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Unscrambling Cybersecurity Acronyms: The ABCs of Endpoint Security


Ransomware and other advanced attacks continue to evolve and threaten organizations around the world. Effectively defending your endpoints from these attacks can be a complex undertaking, and a seemingly endless number of security acronyms only compounds that complexity. There are so many acronyms – EPP, EDR, MEDR, MDR, XDR, and more – for various cybersecurity products and services that it becomes difficult to understand the differences between them and choose the right solution for your organization. Deciphering all these acronyms is a task on its own and deciding which solution works best for you is even more challenging.

We here at Cisco believe that understanding these acronyms and determining which security products or services are the best fit for your organization’s needs doesn’t have to be so hard. That’s why we developed this blog – the first in a series – to give you an overview of the different types of threat detection and response solutions.

This series will help you understand the benefits and disadvantages of each solution, the similarities and differences between these solutions, and how to identify the right solution for your organization. Now let’s go over the different types of security solutions.

Overview of Threat Detection and Response Solutions

There are several types of threat detection and response solutions, including:

  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) A product that monitors, detects, and responds to threats across your endpoint environment
  • Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) A managed service operated by a third-party that monitors, detects, and responds to threats across your endpoint environment
  • Managed Detection and Response (MDR) A managed service operated by a third-party that monitors, detects, and responds to threats across your cybersecurity environment
  • Extended Detection and Response (XDR) A security platform that monitors, detects, and responds to threats across your cybersecurity environment with consolidated telemetry, unified visibility and coordinated response

These solutions are similar in that they all enable you to detect and respond to threats, but they differ by the environment(s) being monitored for threats, who conducts the monitoring, as well as how alerts are consolidated and correlated. For instance, certain solutions will only monitor your endpoints (EDR, MEDR) while others will monitor a broader environment (XDR, MDR). In addition, some of these solutions are actually managed services where a third-party monitors your environment (MEDR, MDR) versus solutions that you monitor and manage yourself (EDR, XDR).

How to Select the Right Solution for your Organization

When evaluating these solutions, keep in mind that there isn’t a single correct solution for every organization. This is because each organization has different needs, security maturities, resource levels, and goals. For example, deploying an EDR makes sense for an organization that currently has only a basic anti-virus solution, but this seems like table stakes to a company that already has a Security Operations Center (SOC).

That being said, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to find the cybersecurity solution that best fits your needs, including:

  • What are our security goals? Where are we in our cybersecurity journey?
  • Do we have a SOC or want to build a SOC?
  • Do we have the right cybersecurity talent, skills, and knowledge?
  • Do we have enough visibility and context into security incidents? Do we suffer from too many alerts and/or too many security tools?
  • How long does it take us to detect and respond to threats? Is that adequate?

Of these questions, the most critical are about your security goals and current cybersecurity posture. For instance, organizations at the beginning of their security journey may want to look at an EDR or MEDR solution, while companies that are further along their journey are more likely to be interested in an XDR. Asking whether you already have or are willing to build out a SOC is another essential question. This will help you understand whether you should run your security yourself (EDR, XDR) or find a third-party to manage it for you (MEDR, MDR).

Asking whether you have or are willing to hire the right security talent is another critical question to pose. This will also help determine whether to manage your cybersecurity solution yourself or have a third-party run it for you. Finally, questions about visibility and context, alert, and security tool fatigue, as well as detection and response times will help you to decide if your current security stack is sufficient or if you need to deploy a next-generation solution such as an XDR.

These questions will help guide your decision-making process and give you the information you need to make an informed decision on your cybersecurity solution. For more details on the different endpoint security acronyms and how to determine the right solution for your organization, keep an eye out for the next blog in this series – Unscrambling Cybersecurity Acronyms: The ABCs of EDR and MEDR. Stay tuned!

 

 


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