Understanding XDR in Cybersecurity

30 juni 2021 om 10:00 by ParTech Media - Post a comment

Cybersecurity is the stronghold of any organization. It is responsible for maintaining the integrity and authenticity of all the data and transactions within the organization. Trespassing of these data by a third party could cost the company millions and rupture the workflow of the organization.

The cybersecurity industry is rapidly evolving every day and is infusing the latest technologies into businesses to safeguard their data. However, the industry is not without challenges and the past few years that were filled with multiple cyber breaches across the globe are a testament to this statement. To counter some of these challenges, XDR was introduced. In this post, let us briefly understand what is XDR and what its contribution to the cybersecurity industry is.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to threat detection
  2. What is XDR?
  3. Why XDR?
  4. How does XDR contribute to better security?
  5. XDR players in the market
  6. Closing Thoughts

Introduction to threat detection

Proper threat detection ensures that all the security systems are free of any external attacks and the ecosystem remains intact. It also analyzes the entire security environment to recognize any malicious activity that can compromise the systems.

If a threat is identified, it must be mitigated as soon as possible by using the best solutions, thereby preventing the threat from rendering further damage to data and systems. Remember - Security is an ongoing process and not a guarantee.

EDR(Endpoint detection response), SIEM(Security information and event management), and NTA(network traffic analysis) are some of the most popular security systems currently prevalent.

However, they have several loopholes that allow attackers to exploit the network.

One of the biggest drawbacks of such security systems is alert overload. EDR and other security solutions send alert messages very frequently, most of which lack meaningful context. These alert messages are often incomplete and cannot be comprehended easily by security professionals. Another major concern is the technology gaps that exist between different security solutions in an organization.

Such challenges led to the birth of a new type of threat detection that is becoming increasingly popular and reliable in the corporate sphere.

What is XDR?

XDR is an acronym for Extended Detection and Response. It is a new approach to threat detection and security analysis. It is a key technology protecting the organization’s infrastructure and all data assets associated with it.

XDR introduces the concept of threat detection and analysis across multiple security controls including endpoint and network activity. This solution aggregates and correlates telemetry across diverse security controls and holistically defends the entire IT infrastructure. In short, XDR brings a new approach to the platter of threat detection and response.

It provides visibility across networks, clouds, and endpoints while applying analytics and automation to gather insights to address today’s sophisticated threats that have stepped up with time. Cross-layered detections and response have always been a far cry in the cybersecurity domain, but with XDR, a new level of visibility has cropped up in the cybersecurity world.

Why XDR?

XDR is gaining widespread acceptance amongst security teams due to its robust and reliable way of identifying advanced threats. On that note, here are some benefits of embracing XDR in your organization -

  1. It is proactive in identifying dormant, hidden, and sophisticated threats quickly
  2. It tracks threats across multiple sources and networks
  3. It bolsters the productivity of the people working in the security team
  4. It helps to get more out of your security investments
  5. It allows to close the investigation efficiently
  6. XDR feature set typically comprises network analysis, integrated threat intelligence, ML-based detection, user-friendly investigation, response orchestrated, and dynamic deployment.
  7. It helps to centralize your threat tooling stack and get a fine grip on the reins of security.

How does XDR contribute to better security?

XDR is often considered proactive because it provides unified and integrated data visibility across multiple assets in your organization. This unified visibility approach allows security teams to see data collected by various security solutions installed in different platforms(be it cloud resources, emails, or network resources such as endpoints).

While security strategies like EDR just have hawk eyes in the application’s endpoint, XDR has a much wider approach, extending its monitoring aspects beyond endpoints that comprise the network, cloud workloads, and other application aspects.

Having visibility on multiple zones, XDR analyzes the collected data and acts upon any threats, sending unified action alerts with the right context to security professionals.

XDR extracts activity data from multiple layers and correlates it to a data lake. All the fed information is now available in the most relevant structure for easy analysis and interpretation.

XDR players in the market

Since XDR provides a wide array of utilities, vendors providing XDR services may be from different backgrounds. Global Giants such as Microsoft and VMWare have a promising range of XDR services in their security arsenal. Hardware brands such as Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, and Enterprise security platforms such as McAfee have also included XDR as one of their important security solutions

Since many organizations, be it startups and enterprises, are willing to spend on one robust security solution instead of multiple ones (that can cause tool overload), XDR may be the right step towards strengthening their security.

For many organizations, XDR fills the skills shortage gap. Besides providing comprehensible alerts, it also provides protection against trojans and viruses. This means analysts can focus on other mission-critical areas instead of these threats.

For instance, Cortex XDR, a popular product of the Palo Alto network, replaces traditional antivirus and provides malware protection and multi-method prevention of exploits from unknown threats, thereby protecting end-users and endpoints.

Closing thoughts

Many organizations, irrespective of their size, are getting used to XDR products. They are slowly using XDR in combination with their existing security solutions to strengthen their protection even further. XDR can be integrated with the SIEM solution, and Security Orchestration and Automated Response(SOAR) that helps cybersecurity professionals to orchestrate their data assets with XDR in a broadened security environment.