Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is an outsourced cybersecurity service designed to protect data and assets even when threats bypass standard organizational security controls.
What Is MDR?
The MDR approach to security primarily focuses on protecting against sophisticated malware, ransomware, and advanced persistent threats (APT), which traditional security tools cannot detect. It complements solutions like legacy antivirus, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs), providing a second layer of protection in case attackers breach these defenses.
MDR has two three elements: a software platform deployed in the protected organization, threat intelligence, and advanced analytics techniques and a team of human experts. These experts manage the platform remotely, analyze security data, and use it to detect and respond to threats.
MDR and EDR
Most MDR services are based on endpoint detection and response (EDR) technology. EDR is an endpoint security technology introduced in 2013 and quickly became an essential part of the modern security toolkit.
EDR solutions are deployed on endpoints, such as employee workstations, servers, and mobile devices. They use advanced behavioral analytics to detect suspicious activity on an endpoint, send alerts to security teams, and can automatically block some attacks, for example, by stopping a suspicious software process or isolating an endpoint from the network. Security experts can use the EDR platform to further investigate the incident and contain the threat.
SMB Security Challenges
Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are the main driving force of the global economy. However, SMBs face several cybersecurity challenges. For example, most businesses fear cyberattacks could severely impact their bottom line, even putting them out of business.
Unfortunately, cybersecurity breaches are exceedingly common, with over a third of SMBs reporting an incident within the last five years. Unfortunately, some smaller businesses neglect security concerns, believing them to be too difficult to prevent or only a significant issue for large enterprises.
Among the breaches experienced by SMBs, the most common type of incident is a phishing attack. Other significant risks include lost or stolen devices (especially laptops), CEO fraud, and ransomware (which freezes or deletes data to extort a ransom payment). In addition, scammers often use current concerns to trick employees into revealing sensitive information—for instance, some phishing emails exploited COVID-19 pandemic-related fears to breach accounts.
CEO fraud is a decoy that tricks employees into carrying out the instructions in a fraudulent email that appears to be from the company CEO. Often, the email requests an urgent payment for some business purpose.
Summary of the Security Challenges of SMBs
- Many companies and employees are aware of threats.
- However, businesses don’t sufficiently protect their sensitive data.
- Companies lack the budget to implement security measures.
- There is a shortage of cybersecurity experts.
- The SMB sector lacks adequate security guidelines.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many SMBs faced additional security challenges. As a result, companies had to find new ways to provide services to customers and enable employees to continue working during lockdown or isolation to keep their business afloat. Usually, this involved moving to online business operations to support a remote workforce.
However, moving online (i.e., to the cloud) and providing remote access to sensitive corporate applications and data presents additional security threats and requires a new cybersecurity approach.
Why Is MDR Important for SMBs?
When EDR solutions were introduced, they were adopted by many SMBs, because of their ability to identify and stop damaging cyber attacks immediately as they occur. For example, an EDR solution can effectively detect and block new and unknown ransomware attacks, which can cripple an organization that is unprepared.
However, most SMBs who purchased EDR found that they couldn’t operate it effectively. An SMB organization typically does not have dedicated, in-house security staff, and security is taken care of by IT administrators. These IT experts do not have the time and training to learn how to use EDR and properly configure them.
Even if in-house experts can use the EDR system, they typically don’t have time to review all high-priority alerts and react to them. To make matters worse, a global cybersecurity skills shortage means that even if an SMB organization chooses to hire a security team—it might not be able to find suitable candidates, and might not be able to pay their demanded salary.
The natural choice is to outsource EDR to an external provider. This is precisely what MDR offers—an MDR service offers EDR software, together with dedicated security experts who can use it for network and endpoint monitoring, incident analysis, and incident response.
MDR has several advantages for an SMB organization compared to using EDR:
- Lower upfront costs, no need to purchase EDR software and related infrastructure.
- No need to deploy and configure EDR (which is time-consuming and requires expertise)
- Access to skilled security experts who are trained in EDR solutions.
- The provider’s experts have the time to review all relevant security alerts and respond to relevant threats.
- Expert use of EDR can result in a much higher chance that critical incidents will be handled quickly and efficiently, preventing data breaches.
- MDR experts can provide input to the SMB organization, helping it improve security practices to prevent the next attack.
An MDR service can provide the following security benefits:
- Protection against zero-day attacks and evolving attack vectors.
- Protection against sophisticated threats that can bypass existing security measures.
- Preventing critical incidents from escalating into full-blow data breaches.
- Must faster time to recovery, which can have a major impact in case of a breach.
- No need to recruit external incident response services when a major attack occurs. This is costly and also less effective when these services are recruited at the last minute.
Evaluating MDR Services
Here are the most important criteria you should evaluate when considering an MDR service for your SMB organization:
- Read third-party reports about the service’s ability to respond to threats that bypass active security controls.
- Evaluate EDR and other technology provided by the service—prefer a proven platform deployed by respected organizations in your industry.
- Evaluate automated security responses are provided by the provider’s technology. Some MDR solutions can orchestrate existing security tools, for example, automatically defining a firewall rule or reconfiguring network segments to block malicious traffic.
- Understand how the provider performs remote management—for example, what level of access they require to local systems, how they work with cloud environments, and the level of interaction with in-house teams.
- Identify the compliance impact of MDR services. For example, some regulations or standards may limit how you work with an MDR service.
- Evaluate the level of service provided and whether the MDR service is really end-to-end, from monitoring through to detection of incidents, containment, eradication, and recovery. If certain parts of the process are not handled by the provider, consider how you will handle them with internal teams.
- Evaluate threat intelligence and analytics capabilities of the platform, which are key differentiators between vendors.
- Ask the provider about customization options, and whether you can adapt the MDR service to your organization’s specific technical setup and needs.
In this article, I explained the basics of MDR and showed how it can be a game changer for SMB security. In particular, MDR can provide the following unique capabilities that a small business would otherwise be unable to achieve:
- Protection against zero-day attacks and evolving attack vectors
- Protection against sophisticated threats that bypass existing security measures
- Identifying critical incidents and preventing them from escalating
- Rapid recovery from major incidents
- Immediate access to external security expertise
I hope this will be useful as you take your small business’s security to the next level.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Vecteezy; Thank you!
6 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Upcoming Holidays
The holiday season can be incredibly disruptive, especially for small businesses and their customers. You could either be in a very slow season looking for things to accomplish or so overwhelmed by business that you feel like you got run over by a reindeer. If you haven’t started making preparations yet, you need to start today.
Simple adjustments can help you gain more business or handle a heavy influx of holiday patrons. Here are several ideas you can consider implementing to end the year on a high note:
1. Decorate With Holiday Spirit
Any customer that enters your business will feel the holiday spirit if you’ve got the right decorations in place. You don’t have to go overboard with inflatable pumpkins or flashing Christmas tree lights, but some well-placed decorative touches can really bring the place together. Plus, this makes the workspace festive for your employees as well.
You can choose to highlight the general themes of the seasons or focus on specific holidays. For example, autumn leaves and fall colors can get you well into November. You could also mix things up by putting up ghosts and jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween and switching them out for turkeys and pilgrims for Thanksgiving.
The same can be done for winter. Snowflakes and snowmen will work for the entire season. If you want to get specific, you have Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s decorations to consider.
2. Work Out Employee Vacation Times
Everyone wants to take time off during the holidays, and for good reason. This is one of the best times of year to gather with family and enjoy life together. Unfortunately, some businesses can’t afford to have all of their employees taking time off simultaneously. Your job is to make sure everyone is getting fair time off while still staffing important dates around the holiday season.
How you approach this task is up to you and how you think your team will respond best. You might think it’s fair to let the most tenured employees select their days off first. You could also develop a rotation so that the same people don’t hog the same days off every year. Even a first-come, first-served approach could be considered if you think your team will be OK with it.
Remember that you deserve to take some time off as well. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly demanding and time-consuming. Taking even a couple of days off to enjoy the holidays with family can help you recover mentally and physically.
3. Encourage Calendar Collaboration Among Team Members
To ensure everyone on your team is on the same page with project deadlines, essential meetings and events, and client needs, it’s essential to collaborate on a team calendar. Most calendar software today offers team calendars.
Make sure everyone on your team has access to one another’s calendar so they are aware of when they are available. Then, team members can collaborate to help each other take on things that could otherwise be missed.
Thankfully, there are many collaborative calendar integrations available for teams to utilize in order to maximize their time. By utilizing these tools, teams can work more efficiently together. Therefore, they can minimize the chances of missing deadlines, missing meetings, or making clients unhappy.
4. Make Holiday Business Hours Known
Your customers also deserve to know how your business will operate throughout the upcoming holidays. You should communicate in advance the days you plan on being closed. This way, customers and clients won’t be disappointed when they try to visit, and nobody is there to receive them.
This is extremely important for schedule-based businesses. The sooner you block off certain days, the less likely you will have to reschedule a meeting or appointment that was booked in advance. Clients who have their end-of-year scheduled meetings rearranged or moved at the last minute will not be happy.
Consider sending out an email that details your holiday hours to any customers who have provided contact information to you. Additionally, you could also consider adding a note on your email signature that states when your business will be closed. You could implement this early on, especially for the winter holidays. At the very least, put up a notice on your front door and website that makes the revised schedule known and accessible.
5. Plan Marketing and Promotions
The holiday season is for family and friends, of course, but it’s also a commercial opportunity for businesses. (There’s a reason they call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.”) While you shouldn’t lose sight of what’s most important, your business should be thinking about some promotions to run. The right marketing campaign at the right time can dramatically boost your revenue.
Marketing plans practically write themselves this time of year. Black Friday and Christmas sales are common and desirable. A salon could run cut-price haircut specials on Black Friday for those who want to escape the shopping fray. A mani-pedi promotion could capture the attention of those primping for holiday parties. Put your business’s personal twist on the season, and you’re likely to see sales increase.
What’s most important to prepare for is the increase in business during a holiday promotion. Make sure you are appropriately staffed for busy days with numerous consumers cashing in on holiday deals. If you’re not prepared to handle the business you’ve attracted, you’ll have a blue Christmas.
6. Consider Getting Extra Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the business coming your way over the holidays, consider contracting some extra help. Plenty of businesses hire seasonal workers to lend them a hand for a couple of months. Your business doesn’t have to be an exception.
The great thing about seasonal workers is that there’s no long-term commitment. You can get an extra receptionist, hair stylist, or stockroom organizer for just as long as you need. These workers are looking for some extra holiday cash and simply want the additional hours before life returns to normal.
You may even consider contracting some digital help. A webmaster can help you keep your website up and running even with double the online traffic. Your clever marketing strategy could be implemented by a third party so you can focus more fully on your customers.
Of all the above steps, the most important common denominator is to be sure your clients and customers are aware of when your business will be out, so they can plan ahead as well. This will help your business avoid the inconvenience and disappointment the unavailability may cause. Be sure to encourage in-house collaboration on important dates, in addition to collaborating externally with your clients and customers.
Keep your business on the nice list by being prepared for every upcoming holiday, whether it’s the longer holiday breaks in the winter or the shorter holidays throughout the year. With the above holiday preparation planning tips, your business can plan well ahead for this holiday season so nothing slips through the cracks.
Though it’s an extremely busy time for everyone, the holiday season doesn’t have to get stressful. There are so many ways to avoid all of the stress by planning well. The better you work together to prepare, the jollier the holiday season can be for your business and your customers as we head into the 2023 new year.
You might not feel entirely ready for 2023 just yet, and that’s fine. But by taking steps to prepare for the new year now, you’ll position your business to succeed beyond your expectations.
Published First in Calendar. Read Here.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh; Pexels; Thank you!
Face Supply Chain Disruptions : Work Smarter, Not Harder
Supply chain disruptions are nothing new. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions have become more common. At first, these issues caused major shortages throughout the country. Now, shortages are still occurring along with inefficient shipping processes.
These issues have forced business owners to struggle with ways to stay afloat. Delays, interruptions, and cancellations have made it nearly impossible to keep up with demand while avoiding wasteful spending.
However, some things simply aren’t within your grasp when it comes to supply chain disruptions. On the other hand, you can work smarter to address them. You’re responsible for how your business responds to these disruptions, and with better approaches, things will run more smoothly.
With that in mind, let’s look at how your business can deal with supply chain disruptions. You can create a sense of hope in this digital world as things slowly start to return to normal and the supply chain issues start to balance out.
Use Data Analytics to Survive Supply Chain Disruptions
Collecting clean data and putting it to use can improve everything from customer service to your marketing endeavors. It can also be used to mitigate the effects of a supply chain crisis. Developing innovative data solutions can keep your business afloat and even help it grow during uncertain conditions.
Different Data Methods for Supply Chain Disruptions
To start using data to your advantage during supply chain disruptions, consider these methods:
- Take a look at demand trends. You can look at customer orders and purchasing trends over the last year. This will give you a better idea of how much to order and how often to counteract supply chain disruptions.
- Organize your data. This also makes it easy to look at your current inventory and open order allocations. You can compare your inventory and orders with data provided by production teams or vendors to create a realistic timeline of when things will arrive or when they can be shipped out to customers.
- Pay attention to demand volatility. People aren’t necessarily hoarding items as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. However, there are still some things consumers are regularly purchasing to prepare themselves for the future. As you look at data relating to the current supply of popular products, as well as data from the manufacturers, it will be easier to keep a steady flow of those products in stock.
While looking at data might not sound like an immediate plan of action during turbulent times, it’s easier to make positive changes and work smarter in the face of supply chain disruptions when you have the right information.
Build Your Brand to Withstand Supply Chain Disruptions
It’s difficult to focus on anything but the supply chain issues affecting so many businesses right now. However, retting over those issues isn’t going to get you anywhere. By shifting your focus and putting your energy into supply chain disruptions, your business can move forward.
Building a brand isn’t easy, which is why it requires a lot of time, attention, and focus. Taking this time to hone in on your marketing is a great way to make your business more of a household name. That kind of brand recognition is exactly what companies need right now to stay afloat when supply chain disruptions occur. You can build your brand awareness and identity (stickeryou dot com), in a variety of ways, including:
- Defining your company values
- Understanding your audience
- Determining what sets your business apart
- Creating brand guidelines
Once you have a strategy in place to grow your brand, utilize things like logo creation, social media, and special events to grow your name and help your customers understand who you are.
Build Consumer Relationships Despite Supply Chain Disruptions
Even if you’re facing supply chain issues, you can build relationships and establish trust with consumers. Today’s consumers desire relationships with businesses more than ever before, so it’s okay to show the “human” side of your brand as often as possible. That can make it easier to provide positive customer service experiences when you’re facing product shortages and delays.
Communication with your customers is one of the best ways to deal with frustrations over delays and supply chain issues, so be transparent. Make it a part of your identity. When you make sure your audience knows about the issues you’re facing and keep them updated about shipping information (including delays), they’re more likely to be understanding and patient.
Prepare to Handle Disruptions to Your Supply Chain
Supply chain disruptions are all but inevitable. Make sure your business has a backup plan and is prepared to deal with them when they arise.
If you don’t have one already, consider establishing an emergency management center within your business. Once you have a team in place, you can offer them previously collected supply chain data and create a plan of action. This will make it easier for them to create an effective strategy while reducing the risk of miscommunication that’s often associated with supply chain disruptions.
You should also create a backup plan that incorporates the existing suppliers that can adapt with you when disruptions happen. It should also include technology exploration. Tech, such as AI, can make a big difference in the future of your business – even if it forces you to change some of your existing supply chain processes.
Be Patient During Supply Chain Disruptions
Additionally, try to be patient when disruptions occur. This isn’t the first time the world has seen supply chain issues, but they’re more unsettling now since there’s no end in sight. As someone involved in business, take heart in knowing these delays and disruptions won’t last forever.
In the meantime, focus on working smarter, not harder — to navigate supply chain disruptions. By mitigating some of the issues, being smart with data collection, and focusing on boosting the strength of other areas of your business, you’ll be able to get through these disruptions more comfortably. You may even come out on the other side with more resiliency and knowledge.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Mika Baumeister; Unsplash; Thank you!
Holiday Gift List Ideas; Keep ’em Coming
Here are a few Holiday Gift List Ideas. It is always fantastic to hear from people who are excited about their gift-giving lists and who have some unique ideas to share. I have a few of these items — but I’d love to hear what other gifts you have loved, either for yourself or items you have gifted. This list has something for mom, dad, brother, sister, neighbor, and the kiddos. Enjoy!
The Infinity X1 products include flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, auto lights, work lights, and many other items that you will want to add to your lighting needs. This is sustainable power management. These flashlights are very bright, and they last a long time. You will want to keep one in your car, home, and toolbag.
2. Miko AI
- Miko AI
The Miko.ai is the perfect blend of logic and magic. It can see, hear, and remember, and it senses a child’s moods. I got this for the kiddos for the holidays. I will report what I learn. Miko AI keeps giving you new content and capabilities each month with ever-evolving experiences.
3. Pit Command
- Pit Command
The Pit Command tool is built for medium fires. It is made of carbon steel construction, so it is strong and lightweight at the same time. This is really a three-in-one tool. It has an axe-like chopper and a serrated hook, but the most fun is the poker that everyone loves. Guaranteed quality, free shipping, and free returns.
4. Get The Fort
- Get The Fort
We have the Get The Fort at home. The quality is incredible, and everyone loves it. You can use these fort blocks in adult exercises while the kids are playing with them too. We have the gray — but I’m getting the turquoise next.
5. NOCO Boost Pro
- NOCO Boost Pro
NOCO Boost Pro feels like I’ve purchased the most safety that one person can give another. Leave this wonderful power bank in your car so that you can start your own car or help out someone in distress. It has up to 40 jump start on a single charge. Rugged and water resistant. GB150 3000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box, Car Battery Booster Pack, Portable Power Bank Charger, and Jumper Cables for up to 9-Liter Gasoline and 7-Liter Diesel Engines
6. Narwal Robot Mop
- Narwal Robot Mop System
The Narwal Robot Mop System intelligently detects how dirty the mops are and sanitizes them in a high-speed spinning using the exact amount of water needed. It also senses how dirty your room is and sends the unit around again if needed.
7. SureCall Boost Cell Signal
- SureCall Boost Cell Signal
There is nothing like the SureCall Boost Cell Signal System. If you have ever experienced delays in your cell service — especially in the mountains or out on the beach area — you will want this system. There is nothing like reliable service, especially if you work from home and your teammates depend on your work being turned in on time. When you have others depend on communication from you — you’ll want SureCall Boost Cell Signal.
The AquaSonic is backed by the American Dental Association seal of approval. This means that you are using the gold standard for oral care. This electric, ultrasonic toothbrush is fun to use. My dentist told me to get this toothbrush and leave it in the shower and use it there. It even comes in black for a nice modern touch.
9. Iottie 4 in one device
If you have a Tesla 3 or Model Y vehicle — you have going to want this electric charger. You can charge up to four devices at the same time. It has seamless installation and doesn’t take up storage space. This charger has a classy design as you would expect. Here are the specs:
2 USB-A ports for charging devices
2 USB-C ports for fast charging & data transfer where available
Wide device compatibility
Made exclusively for Tesla Models 3 & Y manufactured in 2021 and later
10. BC Wireless Lite
- BC Wireless Lite
Unlike traditional headphones, BC Wireless lite uses bone conduction technology to transmit sound via the cheekbones. This technology leaves ears open to the surrounding sounds. Audio is set to an appropriate volume, ensuring safe levels of listening to the child.
11. myFirst Camera Insta Wi
- myFirst Camera Insta Wi
myFirst Camera Insta Wi is a dual-lens digital camera with a front and rear selfie lens that is capable of inkless thermal instant printing in 10 seconds. Also able to transfer photos wirelessly and has a dedicated mobile application for label editing/creation, and lastly, the cradle is provided to rest your little cute device.
12. BuddyPhones Play
- BuddyPhones Play
BuddyPhones Play+, Wireless Bluetooth Volume-Limiting Kids Headphones, 20-Hours Battery Life, 3 Volume Settings, Voice Enhancing StudyMode, Answer/Playback Button, BuddyLink Cable, Cool Blue. Kids will love the easy-to-use, on-ear headphones while being driven from home to school and on family trips. Hop on Amazon and see additional items like these for your kids. For girls and boys ages 2 to 10 years old to enjoy flexible connectivity
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Nicole Michalou; Pexels; Thank you!
All Inner Image Credits: Taken from the Product WebSites; Thank you!