WatchGuard Blog

Decrypting Cybersecurity Acronyms

At WatchGuard, we’re all about security simplified.  But as for living this mission, it becomes challenging when we’re constantly faced with a barrage of information technology (IT) acronym soup. Whenever I read the latest blog post, or I hear the latest cybersecurity news, inevitably one of those dreaded acronyms appears.

In IT the acronyms are prolific so to simplify things I thought I’d take a stab at decrypting a few of the latest acronyms. Why do I care? Because the world of cybersecurity threats, terms, and challenges changes daily, this knowledge can be useful to just be that little bit more informed and prepared.

Going back to basics, let’s start with some terms:

  • VPN (a virtual private network). I’ll start with this… Why should your grandma or your local vet get one? If you’re anything like me and you’re chatting to grandma in Australia over Facetime regularly or taking Fido to the vet, it’s hard enough to get grandma to press the right button on your mobile phone, or for you to have the vet make sure Fido has the right heartworm treatment let alone configure a VPN. In the world of business and remote connections, it’s important to protect your key information from the bad guys, a VPN is a must. It’s like a secure pipe for that important conversation or data share between your network and your employees, or even your grandma across your home network to protect your smart devices, and it can secure your data and people anywhere in the world. A mobile VPN really isn’t that hard to configure on your firewall (that device your IT provider says you must have).
  • MSP (managed security partner ) or, in other words, the expert channel in your local area that would be happy to help if you don’t have the experience. WatchGuard has a ton of these experts in our MSP. A firewall with a VPN, like your roof, and front door, blocks the bad stuff out and keeps the good stuff in.

Perhaps the largest number of acronyms we use at WatchGuard are related to cybersecurity trends and solutions:

  • MFA (multi-factor authentication), to explain this, is something only you know and something only you have – like a passphrase and a fingerprint.  It replaces the need to have a complex nineteen-digit password that you keep forgetting to access your applications and resources on your mobile or laptop. Remember that Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in the news last year? That was caused by stolen credentials or a leaked password from the dark web, and it affected all of us with gas shortages and price increases, it could have been prevented with MFA. Hackers don’t hack in anymore – they log in with stolen credentials from the dark web. And in 2022, if you’re in business and want to hold a cyber insurance policy you’ll need MFA. Go check out the AuthPoint MFA demo from WatchGuard and get a free 60-day trial.
  • AV (anti-virus). Advanced cybersecurity threats have doubled in the last 12 months and malware and ransomware attacks are smarter, more sophisticated, and costly. IBM said in 2021 that the average cyber-attack costs $4.24* million, now that’s a scary number. And the endpoint (your laptop or mobile phone) is a favorite target of cybercriminals, with plenty of known vulnerabilities to be exploited and software versions that are often out of date, there are numerous endpoint acronyms related to attacks we can cover. Since WatchGuard acquired Panda several years ago, there’s certainly been a bit of a learning curve for these acronyms in my world. Anti-virus (AV) is only the first layer of defense in endpoint protection, these days only having AV is like driving around on bald tires in the rain.

And, of course, the latest technology.

  • EPP (Endpoint Protection Platform). Today you’d be smart to consider advanced endpoint protection, or the car with the latest performance zero-rated tires, like an EPP (Endpoint Protection Platform) this is a suite of technologies designed to protect an organization’s infrastructure to control known threats such as traditional malware and even unknown threats.
  • To elaborate on this EPDR (Endpoint Protection Detection and Response) continuously monitors endpoints to classify 100% of processes (pre and post-execution) to automatically detect and respond to attacks and in-memory exploits. An EPDR system reveals and blocks the anomalous behaviors of users, machines, and processes, while proactively discovering new hacking and evasion techniques and tactics. Now that’s sophisticated stuff.
  •  XDR (Extended Detection and Response) is a term commonly used by acronym loving IT analysts, it is a system that automatically collects and correlates data at multiple security layers: email, endpoint, server, Cloud, workload, and network. XDR provides threat detection and improved investigation and response times through security analytics or data insights. It’s like driving the latest sports car with the performance all-weather tires and the dashboard that shows you in real-time not only how your tires are performing in the rain, but what they are doing real-time to keep you safe.

Wow, what a mouthful those acronyms there are, but what an important suite of services they include, and I’ve just mentioned a few. I encourage you to explore more in the WatchGuard glossary cybersecurity terms, or a few more in the list below from various well-known sources below. You may also want to check out our free trials if you’d like to try any of the products with catchy acronyms that WatchGuard provides. We look forward to simplifying cybersecurity with you and protecting your business with our WatchGuard Unified Security Platform™ and our super-smart, cyber-aware, acronym-savvy channel partners!

Other well-known glossary of cybersecurity terms:

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