Cybersecurity acronyms: making sense of the alphabet soup


Trying to decipher cybersecurity jargon can feel like trying to make sense of a spoonful of alphabet soup. Does your SIEM have enough NTAs? And your XDR? Or wait, was that NDR? What is MRI, anyway? And what happened to UEBA?

The reality is that just because a cybersecurity solution needs a glossary to understand it’s the best doesn’t mean it’s even adequate at all to protect against modern, real world threats. At a high level, good cybersecurity is simple, no matter how you spell it: solutions that examine network activity in real time and make intelligent, contextual decisions in the moment.

Let’s take a look at some of the common acronyms associated with cybersecurity solutions available on the market and how they compare to the capabilities of MixMode’s Third Wave AI approach.

Security incident and event management (SIEM)

Gartner defines SIEM as a technology that “supports threat detection, compliance, and security incident management through the collection and analysis (both near real-time and historical) of security events , as well as a wide variety of other contextual and event data sources. Core capabilities are a wide range of log event collection and management, the ability to analyze log events and other data across disparate sources, and operational capabilities (such as incident management, dashboards and reports).

Key elements of SIEM solutions:

● Retroactive analysis based on logs

● Rules created based on the desired outcome or preventative measure

● Requires continuous manual updating to adjust rules

● Massive data storage requirements

● Huge false positive rate

MixMode and SIEM

The MixMode platform can work as a standalone solution or alongside existing SIEM approaches. Either way, MixMode alleviates some of the fundamental shortcomings and problems inherent in log-based cybersecurity solutions.

Because MixMode develops an ever-changing baseline of expected network behavior, operators do not need to constantly adjust settings to respond to changing threats. MixMode uses third-wave AI that can apply fully unsupervised real-time predictive behavioral analysis. There’s no need for massive cold data storage, false positives are drastically reduced (often by more than 95%), and SOC teams can focus on real alerts and preventative actions that strengthen security postures organizational.

Internal Risk Management Systems (IRMS)

Gartner recently renamed its User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) category to Insider Risk Management Solutions (IRM or IRMS). IRM solutions focus on insider threats (“malicious, negligent, or negligent threats to organizations that come from people within organizations such as employees, former employees, contractors, or business associates, who hold inside information given security practices, data and systems”) “offer profiling and anomaly detection based on a range of analytical approaches, typically using a combination of basic analytical methods – for example, rules that leverage signatures, pattern matching, and simple statistics — and advanced analytics.” Providers, the company writes, use “packaged analytics” to assess the activity of users and entities such as hosts, applications, network traffic, and data repositories to uncover potential incidents.

MixMode and internal risk management

MixMode is context sensitive. Why is this important? Traditional cybersecurity tools struggle to make confident decisions in the moment about whether to allow or block risky actions.

For example, an employee accessing sensitive files from home may not represent anomalous behavior, especially in the age of COVID-19 where millions of workers have transitioned to home-based roles, but that behavior could well be flagged by rules-based cybersecurity platforms. Similar scenarios frequently occur in modern, fast-paced hybrid network environments, where enterprises often combine a mix of systems, including legacy on-premises machines, cloud storage and processing, IoT ingress, and more. MixMode can manage behavioral nuances by applying contextual AI that examines behavior in real time against other behaviors in the network, which a rules-based platform cannot achieve – these platforms have need exceptions to the rules to be explicitly stated and manually updated.

MixMode’s third-wave AI can accurately predict future network behavior in real time. When unexpected activity occurs anywhere on the network, MixMode analyzes the behavior in the context of real-world network usage.

Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Gartner identifies NTA as tools that use a “combination of machine learning, advanced analytics, and rules-based detection to detect suspicious activity on enterprise networks.” These tools, writes Gartner, “continuously analyze raw traffic and/or flow records to create patterns that reflect normal network behavior.” When NTA tools detect abnormal traffic patterns, they issue alerts.

Importantly, writes Gartner, “in addition to monitoring north/south traffic that crosses the enterprise perimeter, NTA solutions can also monitor east/west communications by analyzing network traffic or flow records they have received. of strategically placed network sensors”.

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 components under Licence”.

MixMode and NTA, XDR and other SIEM add-ons

Tools like NTA are additive in nature. SIEM vendors have commercialized complementary tools such as NTA, NDR (network detection and response), and XDR to overcome the limitations inherent in their 20th century cybersecurity solutions. Clearly, for SIEM to function as a security tool, customers must add various solutions, with associated additional costs and monitoring.

Even when customers choose to add solutions such as NTA and XDR, their systems are generally ineffective as real-time, self-adaptive security solutions. SOCs will need to constantly monitor an ever-increasing amount of data, which must be stored indefinitely, due to the retrospective nature of SIEM log-based tools.

MixMode makes sense of the alphabet soup

While SIEM on its own has some inherent flaws that must be overcome to work effectively, one truth remains: SIEM still shines bright when it comes to finding and examining log data. There is an important place for certain log data in an overall approach to network security. For customers who want to retain their SIEM approach to some degree, MixMode combines the best features of SIEM technology with modern AI-powered predictive analytics tools.

Other customers are choosing to replace their legacy SIEM solutions with the modern single-platform MixMode solution. MixMode’s application of NTA and XDR, combined with its third-wave proprietary AI, mitigates SIEM issues by changing the fundamentals.

As we have seen, the platform’s ever-evolving baseline of expected network behavior enables real-time analysis in the context of real-world behavior. The result is fewer false positives, lower data storage costs, and a renewed security team that focuses on the real security priorities. MixMode offers real-time and predictive threat detection, noise reduction, and in-depth investigation at a fraction of the cost of a typical SIEM.

Learn more about MixMode’s comprehensive cybersecurity solution that brings together the most powerful benefits of SIEM, UEBA, NTA, and XDR, and set up a demo today!

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