The Journey to Extended Detection and Response Technology (XDR)
Stealthy threats evade detection by hiding behind security silos and disconnected solution alerts while overwhelmed analysts struggle to triage and investigate. XDR unites and automatically correlates detection from multiple security layers, including endpoint, email, network, servers, and cloud workloads, to deliver better investigation and response times.
This article explores the journey to extended detection and response technology (XDR) that safeguards IT infrastructure with enhanced visibility, faster threat analysis, and quicker responses.
XDR delivers data aggregation, automation, visibility, and analytics technologies, making it a force multiplier for security teams. It can be significant for organizations needing more specialized expertise or staffing lean SOC teams.
Using telemetry and data analysis, XDR collects alerts from multiple security layers, including endpoints, networks, servers, and cloud workloads. It then sifts through this data to correlate context from thousands of watches and surface only the most critical ones that require a response. It eliminates the noise of low-priority alerts, allowing analysts to zero in on the genuine threats that need to be investigated and responded to immediately.
In addition, XDR provides rich contextual data to support root cause analysis and enable better protection against future attacks. It can include attack vectors, timelines, and impacts across the ecosystem and enables analysts to quickly assess the threat’s behavior and enact the most effective responses.
Many cyberattacks use stealth tactics to evade detection and hide from overwhelmed security teams trying to triage siloed tools that only provide narrow, disjointed attack viewpoints. To fight this, security teams can trace attackers throughout the systems in their business by utilizing XDR technology, which combines unified threat visibility with ML-powered detection and correlation. This approach enables them to find the breadcrumbs attackers leave behind and follow the path of an attack from its inception. It also helps them weed out false positives, preventing unnecessary security responses.
XDR vs. EDR
Security professionals often find themselves tangled up in jargon and acronyms when researching solutions to stop attacks before they can take hold. It’s not surprising, given that countless tools out there have definitions and capabilities that may or may not be aligned with the XDR concept.
XDR has emerged as an innovative approach to tackling sophisticated threat vectors as the cybersecurity industry evolves. With that in mind, it’s crucial to understand how XDR differs from EDR and other related security technologies.
The primary difference between XDR and EDR is that XDR is a broader solution that provides detection, monitoring, and response across the entire network instead of just endpoints. It includes extending visibility into networks, servers, cloud workloads, SIEM, and email. Moreover, it delivers unified incident views and threat analysis, crucial for speeding up triage, investigation, and remediation.
Moreover, XDR solutions offer advanced automation and orchestration capabilities that improve threat detection and reduce false positives. They can also reduce the time to detect and respond to threats, which is critical for organizations that must meet regulatory compliance requirements. However, XDR solutions can be complex to configure and manage and require skilled personnel. It can be a challenge for organizations with limited security resources and expertise. As a result, some may choose to use a managed XDR service.
XDR vs. MDR
First defined in 2018, XDR is often described as EDR on steroids, extending detection and response capabilities to enterprise security layers beyond the endpoint. Designed to operate on top of existing infrastructure and tools, the most mature XDR solutions provide comprehensive visibility with a unified interface for rapid investigation and response actions.
Ingest data from security tools with a powerful engine that performs out-of-the-box cross-stack correlation. It helps to weed out erroneous alerts and surface high-priority threats that require action. Many XDR platforms also deliver prescriptive analysis and guidance to help analysts contextualize and prioritize incidents, which is particularly valuable for lean security teams.
A centralized management console and automated, customizable remediation actions reduce the time security analysts spend on routine tasks. XDR enables organizations to block, allow, and remove access from various threat vectors, including malware, spyware, ransomware, cryptojacking, and other attacks through user custom rules or built-in intelligence.
Unlike MDR, which involves outsourcing responsibility for cybersecurity to an external service provider, XDR is designed for use internally. Ultimately, selecting an XDR solution should be informed by a risk assessment considering your business priorities and the resources you can commit to managing a threat detection and response program in-house. It’s important to understand that no two organizations are exactly alike, with different cyber risk profiles and varying security budgets as a percentage of revenue.
XDR vs. SIEM
Organizations can choose from various detection and response tools to mitigate the risk of attacks and limit damage. XDR is becoming increasingly popular as an integrated platform that connects and correlates data from multiple security solutions. Security teams can increase productivity and save time and effort by utilizing fewer independent products, automating fundamental SOC procedures, and gaining visibility into unified attack timelines.
Unlike SIEM, which focuses on collecting, aggregating, and analyzing log data from across the enterprise, XDR contains a broad range of security telemetry from various sources, including endpoints, networks, servers, cloud workloads, and more. This unified visibility delivers improved threat detection and response capabilities, including prioritization, incident ticketing, and automated actions for faster remediation.
XDR can also help reduce alert fatigue and false positives by providing context and priority for detected threats, which can be difficult to discern amongst the noise of siloed information from multiple tools. Lowering the quantity of manual investigation and response work needed and enabling security staff to concentrate on the most severe occurrences can also increase operational efficiency.