.

MDRs mitigate today’s most sophisticated threats with the powerful combination of advanced technology that monitors your network 24x7x365, and a human’s understanding of behavioral activities and motivations.

Which Security Service is Right for Your Organization

While MDR and SIEM are different, they both have value.

MDR plays a critical role in answering questions involving host activity and determining if that activity requires further investigation.

SIEM aggregates logs in one place and can identify the behavioral-based logic that comes across multiple log sources.

There’s value in leveraging SIEM and MDR in an incident or malware investigation. Both have their purpose and can exist simultaneously.

It’s like saying, “Should I have firewall logs or should I have security logs from my domain controller?”

You shouldn’t have one or the other. They’re both helpful.

MDR Capabilities

  • Dedicated security team
  • Continuous network monitoring
  • Machine learning
  • Compliance reporting
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Host-level view
  • Light-level remediation
  • View activity by log type
  • Enterprise-wide, lateral searching
  • Heuristic behavioral-based rules

SIEM Capabilities

  • Birdseye network view
  • Leveraged in incident and malware investigations
  • Aggregating logs
  • Behavioral-based logic
  • Empowers threat intelligence
  • Custom log sources
  • Custom alarming



Get Blog Updates

Related Articles

9 Ways to Leverage SIEM Integration for Faster and More Effective Investigations siem

9 Ways to Leverage SIEM Integration for Faster and More Effective Investigations

Introduction to SIEM Integration Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology provides insight into your ...
SIEM Alerts Best Practices: Tuning for Fatigue Reduction siem

SIEM Alerts Best Practices: Tuning for Fatigue Reduction

Every day cyber threat actors attempt to find vulnerabilities in connected devices, networks, and enterprise systems.
Critical Security Vulnerabilities Bulletin