Last updated at Tue, 17 Jan 2023 15:16:03 GMT

Measuring against the right criteria

The “right” criteria is whatever works to further your security organization’s specific needs in detection and response (D&R). There’s only so much budget to go around—and successfully obtaining a significant year-over-year increase can be rare. The last thing anyone wants to be known for is depleting that budget on a service provider that doesn’t deliver.

At Rapid7, we’ve spoken extensively about how a security operations center (SOC) can evaluate its current D&R proficiency to determine if it would be beneficial to extend those capabilities with a managed detection and response (MDR) provider. In an ongoing effort to help security organizations thoughtfully consider potential providers, we’re pleased to offer this complimentary Gartner® report, Quick Answer: What Key Questions Should I Ask When Selecting an MDR Provider?

This asset acts as a time-saving report for quick answers when vetting several potential providers. Key questions to ask yourself and your service providers include:

  • Yourself: Are we looking for providers that can improve our incident response capabilities?
  • Yourself: Do we have use cases specific to our environment that the MDR provider must accommodate?
  • Yourself: What functionality do we need from the provider’s portal?
  • Provider: How good are you at detecting threats that have bypassed existing, preventative controls?
  • Provider: How do you secure, and how long do you retain, the data you collect from customers?
  • Provider: What response types are provided as a component of the MDR service, and what is the limit of those response activities?

Before expecting any quick answers though, it’s crucial to consider…

Your criteria framework

Your organization might conduct a new audit of desired outcomes and team capabilities and discover it actually can handle the vast majority of D&R tasks. That’s why it’s crucial to go through that process of discovery of what you really need and determine if you can responsibly avoid spending money. Gartner says:

“Many buyers struggle to formulate effective RFPs that can solicit relevant information from providers to help in the initial evaluation and down-select process. Therefore, it is critical that buyers construct the must have, should have, could have and won’t have (MoSCoW) framework. Using these criteria will ensure they are able to effectively make selection choices based on genuine business needs.”

Also, what is the platform from which you are launching your evaluation process? Will this be the first engagement of an MDR service provider or are you changing providers for one reason or another? If the latter is true, then you’ll most likely have loads of existing data to inform your buying experience this time around. It’s also critical to get a strong sense of what the implementation process will look like after a service agreement has been signed. Gartner says:

“Selecting an MDR service provider to obtain modern SOC services can be a challenging process that requires the appropriate planning and evaluation processes before, during and after an agreement. Gartner clients face several unique challenges when evaluating and implementing MDR services.”

An urgent need

The need for additional or enhanced threat monitoring creeps ever upward, thus the need for regular re-evaluation of your D&R capabilities. Rather than ramping up the evaluation and MDR engagement process at a faster pace each time out, taking the time to think through and document desired outcomes with key stakeholders will ultimately save your security organization headaches…and money. Gartner says:

“The process for scoping use cases and requirements, and assessing MDR service offerings, often includes a negotiation and evaluation exercise where a “best match” and “ideal partner” is identified. Prior to starting any outsourcing initiative, requirements need to be documented and ratified (and continuously updated post onboarding), or else the old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” is likely to be realized.”

Take the time

It can be a rigorous evaluation process when determining your organization’s capacity for effective D&R. If your team is stretched too thin, a managed services provider could help. For a deeper dive into the MDR evaluation process, check out the complimentary Gartner report.

Gartner, “Quick Answer: What Key Questions Should I Ask When Selecting an MDR Provider?” John Collins, Andrew Davies, Craig Lawson, 10 November 2021.

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