How Does Managed Cyber Threat Detection and Response Work?

Cybersecurity is an extremely complicated field that requires an advanced education and computer expertise to succeed in. Without the proper knowledge and understanding of the field, being a productive part of the team can be impossible. Furthermore, it can leave sensitive databases and networks vulnerable to infiltration without the insight necessary to field a cybersecurity team. 

Network infiltration could cause serious problems for the network owner since the data could be stolen for personal gain. Cybersecurity protection minimizes the odds of a critical breach and allows the company or individual to protect their interests. Cybersecurity requires multiple tools and tactics that can offer additional layers of protection for the network. Unfortunately, managing a cybersecurity suite can be extremely difficult, even for established professionals.

One of the most important aspects of cybersecurity is threat detection and response, which is essential for any cybersecurity team. Without it, the team would be utterly ineffective, and a breach would devastate the network. The problem is that not everyone knows what cyber threat detection and response mean in the context of cybersecurity or whether it is worth investing in. 

Without a better understanding of how these protocols function, your team will be severely handicapped and unable to perform their tasks with the efficacy you expect from professionals. So, an aspiring cybersecurity professional must ask: what is managed cyber threat detection and response, and how does it work?

Managed Cyber Threat Detection

What is Managed Cyber Threat Detection and Response?

Managed cyber threat detection and response might sound like a mouthful, and the comparison is accurate since a lot goes into the process. The complicated nature of cybersecurity means several different techniques and functions are used in concert with each other to secure a system. However, managed cyber threat detection and response might be one of the most important combinations in the industry. 

The first part of the combination, threat detection, is essential to cybersecurity since it ensures the team knows a threat exists. Threat detection protocols are a series of firewalls and automated monitoring systems that alert the team when a breach occurs. A typical threat detection network consists of various programs that detect unusual or unauthorized activity on a network.

These programs help keep the team apprised of the anomalous activity so they know if and when a breach occurs. Unfortunately, some breaches are advanced enough to avoid detection long enough to do serious damage. The advanced viruses and breaches that can occur mean cybersecurity teams must create an effective threat detection system. 

Detecting a threat gives the team an advantage, but it is not enough to secure the network from future breaches and undo the damage caused by the original. That is why threat detection is invariably paired with a threat response plan to address the situation once it occurs. The response plan is a set of tactics and protocols established by the cybersecurity team that is used in the wake of a breach. Once a breach is identified, the response plan minimizes the damage and ensures the system recovers.

Managed Cyber Threat Detection and Response

An effective response plan focuses on identifying where the breach occurred, how it broke through the firewall, repairing and reinforcing it, and restoring any compromised or lost data. There is usually a protocol designed to partition the affected section of the network to preserve the rest of the data. This allows the team to minimize the damage caused by the breach and reduces the time it takes to restore the compromised data. 

Having a well-planned response to a breach allows cybersecurity teams to stay ahead of potential breaches to deal with them quickly. All of these tactics and tools are essential for a threat detection and response plan, but there is a detail we have not discussed.

A managed cyber threat detection and response plan differs from a standard one because of one detail. A managed program is an outsourced cybersecurity service that eliminates the need to finance and staff an in-house team. While the distinction is not major compared to the details that affect how these protocols are developed, it does affect how they are implemented. The technological side of things is identical to a protocol developed by an in-house team but remains separate from the main company.

The Difference Between Managed and Standard

As mentioned, a managed cyber threat detection and response protocol is outsourced rather than in-house. This means the person or organization trying to secure their network does not maintain the team within their business or finance their team. Rather, they go through a 3rd party that covers the hiring and maintaining of the experts and equipment and handles security from their own offices. 

This liberates the client from certain responsibilities that might cause financial strains on an otherwise tight budget. While you must account for the contracting fees required to hire a 3rd party, a managed plan is ultimately cheaper than an in-house team. The most obvious difference is that you are not responsible for financing the team’s salary or benefits.

This can reduce costs significantly since the 3rd party handles how their experts are paid and what benefits they receive. This alleviated responsibility makes it easier to focus your company’s finances on internal improvements. That said, avoiding the cost of salaries and benefits is only a minor concern insofar as finances are concerned. 

There are other financial benefits associated with managed cyber threat detection and response protocols that are more significant. Specifically, financing an in-house cybersecurity team for any purpose requires an investment in their equipment. Cybersecurity teams need high-grade equipment to successfully adapt to fast-paced attack and defense protocols.

An In-House Cybersecurity Team

It is no secret that computers and software incur high costs, especially if you want top-shelf equipment. Financing an entire department’s gear could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on your team’s size. The financial burden of this kind of equipment can be overwhelming for smaller businesses or those without the resources to finance a team at first. 

Outsourcing to another group means the burden of stocking equipment falls on them instead of you, which can mitigate the cost significantly. Considering you would also have to finance a workspace within the building to house your staff, the costs only increase when maintaining an in-house team. This is not to say an in-house team is without benefits since it allows rapid response and immediate access to the team. Unfortunately, the financial drawbacks can overwhelm companies that need to manage their resources more carefully.

Another important distinction is that a managed cyber threat detection and response plan will likely be executed remotely. Most companies with in-house teams can keep their staff within the same building as their servers. When using a 3rd party, the team is usually offsite and uses remote software to access the network when an issue arises. 

Sometimes, an agent from the 3rd party might commute to their client’s building if the situation requires it or if something needs to be updated. This can be good or bad, depending on how reliable your network’s wireless connection is and how effectively the team executes its defensive tactics.

Aside from these factors, the core function of the threat detection and response plan is identical regardless of whether it is managed. The differences between managed and unmanaged threat detection and response might not have much impact on function, but they are significant enough to warrant heavy consideration. Ultimately, neither one is inherently better but can make things easier depending on the resources you have at your disposal.

How to Detect Threats

Detecting a digital threat is not easy, especially since the techniques used by criminals to access your network are constantly evolving. As a result, safety practices your team (managed or otherwise) implemented a year ago could already be obsolete. Fortunately, the security practices used by cybersecurity experts are also constantly evolving to match these new threats. 

This has rendered modern cybersecurity extremely effective to the point that cyberattacks are not as successful as they were when they first emerged. Unfortunately, there are 800,000 attacks annually, so companies must constantly be prepared for a potential incursion. This is why threat detection is so important to the industry. 

When there is a new attack every 39 seconds, knowing when a breach occurs is paramount to a successful response. Managed threat detection protocols are generally identical to in-house methods, though the software might vary to account for long-range monitoring.

Detecting a Cyber Threat

One of the most effective methods for incorporating threat detection is to institute an Intrusion Detection System (IDS). An IDS is a semi-automated protocol that can be modulated to monitor for specific anomalies within a network. There are 2 major IDS types that are common in cybersecurity plans:

  • Signature-Based Detection: A signature-based IDS is created on the concept of pattern recognition and can be used to identify malware attacks. Malware, while malicious, is still a program with recognizable patterns and codes. A signature-based IDS is designed to recognize these patterns and alert the team about a potential malware attack. That said, malware is constantly being updated to try and overpower updated security protocols. As a result, the IDS will need constant updates to ensure new malware patterns do not slip past the system’s notice.
  • Anomaly-Based Detection: An anomaly-based IDS is slightly more complicated than a signature-based protocol because there is a wider margin for error. Rather than scanning the network for patterns that match malicious software, an anomaly-based IDS monitors for any activity outside an established model. The cybersecurity team designs the model to establish guidelines to which the IDS compared network activity. When a certain activity defies the model, it flags the activity as a breach and something that must be addressed. Because the system is always changing, the model must be updated regularly to reduce false alerts and prevent internal breaches.

An IDS is one of the many tools cybersecurity teams use to detect threats, and the 2 types above are often used together for a hybrid-based detection system (to accommodate their respective weaknesses). Other tools can be used to monitor the network for potential incursions, but automated systems like an IDS are increasingly common since it alleviates the pressure on the human element.

How to Respond to a Threat

A response plan usually involves several steps to contain, neutralize, and undo a breach. Unfortunately, neutralizing a threat is insufficient to maintain your network’s protection, and you must ensure it cannot happen again. This usually means identifying where the vulnerability in your firewall is so you can patch it and prevent subsequent attacks from getting through. 

Responding to a Cyber Threat

This is usually accomplished via penetration testing, but any patches to the firewall require additional testing. Otherwise, your attempt to remove one vulnerability could introduce a new one since the entire system is updated to accommodate the change.

Therefore, any successful breach must be neutralized, and the entire network subjected to a battery of tests to ensure no new issues are created. Fortunately, these tasks can be accomplished in-house or via a managed 3rd party. The trick is finding a 3rd party you can rely on to protect your network.

Technically Speaking…

A managed cyber threat detection and response plan is a typical cybersecurity grid delegated to a 3rd party instead of an in-house team. This has advantages for companies looking to manage their financial resources or struggling to find cybersecurity professionals. Employing the services of a 3rd party can be beneficial if you need immediate cybersecurity support, but finding a reliable team can be difficult.

A 3rd Party Cybersecurity Team

We at U.S. Cybersecurity understand how important a protected network is and that there are no substitutes for qualified professionals. That is why we offer comprehensive services designed to protect your network from potential breaches. Our services include threat detection and resolution, including our newly implemented IDS protocols. We can offer high-quality network protection and repair regardless of the type of breach you encounter. 

We also provide vulnerability assessment and threat-hunting services to identify risks in your firewall before a threat arises. Network security is extremely important and should not be sacrificed because of resource constraints. We encourage you to visit our website to secure your company against threats. We are standing by and ready to assist you.

Herman McCargo

Herman is a Microsoft Certified Security Engineer and Cybersecurity Specialist. He’s been in the technology field for over 20 years and has expertise working with the most critical technology infrastructures. He has a deep understanding of cyber risks, threat mitigation and prevention, and overseeing infrastructure.