Understanding the power of Managed Detection and Response (MDR) for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)

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The 2022 SMB Digital Security Sentiment Report shows that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) perceive themselves as more susceptible to cyberattacks compared to larger enterprises. These SMBs express concerns regarding the potential consequences of such attacks, particularly emphasising data loss, financial ramifications, and a drop in customer confidence and trust. Interestingly, despite these concerns, their investments in cybersecurity have not yet aligned with the evolving dynamics of their operational models.

The continued adoption of cloud computing, still-emerging hybrid workplace practices, and increased digital supply chain complexities all have led to a rise in data breaches and, thus, a more pressing need for enhanced cybersecurity measures. However, a purely reactive approach isn’t enough; critically, preventive measures are required as cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in finding ways into corporate networks. Here, traditional security measures may fall short, highlighting the critical need for advanced solutions tailored to the specific requirements of businesses. One such solution gaining prominence is Managed Detection and Response (MDR).

MDR: A Trusted Partner for SMBs

As mentioned in Gartner® latest report, Gartner [Emerging Tech: Security — Adoption Growth Insights for Managed Detection and Response, Matt Milone, Travis Lee, Mark Wah, Published 30 June 2023]: “MDR growth will continue as customers of all sizes embrace providers’ ability to effectively deliver managed threat disruption and containment. An increasing number of MDR customers of all sizes demand that providers are able to remotely initiate measures for active containment or disruption of a threat. Provider-delivered response actions and not just simple alert communications assist clients with their lack of security personnel and expertise. Factors including trust, geography and the security maturity of the consuming organisation affect adoption of provider-led or guided response activities.”

MDR presents a favourable solution for SMBs by outsourcing the management of Extended Detection and Response (XDR) to cybersecurity providers. 

Let’s delve into the core needs of SMBs related to threat detection and response and how MDR services answer them:

1. Access to additional security expertise

MDR serves as a bridge, helping you overcome expertise gaps in your security capacity by providing access to industry-leading cybersecurity professionals. Make sure your MDR partner offers local language support with a global presence. Attain top-tier protection without requiring internal security experts, or remove bottlenecks in your security operations team that may impede efficient detection and response. MDR services can be tailored to fit the specific needs and size of your business, ensuring you get the right level of protection without unnecessary complexities.

2. Enhanced detection and response capabilities

MDR goes beyond traditional cybersecurity measures, actively seeking and identifying potential threats before they can cause harm. They are tailored to detect cybersecurity breaches in the complex realm of hybrid work and enhance your capabilities to respond effectively to evolving cyber threats, such as ransomware as a service (RaaS). Opt for providers with immediate AI-powered threat detection and response, known for high detection rates, low false positives, and a light overall footprint, as validated by independent analyst appraisals and customer reviews.

3. Always-on approach

Cyber threats are constant. MDR services operate around the clock, providing continuous monitoring and rapid response to security incidents, always ensuring incidents are addressed promptly. The 24/7/365 security capabilities of experts eliminate the need for an in-house security team and monitor the threat environment around the clock.

4. Regulatory compliance

If you are looking for regulatory compliance, MDR can help you achieve key cyber controls necessary for insurability, meeting critical components of cybersecurity insurance programs and regulatory compliance and, with that, reducing the risk of penalties and legal issues.

MDR is not just for enterprises

Despite lacking the extensive resources of their larger counterparts, smaller businesses possess confidential and valuable information that requires protection. And doing nothing costs more than protecting your business. MDR tailored for smaller businesses serves as a valuable addition to existing security and IT measures, enhancing overall protection and defence. This enables organisations to proactively identify, thwart, and respond to online threats before potential damage occurs. By leveraging an MDR service, small businesses can not only fortify their security but also gain the freedom to focus on essential aspects, such as expanding their businesses. 

According to a report from Gartner [Emerging Tech: Security — Adoption Growth Insights for Managed Detection and Response, Matt Milone, Travis Lee, Mark Wah, 30 June 2023]:

  • “Overall MDR mind share increased 29.14% year over year with MDR adoption growth increasing 67% from 2021 to 2022.
  • Growth is highest in education and steady across most industries, with a marked decline in energy and utilities.
  • Mind share increases with the largest companies, while adoption interest increases across private- and public-sector companies of most sizes.
  • Executive buyers have shown a significant increase in commitment through adoption interest, but the technical job role remains the dominant persona.
  • The largest market remains North America with a notable decrease in adoption interest in the Latin American market.”

This data suggests that there continues to be strong MDR demand regardless of company size and industry vertical. This is then highlighted and confirmed by the above-mentioned report, which says, “This is a trend we should expect to see continue over the next two to five years as the demand for MDR services continues to grow.”

Having an MDR service that offers capabilities beyond what a business can independently manage and has considerations for all business configurations and verticals, is, therefore, particularly important for SMBs. This is due to their varying size and focus, as they need a service that can go a step beyond conventional protection.


Our MDR service for SMBs is specifically designed to meet the above outlined needs and bring immediate benefits, especially to SMBs.

Delivered via our renowned ESET PROTECT Platform and ESET Inspect, the XDR-enabling component, we designed our ESET MDR service to swiftly examine and disrupt malicious activities and counteract adversaries. Specifically adapted for the intricacies of hybrid work settings, the service conducts threat hunting, monitoring, and response, ensuring the implementation of strong cybersecurity measures suitable for customers across varying sizes and security maturity levels.

Leveraging the knowledge of security professionals, ESET MDR can rapidly identify and counter threats within a 20-minute window. We utilise our proprietary antivirus software to gather exclusive data, especially from regions targeted by advanced hacker groups. As a customer, you can also leverage the signal hunting library, which contains pre-built behaviour patterns for robust threat defence.

The ESET MDR service is available as an add-on or stand-alone offering, packaged with ESET PROTECT Enterprise and ESET PROTECT Elite


Numerous cyberattacks continue to target many small organisations, posing a persistent threat regardless of business size. Unidentified threats always loom, ready to compromise systems. In the quest for security, every organisation, regardless of size and industry, can benefit from the assistance and mitigation capabilities offered by MDR.

MDR emerges as a trusted ally for you, empowering you with powerful cybersecurity solutions that overcome traditional limitations. The combination of advanced technology, expert support, and a focus on compliance positions MDR as a beacon of security in the complex digital landscape. As cyber threats continue to evolve, embracing MDR services becomes not just a choice but a strategic imperative for your business.

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