Feb 17 2023

How Managed Detection and Response Services Can Help Alleviate IT Staffing Challenges

MDR services offer a cost-effective way for businesses to ease employee burnout and strengthen their security posture.

In recent years, researchers and analysts have repeatedly noted the talent shortage that IT teams are facing in nearly every industry. Organizations are struggling to find skilled candidates to fill vital IT roles, which can lead to multiple problems: employee fatigue, a slowdown in innovation and gaps in cybersecurity, to name a few.

Michael Cappiello, senior inside solution architect at CDW, confirms that his company’s customers are experiencing these staffing challenges. “Right now, it’s very difficult to find people,” he says. “And if you do find them, it’s very difficult to keep them.”

Forbes reported earlier this year that as technology investments increase, “the need for skilled technical professionals to implement, maintain and secure the technology soars. The problem? Three-quarters of employers are struggling to find the talent they need — and IT and data roles are the most in demand.”

Cappiello explains that the talent shortage is part of the reason why many organizations look to managed detection and response services. “Monitoring a network requires eyes on glass, and a lot of times that needs to be 24/7,” he says. “Are you going to pay someone to watch your environment 24/7, during off-hours and on the weekend? There’s always a need for more folks, and there probably always will be. But when you have a limited pool, it’s hard to be competitive to bring them in.”

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MDR Services Offer a Solution to IT Staffing Challenges

When it comes to staffing IT and security teams, recruiting and hiring aren’t the only difficulties for employers. Dominick Daidone, cybersecurity practice lead at CDW, cites employee burnout and shifting roles as other consequences of the staffing shortage.

“You might have somebody who’s on the networking team, but the company doesn’t allocate more budget for a specific security role, so the person ends up being pushed into the role and kind of being over their skis,” Daidone explains.

He acknowledges that in uncertain economic times, many companies might choose to reassign employees to meet their needs instead of hiring new people. “A lot of organizations are keeping the purse strings tighter right now,” he says. “Given that situation, they’re trying to push people into roles that they’re not necessarily comfortable with, which leads to burnout.”

Daidone says organizations are also facing a gap between the skill set people demonstrate in an educational setting and what’s needed in the real world. “For example, I might be good on pen and paper and an exam, but in a real-world setting, I don’t necessarily have the requisite skill set to actually perform set tasks,” he says. This is where employee training can be valuable, and many organizations can benefit from the services of a third party such as Focal Point, a CDW company.

DIVE DEEPER: Explore how MDR service providers can help improve your cybersecurity posture.

Benefits of MDR Services May Vary for Organizations of Different Sizes

Cappiello says an MDR provider can address many of the challenges employers face, but the use cases may differ based on an organization’s size. “In an organization that’s larger but still understaffed or underskilled, you may see managed detection and response serve as a really effective augmentation to their current needs,” he says.

Larger organizations are more likely to have a security operations center (SOC) in place, but they would still benefit from an MDR offering, which “can help raise the fidelity of the alerts that you’re seeing, or help you with response actions because you’re too bogged down responding to other things,” Cappiello says.

For smaller organizations, MDR services “help you keep the lights on because they’re going to allow you to keep doing the things that you need to be doing,” he says.

Michael Cappiello
In an organization that’s larger but still understaffed or underskilled, you may see managed detection and response serve as a really effective augmentation to their current needs.”

Michael Cappiello Senior Inside Solution Architect, CDW

MDR Services Can Help Reduce Cybersecurity Costs

In addition to mitigating staffing challenges and improving an organization’s security posture, MDR services can help reduce costs. According to Daidone, “Depending on organizational size, it’s a lot cheaper to hire an MDR vendor than it is to hire an employee a lot of times, because you would need a team of people.”

Cappiello notes that MDR services can be particularly useful in reducing costs for midsize organizations, which often don’t have the budget to hire an entire SOC team. Offloading some detection and response roles to a vendor can be helpful and more cost-efficient than handling them in-house.

Cappiello also cites the potential costs of cyber insurance and compliance requirements in the event of a breach. “I’ve seen cyber insurance essentially requiring 24/7 monitoring, so I suppose one option is to hire somebody to watch the environment on nights and weekends, which I’m sure is not cheap,” he says. But an MDR provider could help an organization meet those insurance requirements and avoid paying exorbitant costs.

Daidone sums up the benefits of MDR services by saying the sweet spot is “those customers who need help because they have small IT teams, or they don’t have a staff of six that can follow the sun or do 24/7 monitoring. Those services certainly could be really beneficial for those organizations.”

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