As landscapes, threats, and attack surfaces change, organizations often need to adapt and shift their cybersecurity strategy. Many organizations rely on new tools, technology, and partners for improved cyber resilience.
However, as hard as it is to keep up with the latest threat that continues to evolve and grow in complexity, it’s a challenge to understand the current cybersecurity vendor environment. The market is crowded and it’s difficult to sift through all the noise, the marketing, and the acronym soup that makes its way to your inbox.
We’re going to break down some of the more essential and recent solutions that have entered the market to get a sense of what’s best for your organization’s cybersecurity.
Start with an internal cybersecurity assessment/audit
Before a security leader can audit any potential security vendor, they need to audit their own organization to get a sense of their cybersecurity priorities, strategy, and capabilities.
Start by assessing your organization’s industry, size, location (including various offices), and environment to know what requires securing and what kind of compliance, regulations, and laws you’ll need to be aware of, especially if you’re doing business internationally.
You should also get a sense of what your environment looks like now and what it’s expected to look like in the next 6, 12, 18 months. Will you significantly expand your cloud-based partners or rely on a third-party for major infrastructure services or business processes?
Then take stock of your current and future cybersecurity resources. Does it make sense to embark on a strategy that builds cybersecurity in-house or will you need to outsource to a major partner for several years? Will you expect to have a robust cybersecurity team or share responsibilities with a dedicated IT team?
Knowing your budget and team-building expectations is also key as you start to have conversations with vendors. Overall, this initial assessment is necessary to help inform future decision-making.
A breakdown of new cybersecurity solutions
We’ll break down some of the newer solutions to give a sense of what you’re looking for.
EDR - Endpoint Detection and Response
Endpoint detection response refers to a tool or system that analyzes your organization’s endpoints in order to detect any attacks, indicators of compromise, or anomalous behavior that might be a sign of an attack. Having an EDR in place allows an organization to become aware of an attack and react quickly, preventing a more damaging attack and improving remediation.
Best for: Any organization. Endpoints are the primary vector for attackers and any organization without a form of EDR should be considered exposed and vulnerable.
XDR - eXtended Detection and Response
eXtended Detection and Response often builds on EDR capabilities and aggregates information from non-endpoint sources, such as cloud environments and other security analysis tools. XDR often comes in two forms. Native XDR, which is a single-vendor solution that is easier to implement and onboard for an organization that doesn’t have a robust cybersecurity infrastructure yet. Open XDR, is more of a centralized solution that is vendor-agnostic and designed to aggregate data and telemetry from sources that already exist in a company’s environment.
Best for: Native XDR is best for smaller organizations who have a priority to improve their cyber resilience as fast as possible and have minimal cybersecurity resources and tools available. Open XDR is best for larger, more robust organizations who have a security team that may be overburdened by disparate security analysis tools.
MDR - Managed Detection and Response
This is a class of various types of “managed” services that are responsible for a subset of cybersecurity roles and tasks. MDR refers to detection and response tools and systems that are “managed” by a third-party. In this case, MDR vendors will provide the tools and technology as well as the support needed to help organizations move quickly in case of a compromise or attack. They can also provide complementary services and plug up identified security gaps within an organization.
Best for: Organizations who don’t have an in-house cybersecurity team. Most MDR vendors provide 24/7 support, which isn’t often feasible for a company’s internal team.
MSP - Managed Service Provider
A Managed Service Provider is more of an IT service provider that serves as an outsourced IT department. This often includes minimal cybersecurity support and has almost no cyber risk management services.
Best for: An organization who has a small IT team. MSPs do offer crucial IT management services but should not be solely relied on for cybersecurity resilience.
MSSP - Managed Security Service Provider
A Managed Security Service Provider is akin to an MSP but for cybersecurity. They may bring their own tools and technology or work with the existing ones you have in your environment. You can also lean on them for expertise with proactive cybersecurity strategy, management, detection, response, and analysis. It’s a more comprehensive cybersecurity partner.
Best for: Organizations with minimal cybersecurity. MSSPs are very close to having an outsourced cybersecurity team — if you know that an in-house team is off the table or quite a few years away, an MSSP may be best.
VRM - Vendor Risk Management
Vendor Risk Management can be a tool, strategy, or system that will assess an organization’s existing and future vendors from a risk management perspective. This often includes cybersecurity risk management, assessing a vendor’s own cybersecurity posture and ability to defend itself from attacks and also works on ensuring that a vendor isn’t exposing a company to unnecessary legal, reputational, financial, and cyber risk.
Best for: Highly regulated organizations. VRM should be a standard process involving multiple departments outside of cybersecurity. However, if there’s no centralized process or key owner, it may be worth looking for external support.
SIEM - Security Information and Event Management
Security information and event management often refers to a tool that centralizes security event information and information from an organization’s network, environment, and endpoints to provide contextual analysis of an organization's cybersecurity posture as well as any potential compromise. While it’s similar to an EDR, the primary purpose of SIEM tools is to centralize data analysis to facilitate faster actions and often expands its scope beyond endpoints.
Best for: A robust cybersecurity team. SIEMs are best for organizations who have multiple telemetry and security data sources as well as the team to make use of all the data. Otherwise, a smaller team may be too overwhelmed by the information and may not be able to act in time.
CWS - Cloud Workload Security
Cloud Workload Security refers to a relatively new set of tools designed to protect an organization’s cloud environment. Cloud workloads are highly targeted and difficult to defend against. However, some tools end up slowing down developer work, affecting productivity. New CWS tools are designed to provide protection without increasing lag time.
Best for: Cloud-first organizations. If your company has a large developer or engineering team and/or is using Linux cloud workloads, CWS is worth investing in.
Choosing the right cybersecurity solution requires holistic thinking
Security leaders shouldn’t look at this list to find the one “right” solution for them. These vendors often complement each other or are built into the services of specific partners. For example, an organization can only consider an MDR partner after investing in an XDR solution, but also consider it as a complement to their existing EDR environment.
We recommend assessing your organization’s needs because it’s important to know your company’s roadmap as you consider cybersecurity vendors. If you know that your organization is looking to outsource most, if not all cybersecurity roles, then you may want to find a partner who can provide all the services you need rather than develop a patchwork infrastructure made up of multiple vendors who have silo-ed tools that don’t communicate with each other.
Ultimately, you’re looking to reduce the risk of a breach and the risk that a security compromise will severely impact your organization. No single tool will do that. The right partner, however, may be able to show you the way.
Learn more about the fundamental differences between EDR, XDR and MDR.