From EDR to XDR – A Guide to Cybersecurity Acronyms

“What is EDR? I’ve never heard of MDR, what’s that? And how about XDR!”

Sound like something your customers might ask? Or even like something you may think yourself? Sometimes, talking about cybersecurity can sound like speaking another language. That’s because cybersecurity is a complex and ever-evolving field, and it can be difficult to keep up with all the acronyms and abbreviations that are used today – even within the industry. But in an increasingly complex digital world, it’s a necessity. In 2023, the global annual cost of cybercrime is predicted to reach at least $8 trillion, and every 39 seconds, one cyber attack takes place worldwide. So it pays to keep up with the vernacular.

To help you – and your customers – better understand cybersecurity terminology, we’ve compiled this guide to cybersecurity acronyms. Here you will find a comprehensive list of common security terms, their definitions, and examples of how they are used in practice. We’ve also included our expertly compiled guides, such as the Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats facing Your Customers, and 10 Ways MSPs can Strengthen Cloud and SaaS Security. This way, you’ll be fully equipped to protect yourself and your clients that much more effectively.


Two-Factor Authentication is a simple and highly effective way to ensure a user’s credentials are actually being typed by him/her. It prevents having any of your accounts hacked into by requiring an additional level of authentication from a user above their password. This usually entails using an email, SMS, or an authenticator app on a connected smartphone to ensure your passwords and your accounts are safe.


Distributed Denial of Service attacks are a popular means of disrupting a business’s operations. These types of attacks flood the targeted system with multiple spam requests, overwhelming it, and stopping regular traffic from accessing it.


Endpoint Detection and Response is a layered approach to endpoint protection. It combines real-time continuous monitoring, endpoint data analytics, and rule-based automated responses. Instead of simply detecting and reacting to potential threats, EDR continuously monitors your endpoints, proactively identifies threats, and allows you to investigate and, if necessary, contain them.


Identity and Access Management Identity is a set of business processes, policies, and technologies that make it easier to manage electronic or digital identities. It allows IT managers to control user access to systems and data and typically involves using methods such as 2FA, MFA, and PAM.


Managed Detection and Response solutions are EDR solutions that are managed by third parties such as Managed Service Providers (MSPs). MDR solutions allow organizations to outsource their cybersecurity needs, giving outside experts the power to monitor threats.


Multi-Factor Authentication is one step beyond Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Although similar, MFA should theoretically be more secure than 2FA because it can require additional identification methods. This isn’t necessarily the case; if a 2FA requires two very secure methods such as location and possession, it will beat an MFA that requires a password, a one-time password, and Face ID, for example. MFA is only as secure as the methods it uses for authentication.


Next Generation Anti-Malware uses the latest advances in technology to identify potential malware. This includes artificial intelligence, algorithms, machine learning, behavioral detection, and exploit mitigation to proactively prevent sophisticated attackers.


Privileged Access Management protects identities that have special access or capabilities that are not available to regular users. Privileged users such as administrators should require extra protection since if their accounts are breached by attackers the results would be disastrous. PAM protects these accounts in a manner of different ways, such as ensuring these users must renew their password each time they access their stored credentials, enforcing MFA, or keeping detailed logs of all log-ins.


Secure Access Service Edge is a cloud-based security solution that combines security functions such as VPNs, secure web gateways, firewalls, and zero-trust network access. The main benefit of utilizing SASE is that it provides several methods of networking and security functions that are typically siloed, providing consistent, centralized, and optimized protection.


Security Information and Event Management is a powerful tool for reviewing and managing data related to potential threats and attacks across servers and security and network devices. Its core functions include a wide range of log event collection and management, the ability to process log events and other data from various sources, and operational capabilities. SIEM is vital if using standalone non-integrated solutions instead of cloud-based platforms such as SASE.


Security Operations Center is an external team that monitors, analyzes, and protects organizations from cybersecurity threats such as viruses and ransomware. Usually outsourced, a SOC will often provide reports, strategies, and education to strengthen an enterprise’s defenses.


Extended (or Cross Platform) Detection and Response can have slightly different definitions depending on who you talk to, but generally speaking they unify threat monitoring, detection, and response solutions by bringing EDR, NDR, and SIEM under a single umbrella. This cloud-based platform yields excellent results as it integrates multiple security products, and provides proactive attack protection by detecting and blocking advanced and stealthy cyberattacks.


Zero Trust Network Access secures a network by allowing users access to resources on a case-by-case basis. As the name implies, access has to be given out and is implicitly denied otherwise, meaning that data stays private and secure. Even if someone’s account were to be breached, the attacker would only have access to that person’s part of the network. ZTNA pairs well with SASE to maximize protection in a remote work environment.

Got all that?

Good! And if you need some help with where to begin or expand your cybersecurity offering, we’re here to help. Protect your clients from cybersecurity threats using One Stop SOC – inSOC’s flagship turnkey solution. With 24/7 monitoring from our dedicated specialist SOC team, and monthly threat assessment reporting and review meetings, both you and your clients are in secure hands. Book a time to talk with us today.

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