The Difference Between SIEM and EDR/MDR, and Why You Need Both


Today’s cyber criminals are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to access ePHI from healthcare organizations. Malicious actors obtained the private health records of more than 6 million individuals in October of 2022 alone from 71 reported breaches, according to the HIPAA Journal.

When facing these advanced types of threats and increased rates of malicious acts, healthcare organizations need to deploy strategies that incorporate a multi-faceted approach to threat monitoring. Security information and event management (“SIEM“), Endpoint detection and response (“EDR”)/ Managed detection and response (“MDR”) are effective threat monitoring and response tactics. Here is why your organization needs both: 


SIEM: Automating Threat Detection

Before considering SIEM, EDR/MDR as a complete cybersecurity solution, it is helpful to understand what each model contributes to threat mitigation. SIEM is a 24/7 log monitoring solution. SIEM is a hub for security tools, endpoint, network, and cloud data that centralizes security alerts and actively monitors logs. 

Using this data, the system spots patterns and flags potential threats. IT professionals then investigate these perceived threats to spot a security incident at its early stages, possibly before it even occurs. SIEM software holds network logs, cloud logs, and other security alerts, so healthcare organizations can review a broad scope of security data. 

One of the main benefits of implementing SIEM is the automation of threat detection. The system alerts the IT team of potential threats, so that the professionals can respond more quickly. Reliable SIEM technology can also help with HIPAA compliance, as HIPAA regulations include event log review as best practices. 

EDR/MDR: Optimizing Threat Response

EDR is a tool that strengthens an organization’s cybersecurity posture. Your organization may implement MDR services to accompany your EDR, and it is helpful to understand the difference between the two. 

EDR is a cybersecurity tool that is specialized for endpoint devices. In the healthcare industry, endpoints include devices like desktop computers, laptops, and servers. EDR involves installing an agent on systems to detect threats on the endpoints.

When EDR technology is in place, healthcare organizations can better protect endpoints from threats. IT teams investigate alerts and quickly launch remediation when the system detects a threat. 

MDR is managed EDR. Healthcare organizations often invest in cybersecurity services, like MDR, to supplement their in-house IT operations.  While SIEM and EDR focus more on automation, MDR involves a team of threat management experts. Organizations need MDR services when they are not able to manage EDR in-house effectively. Many healthcare organizations do not have the resources or budgets to monitor endpoint threats day and night; MDR makes this possible.

These two services are often grouped together because MDR services include EDR. The technology flags potential threats and human expertise monitors and investigates threats to weed out important artifacts from false positives.

Why Your Healthcare Organization Needs Both SIEM and EDR/MDR

As healthcare organizations face more cyber threats than ever, a multi-faceted monitoring approach should become a non-negotiable part of cybersecurity. There are several key reasons why EDR/MDR and SIEM are both essential tools for today’s healthcare organizations. 

  • 24/7 Threat Response: Even the most well-equipped IT team cannot provide constant security monitoring without threat response tools. SIEM centralizes security alerts and logs, while EDR monitors endpoints. Combined with expert services, these tools provide around-the-clock monitoring. The company providing the SIEM/MDR services can then respond to real-time threats, offering optimal security and peace of mind to your organization. 
  • Increased Network Visibility: Merging multiple tools into one cybersecurity strategy broadens your monitoring capabilities. Both of these tools provide essential threat detection and logging services, while working together to create a more precise picture of your organization’s threat landscape. Organizations need both to see the full picture.
  • Incident Response Planning: When it comes to strengthening your organization’s cybersecurity posture, detecting threats is only half the story. IT departments also need to respond to threats as quickly as possible. Fortunately, SIEM and EDR/MDR work in tandem to provide real-time alerts to a team of cybersecurity experts. These professionals can then investigate the threat and mitigate it when necessary. 
  • Expert Guidance: Running IT services for an entire healthcare organization is no easy feat, and many IT teams are too small or do not have the experts to monitor a facility’s network successfully. Due to capacity needs and shift coverage for PTO needs, true 24/7 monitoring requires 8-12 security analysts. It is at this point where cybersecurity firms come in. By outsourcing your security services through EDR/MDR, SIEM, and other monitoring and prevention tools, you are investing in expert guidance and reliable threat management.
  • Scalable Solutions: Your team’s set of cybersecurity tools should grow with your organization. Fortunately, EDR/MDR and SIEM platforms are all scalable solutions that expand together. When your facility adds more endpoint devices, the EDR technology can scale accordingly. Similarly, the SIEM tools will continue to centralize logs and alerts. At the same time, the professionals behind the SIEM and MDR program work to ensure that every tool has enough reach to continue protecting your network. 

Data loss, remediation costs, and non-compliance fines are just some of the consequences of inadequate threat monitoring. Cyber-attacks can also have a severe, and potentially life-threatening, impact on patient care. It is critical that healthcare organizations implement a set of cybersecurity tools to protect their network and their patients. While the perfect set of tools looks different for every organization, long-term monitoring should be part of every cybersecurity program. 

Scanning the network, flagging risks, identifying vulnerabilities, and mitigating threats is a process that healthcare organizations should repeat daily. The combination of SIEM, EDR/MDR and a mature vulnerability management program, strengthens your facility’s threat response planning, so this process becomes more automatic. As a first step toward optimal security, organizations should find a trusted cybersecurity firm to provide these essential services. 
The cybersecurity specialists at Fortified Health Security are proud to offer EDR and MDR services to our clients. Our team also provides SIEM tools in our suite of cybersecurity services. Located in Franklin, TN, our team works with healthcare organizations of all sizes to provide tailored security services. Contact us today to get started.