There are many different security solutions available to help you gain visibility, detect threats and respond quickly, and they’ve evolved a bit over the years. Here’s a rundown of the detection and response product categories and terms you may run into during your research:
SIEM – Security Information and Event Management
SIEM solutions have been around for decades, with varying degrees of functionality based on which product or vendor you choose. A SIEM is a centralized log management tool that integrates with your applications, systems, servers, etc. to collect data from each service, known as logs.
SIEMs are used for security event analysis to help with investigation, early threat detection and incident response. They also support compliance use cases, as many data regulatory frameworks require organizations to keep audit logs for a year or longer depending on the framework and industry.
SIEMs can be hosted in the cloud or on-premises; the former is considered a more modern deployment as more organizations move to a remote work model. A modern SIEM should be able to centralize cloud data and detect early signs of malicious behavior, such as unauthorized access attempts, lateral movement and more.
While traditional SIEMs may only collect logs, leaving the burden to users to build in additional functionality (detection rules, parsing, etc.) to get any security value out of the solution, modern SIEMs come with pre-built detections and playbooks to guide users through faster threat response.
Standalone, traditional SIEMs may require large teams of security specialists to deploy, operate and run. The advancement of SIEM-driven XDR (Extended Detection and Response) can automate detection and response for smaller teams, while retaining historical data to help meet multiple compliance regulations for logging, log review, anomaly detection, and more.
XDR – Extended Detection and Response
Extended detection and response (XDR) solutions have evolved from EDR (endpoint detection and response). Expanding beyond the endpoint, XDR solutions gather information from networks, servers, cloud applications, and more. XDRs are differentiated from SIEM and SOAR by their level of integration at deployment and ability to address threat detection and incident response use cases (Gartner).
The latest Forrester definition of XDR is:
The evolution of endpoint detection and response, which unifies security-relevant detections from the endpoint and other detection surfaces such as email, identity, and cloud. It is a cloud-native platform built on big data infrastructure that prioritizes analyst experience for high-quality detection, complete investigation, and fast and effective response.
XDR products have also evolved to solve challenges that organizations have with traditional standalone SIEMs – failed, incomplete or immature SIEM deployments (only using SIEM for log storage and compliance).
Many XDRs most commonly focus on collecting data from products within their own ecosystem, known as closed or native XDR. They provide correlated data, security incident alerts, and automated response capabilities that can be carried out via security policies or enforcing actions (like blocking access or isolating endpoints). Some XDR vendors may provide platforms that only work natively with that vendor’s own suite of tools, while others provide open XDR options that integrate more broadly with third-parties for greater visibility and improved detection and response capabilities.
Some XDR platforms, particularly EDR-based XDR solutions, don’t meet all of the needs of different SIEM or security analytics use cases today, including compliance, reporting, long-term forensics, triage, patching and vulnerability management. Blumira’s SIEM + XDR platform includes long-term data retention and automated response to support wider use cases, including compliance and cyber insurance requirements.
XDR use cases include real-time threat hunting, helping determine what’s real or not in attack scenarios, indicators of compromise (IoCs), and deeper investigation and faster, automated response.
SOC – Security Operations Center
A security operations center is run by a security operations (SecOps) team that continuously monitors, analyzes and responds to security incidents. It takes in data from an organization’s networks, devices, servers, etc.; then it requires SOC analysts to determine next steps for remediation.
Many small or mid-sized organizations can’t afford to keep an in-house SOC or SecOps team on staff, as it is costly and time-intensive to train, hire and maintain experienced security professionals. The infosec industry has responded by creating managed detection and response (MDR) services that are meant to enhance or replace a SOC.
SOAR – Security Orchestration, Automation and Response
Traditional SIEMs often require a lot of time-consuming manual work to complete security tasks, including tuning detection rules to help prevent false positives and alert fatigue. Other manual tasks include data correlation, which involves searching through logs and comparing data from different sources to determine if there’s a credible threat.
SOAR solutions evolved as a way to help SOC analysts become more efficient, allowing for more automated prioritization and processing of security events and incidents.
The key capabilities of SOAR solutions include:
- Integrating disparate software such as firewalls, SIEMs, endpoint detection and response (EDR) and external threat intelligence feeds in an attempt to bring all cybersecurity platforms into a single pane of glass
- Pre-built automated workflows to streamline the process of responding to an alert
- Playbooks provide guides for response procedures that can automate and streamline security operation workflows to help reduce manual investigation and decision-making during stressful times.
- Evidence stacking, or automatically populating relevant data to provide more useful, actionable context for a responder. For example, a platform can point users towards an affected IP address or host that they should investigate.
- Automated blocking actions, such as a dynamic blocklists that integrate with firewalls to identify and automatically block access by known-bad sources of traffic, using updated threat intelligence feeds
- SOAR use cases often include post-incident response, with capabilities such as reporting, analysis and case management.
- Automated response such as endpoint containment or isolation is another way to expedite threat response, cutting off access to the network from an affected device until an IT team can investigate.
SOAR tools are often used to enhance traditional SIEM platforms that lack these types of capabilities. However, many modern SIEM + XDR platforms, such as Blumira, consolidate many of the response capabilities listed above in one integrated solution, eliminating the need to purchase different tools and hook them together for detection and response.
EDR – Endpoint Detection and Response
EDR (endpoint detection and response) continuously monitors endpoints (desktops, laptops, servers, or any device connected to an organization’s network) to detect malicious behavior or malware. As the name implies, EDR systems help users respond to threats; with some tools, this process is automated.
EDR is often referred to as a natural evolution of antivirus software because both tools perform similar functions. Traditional antivirus, however, typically relies on signature-based detection to spot known threats. EDR uses behavior-based detection to detect emerging attacks such as advanced persistent threats (APTs) and fileless malware, whereas traditional antivirus typically does not. EDR software, however, can be a component of next-generation antivirus products.
One drawback to relying on EDR alone is that the software is limited to only endpoints. For a more holistic view of modern hybrid environments, you need to collect, analyze and correlate data from many different sources for the most effective detection and response capabilities. A modern SIEM + XDR integrates broadly across different tools, including EDRs, to provide deeper visibility, automatically correlate data and send you contextual findings on high-confidence indicators of threats in your environment.
MDR – Managed Detection and Response
MDR is a managed service that often combines technology with outsourced analysts to detect and respond to malicious behavior on a network.
MDR providers offer technology that covers endpoints, networks, cloud services, operational technology and internet of things (IoT), as well as collecting other sources like logs and data, according to Gartner’s Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services. MDR can help provide containment actions as part of incident response to help customers without internal security operations centers (SOC) functionality to provide immediate action.
However, an outsourced MDR still requires local context to complete incident remediation, as they do not have the same internal knowledge about a customer’s environment as their IT team. As a result, an MDR will likely need to work with your internal IT team to properly resolve incidents or gain context needed to take action. Some MDR providers are costly and may not provide access to a customer’s data, which can result in a lack of deeper visibility and delayed response, depending on the MDR provider’s response times and availability.
Best Tools for Lean Security Teams
These days, consolidating your toolset while making the most out of your current investments is the best strategy for bootstrapping security and/or IT teams.
Blumira’s SIEM + XDR platform is designed for small teams to easily use and manage. Our automated platform detects and immediately contains threats to reduce the burden on IT teams that can’t work around the clock.
- An easy-to-use cloud SIEM and XDR platform that reduces deployment times down to hours and days, not months or years
- Wide coverage for your existing tech stack with integrations for endpoint protection, cloud infrastructure, firewalls, identity providers and more
- Automated threat detection that includes ongoing parser development to centralize and normalize your data, saving you time and resources
- Prioritized, contextualized security findings that help reduce alert fatigue and inform your team of what’s critical and needs immediate attention
- Pre-built detection rules and tuning by Blumira’s incident engineering team, providing automated threat hunting through Blumira’s platform
- Automated threat response, including step-by-step playbooks that walk your team through next steps in remediation, whether to block or contain identified threats
- Honeypots to help you quickly detect lateral movement or unauthorized access attempts in your environment
You or your team is trying to put out fires, stay up to date with the newest threats while also balancing other security and IT initiatives.
At the end of the day, it’s your job to protect, defend and respond – and how you do it is what can make a significant difference in how effectively or quickly you can put out those fires. If you’re running lean with a team of one or two split between both IT and security, you want to know how to consolidate and get visibility over many different security tools. You also need a way to automate the remediation process to contain or block threats. Blumira’s automated platform and engineering, solution architect, and tech support team are here to help you achieve those goals.
SIEM + XDR = Better Security Outcomes
Blumira does things differently by providing more value for better security outcomes, including:
- Flexibility of an open XDR: Open platform integrates with multiple vendors for hybrid coverage of cloud, endpoint, identity, servers and more
- Automation accelerates security: Deploy in minutes; stop threats immediately with automated response to isolate devices and block malicious traffic
- Satisfy more compliance controls: Get more in one – SIEM w/1 year of data retention, endpoint, automated response & 24/7 SecOps support*
- Managed platform saves time: Blumira’s team manages the platform to do threat hunting, data parsing and analysis, correlation and detection at scale
Want to see our XDR in action? Schedule a demo to see how it works.