What Is Extended Detection and Response (XDR)?

According to analyst firm Gartner, Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is “a SaaS-based, vendor-specific, security threat detection and incident response tool that natively integrates multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system that unifies all licensed components.”

XDR enables an enterprise to go beyond typical detective controls by providing a holistic and yet simpler view of threats across the entire technology landscape. XDR delivers real-time actionable threat information to security operations for better, faster outcomes.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) primary advantages are:

  • Improved protection, detection, and response capabilities
  • Improved productivity of operational security personnel
  • Lower total cost of ownership for effective detection and response of security threats

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) holds the promise of consolidating multiple products into a cohesive, unified security incident detection and response platform. XDR is a logical evolution of endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions into a primary incident response tool.

Why enterprises need XDR security

SOCs need a platform that intelligently brings together all relevant security data and reveals advanced adversaries. As adversaries use more complex tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to successfully circumvent and exploit traditional security controls, organizations are scrambling to secure increasing numbers of vulnerable digital assets both inside and outside the traditional network perimeter. Security teams have been historically stretched for years, and with recent work-from-home requirements the strain on resources has been amplified – security professionals are being once again required to do more with the same or fewer resources, and with strict budget constraints. Enterprises need unified and proactive security measures to defend the entire landscape of technology assets, spanning legacy endpoints, mobile, network, and cloud workloads without overburdening staff and in-house management resources.

With bad actors including “lone wolf” attackers, hacking groups, nation states and even potentially malicious insiders constantly circling, enterprise security and risk managers are left to overcome too many disconnected security tools and data sets from too many vendors. Security staff struggle with a sea of data that results in alert overload, with too many false positives and little integration of data with analysis tools or incident response, and all under historic levels of operational stress.

Enterprise security and risk management leaders should consider the security advantages and productivity value of an XDR solution.

How does XDR work?

The primary value propositions of XDR products or capabilities include improving security operations productivity by enhancing detection and response capabilities by unifying visibility and control across endpoints, network, and cloud. XDR ingests and distills multiple streams of telemetry. XDR can also analyze TTPs and other threat vectors to make complex security operations capabilities more accessible to security teams that do not have the resources for more custom-made point solutions. XDR removes the daunting detection and investigation cycles and offers threat centric and business context to move more quickly to a response to the threat.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) security provides advanced threat detection and response capabilities including:

  • Detection and response to targeted attacks
  • Native support for behavior analysis of users and technology assets
  • Threat intelligence including shared local threat intelligence coupled with externally acquired threat intelligence sources
  • Reducing the need to chase false positives by correlating and confirming alerts automatically
  • Integrating relevant data for faster, more accurate incident triage
  • Centralized configuration and hardening capability with weighted guidance to help prioritize activities
  • Comprehensive analytics across all threat vectors
  • Automation and orchestration to streamline many SOC processes

What are the benefits of XDR?

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) products add value by consolidating multiple security products into a cohesive, unified security incident detection and response platform. XDR is an efficient evolution of endpoint detection and response (EDR) platforms into a primary incident response tool. Detecting today’s advanced threats requires more than a collection of point solutions. XDR can optimize response with advanced context.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) security provides advanced threat detection and response capabilities including:

  • Converting a large stream of alerts into a much smaller number of incidents that can be prioritized for manual investigation
  • Providing integrated incident response options that have necessary context from all security components to resolve alerts quickly
  • Providing response options that go beyond infrastructure control points, including network, cloud and endpoints delivering comprehensive protection
  • Providing automation capabilities for repetitive tasks to improve productivity
  • Reducing training and up-leveling Tier 1 support by providing a common management and workflow experience across security components
  • Providing usable and high-quality detection content requiring little-to-no tuning

XDR improves critical SOC functions when they are reacting to an attack in their environment:

  • Detection
    Identify more and meaningful threats by combining endpoint telemetry with a growing list of security controls providers as well security events collected and analyzed by security information and analytic platforms.

  • Investigation
    Human-machine teaming correlates all relevant threat information and applies situational security context to more quickly reduce signal from noise and assist with the identification of root cause.

  • Recommendations
    Provide analysts with prescriptive recommendations to further an investigation through additional queries as well as offer relevant response actions that would most effectively improve the containment or remediation of a detected risk or threat.

  • Hunting
    Provide a common query capability across a data repository containing multi-vendor sensor telemetry in search of suspicious threat behaviors, allowing threat hunters to locate and take action based on recommendations.

A comprehensive XDR platform requires a vendor that can deliver a product portfolio and a partner ecosystem with breadth, depth, and market maturity to seamlessly and meaningfully interconnect and correlate detections from alerts across multiple threat vectors. Automatically make sense of the context, prioritize risk, and derive at a response that may be easily orchestrated across the organization.