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Why Your Business Needs Managed Detection and Response (MDR) in 2025

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Tracy Rock

Director of Marketing @ Invenio IT

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Managed detection and response (MDR) is changing the way we think about cybersecurity.

As the threat landscape has become more complex (and more destructive), organizations have struggled to keep up. MDR offloads the burden of cybersecurity onto stronger technologies and security experts who can manage threats around the clock.

In this post, we discuss how MDR works, why it’s such a gamechanger and which solutions we recommend based on our experiences here at Invenio IT.

What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)?

Managed detection and response is a cybersecurity service that provides automated threat detection, combined with analysis by external security experts.

Sometimes referred to as “cybersecurity as a service,” MDR uses third-party security technologies to monitor a company’s IT systems and respond to threats in real time. This makes it unique from traditional cybersecurity deployments in that it’s a fully managed service, delivered via an external provider.

In our words: one way that we describe MDR here at Invenio IT is “cybersecurity done for you.” It shifts the role of security management on to a dedicated threat management provider. This frees up internal IT resources, while also delivering better security outcomes.

Okay, But Why? What’s the Point of MDR?

Sure, organizations can manage cybersecurity internally. But why would they want to?

Cybersecurity is increasingly challenging, especially for small- to mid-sized companies. Threats are constantly evolving and evading defenses. It takes massive amounts of time and resources to monitor systems constantly and respond to threats.

And, when successful attacks occur, they’re more disruptive than ever. Threats like ransomware continue to devastate companies around the globe on a near-daily basis.

As one client recently told us, “We can’t stop these attacks anymore.”

How Does MDR Work?

Managed detection and response solutions typically use a combination of cybersecurity software, threat intelligence and human analysis. While each MDR solution is unique, the best offerings use automation and machine learning to detect malicious activity around the clock, including threats that are not previously known.

For MDR to be most effective, it should protect a company’s entire threat surface, including networks, services, endpoints, email and other systems.

Here’s a basic overview of how MDR works in practice:

  • MDR monitors your environment 24/7 for malicious activity or anomalies. This is essentially powered by software.
  • Suspicious activities are rapidly analyzed to understand their severity and potential impact. This is aided by real-time threat intelligence data, which can recognize the underlying techniques used in an attack, even if the threat itself is new.
  • If the activity poses a threat, it’s automatically neutralized or isolated.
  • At the same time, external security analysts investigate the activity to determine if additional intervention is necessary. These experts can take further action to neutralize the threat (or identify false positives).
  • If the threat is an early indicator of a larger attack or a compromised system, internal admins are alerted and directed which actions to take.
  • All of this—detection, response and human analysis—feeds back into the MDR’s threat intelligence and machine-learning systems, continuously improving its ability to respond to future threats.

Built-In Vulnerability Assessments

In addition to detecting malicious activity, some MDR solutions can assess your threat surface to identify potential vulnerabilities.

This enables organizations to close security gaps before an attack occurs in the first place. For example, the MDR solution might detect the following risks:

  • Unpatched software or operating systems
  • Misconfigured cloud services
  • Network vulnerabilities
  • Weak passwords
  • Susceptibility to social engineering attacks such as phishing

By identifying these vulnerabilities, the MDR solution can help businesses harden their defenses, significantly reducing the risk of their systems being compromised. Internal administrators are alerted to these vulnerabilities and provided instructions on how to resolve them.

What about Those Expensive Security Tools You Just Deployed?

One of our clients saw the value in shifting to MDR but was worried that existing security solutions would be wasted.

The good news is that most MDR solutions can leverage those tools to expand their capabilities even further. MDR unlocks the power of those tools, so the investment is in fact maximized, not wasted.

For example, if you’re already using a tool like Rapid7 for security orchestration, you can integrate it with Sophos MDR to streamline your security processes. Or, if you have an endpoint security solution, you can integrate with MDR for stronger threat detection and response.

In essence, MDR works even better when leveraging other security products, and all that data feeds back into the MDR’s machine learning for continuous improvement.

How Bad is the Current Threat Landscape?

As a leading managed-service partner for companies around the globe, we’ve witnessed the impact of today’s cyber threats first hand.

Threats like ransomware are more expensive than ever, costing businesses an average of $5 million per attack in 2023 and resulting in $1 billion in ransomware payments, according to law firm Fisher Phillips.

But ransomware is only one of many dangerous threats today. Phishing and other social engineering attacks are using increasingly deceptive tactics to fool users and infiltrate systems. Often, all it takes is one user’s account being compromised to lay the groundwork for a company-wide attack.

Without stronger threat detection or the continuous monitoring of MDR, these malicious activities often go undetected.

Core Benefits of Managed Detection and Response

So, how exactly do businesses benefit from managed detection and response?

We’ve mentioned how organizations can free up their internal resources and achieve better security outcomes by using security-as-a-service. But these are just a few of the advantages. Let’s unpack each of the core benefits to illustrate what companies can gain by shifting to MDR.

1) Stronger Security Posture

This is the big one. MDR solutions can do far more to strengthen security than most internal teams can. This is because MDR is a comprehensive security deployment powered by advanced security automation and informed by continuously expanding threat intelligence.

MDR is a bit like having your own security operations center (SOC) – a luxury that’s typically only afforded to enterprise companies. It’s fully managed by a third-party security provider, which has the technologies and expertise to monitor your systems for anomalies non-stop.

MDR can therefore significantly strengthen a company’s security posture, which is essential for defending against today’s evolving threat landscape. In addition to automatically thwarting these threats, MDR can also identify existing vulnerabilities and provide guided threat remediation and analysis by seasoned security experts.

Key advantages:

  • Provides stronger protection against security risks
  • Employs multiple layers of defense
  • Isolates and responds to threats automatically
  • Leverages threat intelligence and human analysis

2) Better Threat Detection

This point cannot be understated. Leading MDR solutions like Field Effect Covalence and Sophos MDR deliver superior threat detection.

This is critical for identifying emerging and unknown threats, such as those carried out via zero-day exploits, fileless malware and social engineering.

Traditional security tools use signature-based detection alone to identify known patterns. MDR uses that too, but also leverages machine learning, advanced behavioral analysis and vast threat intelligence to identify suspicious anomalies.

Key advantages:

  • Detects emerging & unknown threats
  • Identifies anomalies by looking at underlying patterns
  • Detects common attack techniques before they become a full-blown attack
  • Uses machine learning to continually improve threat detection

3) Cost Efficiency

Managing cybersecurity has become exorbitantly costly and resource-intensive, especially for smaller companies. Most small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) simply do not have the resources to monitor their networks for threats around the clock. And traditional cybersecurity software can only do so much to defend against new and unknown threats.

MDR enables businesses to save on security by deploying it as a 24-hour service from a third party that is better-equipped to thwart these threats. For most companies, it’s a far more cost-efficient solution than trying to manage cybersecurity internally. And, again, achieving that cost efficiency does not mean compromising security. Just the opposite. MDR provides stronger, more comprehensive protection. It does what in-house teams can’t.

Key advantages:

  • More cost-efficient than hiring in-house
  • Saves money on cybersecurity without compromising protection
  • Frees up internal teams for business enablement

4) Continuous System Monitoring & Threat Hunting

One of the greatest benefits of managed detection and response is that it monitors your environment for threats 24 hours a day.

Security threats don’t stop when the business day ends. When a company’s cybersecurity systems detect a threat after hours, a real person still needs to review it and determine the right response. Most businesses don’t have the luxury of hiring security experts to do this at all hours of the day.

MDR continuously monitors your network, servers, endpoints and other systems to detect and stop threats, no matter what the time of day. Plus, MDR providers have security experts who work around the clock to reinforce this monitoring and quickly review any suspicious activity.

Key advantages:

  • Monitors your systems for threats 24/7
  • Uses smarter security technology to detect anomalies around the clock
  • Leverages human security experts who monitor, analyze and respond to threats at any hour of the day

5) Faster Response to Threats

Piggybacking off that last point, MDR responds to threats much faster than most in-house teams are capable of.

First, when malicious activity is detected, it’s automatically isolated. This response is instant, effectively stopping a threat from spreading laterally across a network or causing any further damage.

Threats are also prioritized. For example, questionable-but-low-risk anomalies may be flagged for review but not fully blocked, at first. More suspicious patterns, such as those used in the lead up to a full-blown attack, will trigger a more aggressive response to isolate the threat.

In either scenario, human security professionals will also review the threats to determine what other actions should be taken. This is an accelerated, hands-on response that is far faster than what most internal teams can do.

Fast response is critical for today’s threat landscape, especially for quick-moving attacks like ransomware.

Key advantages:

  • Threats are isolated instantly and automatically
  • Human security experts rapidly review and remediate threats
  • Malicious/suspicious activity is stopped before it can become a full-blown attack

6) Fewer False Alarms

“Alert fatigue” is another common pain point for IT admins. Deploying stronger security software can sometimes mean being bombarded with alerts about potential threats, which often turn out to be nothing.

On one hand, the alerts are useful, because it means that suspicious activity is being flagged appropriately, even if it’s safe. But on the other hand, most companies don’t have the resources to investigate every single alert, around the clock. And if the alerts are duds, then this investigation process is wasted time.

MDR reduces false positives and alert fatigue by analyzing potential threats and prioritizing them accordingly. By leveraging threat intelligence and human analysis, MDR is better at identifying real threats – and weeding out the false alarms. So admins are only alerted to the activities that need attention right away, along with guidance on how to handle the lower-priority vulnerabilities.

Key advantages:

  • Eliminates the constant barrage of alerts
  • Reduces false positives
  • Prioritizes threats by severity, risk and urgency

What to Look for in an MDR Solution

In our view, MDR represents the future of cybersecurity. We encourage SMBs to carefully weigh the benefits against their current security needs, infrastructure and limitations of existing deployments.

But it’s also important to note that not all MDR solutions are made equal.

To experience the advantages we’ve highlighted above, the solution must have the corresponding capabilities, such as:

  • Protection for entire threat surface
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Dependable threat intelligence data
  • Machine learning for continuous improvement
  • Threat analysis and remediation by seasoned human security experts

Since MDR is delivered as a service, it’s important to carefully evaluate the provider, its capabilities and technologies.

MDR Solutions We Recommend

After evaluating several providers for managed detection and response, we’ve identified two solutions that provide the overall best threat detection, technologies and protection for today’s SMBs:

Which is right for your organization?

For most companies, we recommend Covalence for its far-ranging protection of your entire threat surface and 360-degree visibility into your environment. However, if you’re already using other Sophos technologies, then it may make sense to integrate those products with Sophos MDR.

Here’s a quick rundown of both options and what we like about them.

1) Covalence MDR

Overview

Covalence is an MDR solution that is purpose-built for SMBs. It offers multilayered defense against emerging threats and provides protection over your entire infrastructure, including networks, email, web, endpoints, servers, cloud apps and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

What we like about it:

  • Advanced cybersecurity automation backed by human analysis
  • 24/7 threat detection for entire threat surface
  • Comprehensive vulnerability analysis to identify security gaps
  • Guided threat remediation
  • Analyst-verified threat data
  • Intelligent, prioritized alerts with actionable reporting
  • Easy-to-use portal

Covalence analyzes all network traffic for potential threats, without impeding performance or productivity. It also protects your cloud applications and SaaS platforms, including Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Amazon Web Services, Azure, Salesforce and more.

2) Sophos MDR

Already using other Sophos products? If so, then Sophos MDR might be a good fit. Like Field Effect, Sophos is an established cybersecurity leader with a long track record of protecting businesses from a wide array of threats. Sophos integrates into your current software deployments and IT stack, maximizing the value of your current investments.

What we like about it:

  • Integration with other Sophos products, including Sophos firewall
  • Proactive threat hunting and investigation
  • Prompt threat response (automated and human-led)
  • Global team of cybersecurity experts
  • Comprehensive threat intelligence

Another perk for added peace of mind: Sophos MDR comes with a $1 million “breach warranty,” which essentially covers up to $1 million in response expenses for qualifying incidents.

Frequently Asked Questions about MDR

 

1. What’s the difference between MDR and EDR?

The key difference is that MDR is a more comprehensive cybersecurity service, whereas EDR is a security product that is focused narrowly on endpoint protection. However, some MDR solutions include EDR capabilities as part of its MDR service.

2. What is MDR in simple terms?

Put simply, MDR is a cybersecurity service. MDR stands for managed detection and response. This means that an external provider monitors a company’s IT systems to detect and respond to cyber threats, typically with a combination of automated software and human expertise.

3. How much does MDR cost?

The cost of MDR varies based on several factors, including the size of a company’s IT environment, the number of endpoints that must be protected and the level of service needed by the company.

Conclusion

As cyber threats become more aggressive and persistent, most organizations no longer have the resources to effectively monitor their IT infrastructure in-house. Managed detection and response enables businesses to strengthen their defenses by leveraging cybersecurity as a service. MDR solutions like Covalence and Sophos provide continuous threat monitoring and detection, powered by a combination of advanced security software, machine learning and human expertise. This provides better protection against ransomware, social engineering and other threats, while also freeing up internal IT resources for other priorities, such as business enablement.

Threats are Intensifying. Time to Deploy MDR?

Find out how your organization can thwart emerging threats with managed detection and response. Contact our data-protection experts at Invenio IT to see which MDR solution is the right fit for your infrastructure. Schedule a meeting with one of our specialists or contact us by calling (646) 395-1170 or by emailing success@invenioIT.com.

 

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