Tech Terms Explained - NDR, MDR, XDR, EDR, SIEM and SOAR

The cybersecurity sector has no shortage of acronyms. The terms Network Detection and Response (NDR), Managed Detection and Response (MDR), Extended Detection and Response (XDR), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) are used frequently and often without explanation, as it’s assumed everyone knows what they mean.

Posted on

This blog explores each acronym for those hearing them for the first time and for professionals who’d like to brush up on them. 

Network Detection and Response (NDR) 

Network Detection and Response (NDR) cybersecurity solutions offer real-time network monitoring and anomaly detection. NDR solutions learn typical network traffic patterns, making them capable of identifying changes that could indicate a possible cyberattack or unauthorized access to IT systems by attackers. 

NDR solutions like Progress Flowmon use advanced machine learning and behavioral analytics monitoring techniques. These techniques go beyond traditional signature-based detection solutions. When used with other cybersecurity tools like EDR and SIEM (see definitions below), NDR can help organizations build solid defenses against cyber threats. The combination of NDR, EDR and SIEM is called the Security Operations Center (SOC) Visibility Triad, a term coined by Gartner (as many acronyms are). Each triad component complements the others, providing better overall security for the network, servers and endpoints than any of them could when operating independently. 

NDR is a crucial component that helps safeguard networks against advanced cyber threats. It provides visibility into the dark corners of the network, where attackers often try to hide and delivers valuable information to security teams. With NDR in place, you can proactively monitor your network, detect intruders earlier in the attack cycle and receive contextual alerts that enable a swift response to minimize the risk and damage from security breaches. 

Operating a network without NDR in today’s threat landscape is like driving on country roads at night with your car headlights off. If you are careful, you can do it for a while, but eventually, you’ll likely end up in a hedge, a ditch or a field. . Implementing NDR in your cybersecurity stack will significantly improve your resilience. 

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) 

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is an IT security service that provides managed NDR for a network. Specialized Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) typically provide MDR services. They take over responsibility for detecting potential security threats on an organization’s network. Depending on the level of managed service agreed upon, the MSSP may also be responsible for a rapid initial response to any detected anomalies or alert staff within the organization so that they can respond.  

MDR services typically combine human analysts with technology solutions to identify real security threats while eliminating false positives. By providing rapid threat detection and fast responses, MDR services minimize the impact of security events and help keep networks safe from potential threats. 

Many organizations struggle to recruit and retain highly skilled cybersecurity professionals. Partnering with an external MSSP bridges gaps organizations may have when maintaining a more secure IT environment. It also passes the tasks of covering staff absences and ongoing training to the MSSP, which focuses on providing security services. 

eXtended Detection and Response (XDR) 

eXtended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions provide a comprehensive view of an organization’s cybersecurity posture by collecting information from various sources such as endpoints (EDR), networks (NDR), servers, cloud deployments and physical security systems. The XDR solution combines data from all these sources to deliver a unified view of the entire estate, which helps detect and respond to threats. The primary objective of XDR is to eliminate silos that prevent quick detection and response to attacks. XDR systems use machine learning to analyze the massive amounts of data collected, making the process efficient and effective. 

The term XDR emerged from Gartner to define and classify a shift in the cybersecurity market as more tools added activities that crossed traditional boundaries of EDR and NDR. Gartner defines XDR as “a SaaS-based, vendor-specific, security threat detection and incident response tool that natively integrates multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system that unifies all licensed components.” 

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) 

Delivering robust cybersecurity requires implementing protection measures and best practices at multiple layers. One crucial element that needs protecting is the endpoint devices. Endpoint Protection and Response (EDR) solutions are the standard approach to providing security for endpoint devices. 

EDR focuses on endpoint devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other smart devices deployed in physical environments. It typically relies on an agent installed on the protected device to interact with a central server, which receives and analyzes data about activities and other events occurring on the devices. 

Many EDR solutions use pattern and signature matching to detect known threats. For instance, anti-malware and anti-virus signature detection are classic examples of EDR activities. Statistical baselining and machine learning are increasingly used in EDR to detect ongoing cyberattacks that may not have a known signature or to discover sophisticated attacks that try to bypass signature-based defenses. 

EDR solutions can turn off communication on an endpoint device when anomalous activity occurs to confirm immediate quarantine. Security experts can then follow up this automated response with analysis to determine the threat level and attack type. 

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) 

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is a term created in 2005 by Gartner analysts to describe a group of emerging products that combine the functionality of Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM) tools. Although organizations can deploy these tools separately, they typically get merged into SIEM solutions. 

SIEM solutions use automation to collect security data from across an organization and then analyze it to spot patterns or anomalies that might be indicators of compromise. Cybersecurity vendors offer various configurations of SIEM security solutions. Some examples include technology-only solutions, technology solutions with administrative management services and complete managed IT event processing and alerting services.  

SIEM tools are part of the broader set of tools available in the network and cybersecurity space. They provide an overall view of network and application security. When appropriately deployed alongside other solutions such as NDR and EDR (see SOC Visibility Triad discussions above), are managed well, and used correctly, a SIEM system can identify cyberattacks, breaches and data exfiltration events in real time. 

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) 

Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) provide tools and services to automate cyberattack prevention and response. This is achieved by integrating various security systems and defining how to execute tasks. Additionally, an incident response plan tailored to an organization’s needs gets developed as part of SOAR. 

With the help of SOAR solutions, SOC teams can quickly and efficiently resolve previously time-consuming and repetitive incidents. This leads to reduced costs, improved coverage and increased productivity. 

Gartner defines SOAR as solutions that combine incident response, threat intelligence management, orchestration and automation capabilities in a single platform. They say that SOAR tools document and implement processes (also known as playbooks, workflows and processes) support security incident management and provide machine-based assistance to human security analysts and operators. SOAR system workflows can be orchestrated and automated via integrations with other technologies to achieve many desired outcomes. 

Explore the Flowmon interactive demo

Experience a fully interactive product demo to see what issues Flowmon can tackle for you.

Launch Demo

Flowmon ADS

Detect and Stop ransomware!

Launch more

Request free trial

Get no-obligation 30-day trial of Flowmon in your network.

Get your trial today