Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is the beginning of a shift toward uniting multiple siled solutions and reducing the complexity that prevents rapid detection and response.
We tell you here what XDR is, how it works, its use cases, and its benefits.
What is XDR (Extended Detection and Response) & What Is Used For?
Extended Detection and Response is considered the evolution of existing threat detection and response solutions.
Applies proactive measures by providing visibility into data across system, network, and endpoint components in combination with analytics and automation.
XDR is designed to help security teams to:
- Identify highly sophisticated or hidden threats.
- Track threats across various system components.
- Improve speed of detection and response.
- Investigate threats more effectively and efficiently.
XDR was developed as an alternative to reactive endpoint protection solutions, providing only a layer of visibility or correlation of non-response events.
For example, endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools or network traffic analysis (NTA).
While still useful, these layer-specific tools tend to provide higher alert volumes, require more time to investigate and respond to events, and require more maintenance and administration.
Rather, XDR consolidates tools and enables security teams to work more effectively and efficiently.
XDR is considered the evolution of EDR, which optimizes threat detection, investigation, response, and hunting in real-time. XDR unifies security-relevant endpoint detections with telemetry from security and business tools, such as network visibility and analytics (NAV), email security, identity, and access management, web security, the cloud, and more.
It is a cloud-native platform built on an extensive data infrastructure to provide security teams with flexibility, scalability, and automation opportunities.
XDR differs from other security tools in that it centralizes, normalizes, and correlates data from multiple sources. These capabilities allow fuller visibility and can expose less obvious events.
By collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources, XDR solutions can better validate alerts, thereby reducing false positives and increasing reliability.
This helps reduce the time teams can spend on excessive or inaccurate alerts. And it results in increased productivity in security teams and enables faster, more automated responses.
Although similar results can be achieved with a combination of EDR and security incident and event management (SIEM) solutions, XDR goes beyond these capabilities.
SIEM solutions collect superficial data from many sources, while XDR collects deeper data from specific sources.
Benefits & Importance of XDR (Extended Detection and Response)
The main promise of XDR is to reduce the likelihood of breaches impacting an organization and its customers.
XDR provides analysts with contextual information about real attacks that can help them understand, contain, and eradicate the threat more quickly.
They can do this by combining data sources from across the cybersecurity ecosystem, including endpoints, but extending to networks, cloud resources, and other resources, and helping analysts visualize the entire kill chain.
Additionally, XDR can achieve significant efficiencies in security organizations, which suffer from a shortage of talent and scarce resources.
XDR is a unified platform, rather than a set of separate security tools, making it easy to deploy, update, expand, and manage.
This reduces the need for extensive training and certifications, and improves productivity, especially for Tier 1 security analysts.
Thus, an XDR platform can provide the following benefits:
- Enhanced prevention capabilities: The inclusion of threat intelligence and adaptive machine learning can help ensure that solutions can implement protections against the widest range of attacks. Additionally, continuous monitoring in combination with automated response can help block a threat as soon as it is detected to prevent damage.
- Granular Visibility: Provides comprehensive user data at an endpoint in combination with application and network communications. This includes information about access permissions, applications in use, and files being accessed. Having complete visibility across your entire system, including on-premises and in the cloud, allows you to detect and block attacks faster.
- Effective response: Robust data collection and analysis allows you to trace the path of an attack and reconstruct the attacker’s actions. This provides the information needed to locate the attacker wherever they are. It also provides valuable information that you can apply to strengthen your defenses.
- Greater control: Includes the ability to blacklist and whitelist traffic and processes. This ensures that only approved actions and users can enter your system.
- Better productivity: Centralization reduces the number of alerts and increases the accuracy of signals. This means fewer false positives to rule out. Also, because XDR is implemented as a platform, it is easier to maintain and manage and reduces the number of interfaces that security must access during a response.
Use Cases & Real-life Examples of XDR (Extended Detection and Response)
XDR can support a wide range of network security responsibilities. It can also be adapted to help support specific use cases, depending on the maturity of your security teams.
Below are three use cases, reflecting the levels with which security professionals are often classified.
- Tier 1 – Classification: XDR solutions can be adopted as the primary tool for aggregating data, monitoring systems, detecting events, and alerting security teams. These systems may form the foundation for future efforts or may allow for a transfer to higher-level teams.
- Tier 2 – Research: Teams can use solutions as repositories for analysis and information about events. This information, in combination with threat intelligence, can be used to investigate events, assess responses, and train security personnel.
- Level 3 – Threat hunting: The data collected by XDR solutions can be used as the basis for performing threat-hunting operations.
These operations proactively look for evidence of threats that systems and analysts have missed. The data used and collected during threat-hunting processes can also be used to create new threat intelligence that is then used to strengthen existing security policies and systems.