XDR (Extended Detection and Response) serves as an cybersecurity solution that unifies threat data gathering from an array of previously isolated security tools within an organization’s comprehensive technology stack. This unification facilitates more efficient and rapid threat investigation, hunting, and response. As a robust technology, XDR not only collates data but does so across various security layers including email, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and network. It employs sophisticated analytics to weave this information into a coherent narrative of an attack, providing a unified view of threats even when multiple attack vectors are involved. This holistic approach heightens cyber defense capabilities, providing a more efficient response to multi-faceted threats.
XDR is considered a more advanced version of endpoint detection and response (EDR). EDR focuses on endpoints, while XDR focuses on multiple security control points. It is a software as a service (SaaS) offering that provides holistic, optimized security by consolidating tooling.
XDR is an increasingly popular solution that addresses the complexity of today’s cybersecurity landscape. Traditional security approaches limited to a specific layer of the security environment tend to generate greater volumes of alerts, require more time to investigate and respond to events, and require more maintenance and management.
Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is an advanced, unified security solution that amalgamates data from disparate security tools across an organization’s IT infrastructure. By breaking down traditional silos, XDR enhances the detection, investigation, and response to potential security threats. It’s designed with a sophisticated capability to uncover highly complex or concealed threats and monitor these threats across multiple system components. This proactive and integrated approach not only simplifies and accelerates threat detection and management but also fortifies an organization’s overall security posture. In essence, XDR marks a significant evolution in cybersecurity, enabling security teams to respond more effectively and promptly to emerging threats.
XDR is designed to help security teams:
This is part of an extensive series of guides about cybersecurity.
An XDR platform can provide the following benefits:
Here are the four key capabilities of XDR solutions.
Collecting data from multiple security layers
XDR solutions analyze both internal and external traffic, from multiple layers of an organization’s technology stack. This makes it possible to identify threats even if they bypass the system perimeter, integrate threat intelligence to identify known attack methods, and leverage machine learning-based detection to identify unknown and zero-day threats.
Advanced analytics for automated investigation
XDR tools correlate alerts and data from multiple security silos and use advanced analytics to build complete attack timelines. They can also combine data to provide unified visibility into attacks that involve multiple attack vectors.
Fast detection of threats and improved investigation and response
XDR tools provide a central UI that lets analysts investigate and respond to events, regardless where they occurred in the environment. They provide response orchestration, integrating with multiple security tools—for example, XDR can automatically update endpoint policies or spam email rules across the enterprise, in response to an attack.
Flexible SaaS-based deployment
XDR solutions can orchestrate and automate existing security tools, making more of existing security investments. They are cloud-based, with scalable storage and compute to reduce costs and operational overhead. Finally, they continuously improve by applying machine learning and threat intelligence to huge volumes of historical data.
XDR is different from other security tools in that it centralizes, normalizes, and correlates data from multiple sources. These capabilities enable more complete visibility and can expose less obvious events.
By collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources, XDR solutions are able to better validate alerts, thereby reducing false positives and increasing reliability. This helps reduce any time teams might waste on excessive or inaccurate alerts. According to Gartner, this results in improved productivity in security teams and allows faster, more automated responses.
Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a solution that provides an alternative to an in-house SOC. It provides 24/7 network monitoring and detection of security incidents by human security analysts.
Both MDR and XDR help security teams deal with limited resources and growing threats, by they do so in different ways:
For organizations just starting to build their security infrastructure, MDR will typically provide a more cost effective solution and significantly faster ramp up.
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is used in most security operations centers as a central repository of security event data and a way to generate alerts from security events. XDR can extend SIEM by tapping into SIEM data, and combining it with data from point solutions that integrate with the XDR platform.
XDR can take SIEM one step further. For example, when a SIEM platform generates an alert, instead of having security analysts manually go into endpoint security systems or cloud systems to investigate further, XDR can do this automatically.
XDR also enables more advanced analytics. SIEM was traditionally based on statistical correlation rules, while XDR introduces AI-driven analysis that establishes behavioral baselines, and identifies anomalies based on these baselines.
You can learn more about endpoint security concepts in our guides:
EDR was created to provide perimeter-wide protection for a system. This was an advancement on existing methods as it provided coverage for a primary component in an attack: endpoints. The result was proactive endpoint security that covered many security gaps and blindspots.
Effective use of EDR still requires collaboration with other tools and processes, however. It cannot protect your system on its own. It also cannot provide full visibility of your system.
XDR is a more advanced version of EDR. Unlike EDR, it can provide visibility into every phase of an attack, from endpoint to payload. By integrating XDR into your security platform, you can collate information from across your systems.
Learn more about EDR in our guide: What Does EDR Stand For?
Cynet 360 AutoXDR is the world’s first Autonomous Breach Protection platform that natively integrates the endpoint, network and user attack prevention & detection of XDR with the automated investigation and remediation capabilities of SOAR, backed by a 24/7 world-class MDR service. End to end, fully automated breach protection is now within reach of any organization, regardless of security team size and skill level.
Get a free trial of Cynet 360 and experience the world’s only integrated XDR, SOAR and MDR solution.
Cortex XDR by Palo Alto: Architecture & Capabilities Overview
Palo Alto Networks offers an XDR platform called Cortex XDR, packaged as two main versions. Cortex XDR Prevent provides protection for endpoints, and Cortex XDR Pro adds capabilities for networks, cloud resources, and third-party products. The basic functionalities of Cortex XDR include an app for tracking visibility and a data lake for logging. Advanced capabilities feature an analytics engine, next-generation firewalls, agents, and alerts.
Learn what capabilities to expect in Palo Alto’s XDR.
XDR Security Solutions: Get to Know the Top 8
XDR enables organizations to extend endpoint visibility beyond regular endpoint detection and response (EDR). XDR security solutions can integrate with existing SOAR and SIEM, as well as cloud and on-premise environments, and remote endpoints such as IoT.
Learn about XDR capabilities and what are the top 8 XDR platforms.
McAfee XDR: McAfee Endpoint Security Suite at a Glance
McAfee MVISION XDR enables organizations to extend EDR capabilities, providing features for adversarial research and threat intelligence information. McAfee XDR is part of the McAfee Endpoint Security Suite, which includes solutions for endpoint and mobile protection, as well as policy management via an interface called MVISION ePO.
Learn what capabilities to expect from each solution.
Cisco XDR: SecureX Suite at a Glance
Cisco’s XDR enables organizations to collect and analyze threat data, as well as prioritize, hunt, and remediate threats. Cisco’s XDR security solution is part of the SecureX cloud-native platform, which integrates with all Cisco security offerings. Organizations use SecureX to centralize security products and environments, such as network security, cloud edge, and EDR.
Discover capabilities offered by Cisco XDR and other SecureX solutions.
Read more: Cisco XDR: SecureX Suite at a Glance
What is Trend Micro XDR?
Trend Micro offers a wide range of cybersecurity tools and services, including extended detection and response (XDR). Trend Micro XDR services are part of the Trend Micro Vision One platform, which provides capabilities such as data collection and correlation, and threat intelligence.
Discover the Trend Micro Vision One XDR platform, the managed Trend Micro XDR Service, and how the solution works to protect endpoints, networks, and cloud systems.
Together with our content partners, we have authored in-depth guides on several other topics that can also be useful as you explore the world of cybersecurity.
Authored by Cynet
Authored by Cynet
Authored by Atlantic
XDR stands for eXtended Detection and Response:
The main promise of XDR is to reduce the likelihood of breaches that will have an impact on an organization and its customers.
XDR gives analysts contextual information about real attacks that can help them understand, contain and eradicate the threat more quickly. It can do this by combining data sources from the entire cybersecurity ecosystem, including endpoints but extending to networks, cloud resources and other resources, and helping analysts visualize the entire kill chain.
In addition, XDR can achieve significant efficiencies in security organizations, which suffer from a talent shortage and scarce resources. XDR is a unified platform, rather than a set of separate security tools, making it easy to deploy, upgrade, expand, and manage. This reduces the need for extensive training and certifications, and improves productivity, especially for Tier 1 security analysts.
XDR collects activity data from multiple vectors including endpoints, servers, and networks, providing a level of detection that is difficult or impossible to achieve with SIEM or isolated security solutions.
Tools like next generation antivirus (NGAV), endpoint detection and response (EDR) or network detection and response (NDR) are only effective against attacks that are focused on one layer of the security environment, and find it difficult to detect and respond to threats that cross multiple layers, for example leveraging a compromised endpoint to attack the network.
XDR takes endpoint detection and response (EDR) one step further, evolving the original EDR approach which focused on a single security vector.
EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) is still of great value, and XDR solutions continue to leverage EDR capabilities to protect endpoints. However, EDR is ultimately limited because it can only see the endpoint in a complex attack story. This limits the scope of the threats that can be detected and mitigated. In this sense, XDR is better than just EDR alone, because it extends the benefits of EDR to threats that go beyond the endpoint to target additional security layers