Introduction

There are multiple layers in the IT infrastructure, including endpoints that need securing against all the possible threats, including zero-day threats. While Endpoint Detection and Response or EDR was introduced to secure the IT perimeter, providing pre-emptive endpoint protection covering most blind spots and gaps, it required tremendous collaboration with other tools and processes. More importantly, it could not provide full visibility of the entire setup. Let’s explore what is XDR and how it is set to transform IT security using Machine learning and artificial intelligence.

EDR was great at providing visibility of what is taking place at the endpoints in case of an attack and take the required actions, but to get an overall story across the IT infrastructure was only possible by bringing in specialist monitoring and detection tools.

Enter XDR, which, unlike EDR, not only provides full visibility into all phases of an attack, from the endpoint to the payload, also collates information across the systems and presents to you the bigger picture. Based on the information collected, it puts together a picture of the events that are considered part of the attack, both that have taken place and the ones being carried out in the present.

  1. What is XDR
  2. Which security technologies are included in XDR?
  3. Benefits of XDR
  4. How will XDR be deployed?
  5. What types of organizations are best suited for XDR?
  6. XDR vs EDR vs MDR

1. What is XDR

XDR full form pans out as Extended Detection and Response, which is basically an extension of the EDR in many ways and brings in a lot of analytics to the table to help make timely and informed decisions on threat detection response, including zero-day threats. More importantly, XDR is proactive than reactive in threat detection.

XDR helps security teams with

Threat identification, even the hidden and sophisticated ones

Track all threats across multiple systems and components

Enhanced detection and speed of response

XDR was developed to plug in the gaps that reactive endpoint protection solutions providing only layer-based visibility with little or no correlation of threats across the layers. Layer-specific tools like EDR are time-consuming as far as the investigation goes and also tend to require more maintenance.

Far from being layer-specific, XDR consolidates all actionable tooling information, applies machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to the data collected and presents a more intuitive and comprehensible picture of a threat. XDR thus also enables efficient and effective use of IT security teams.

2. Which security technologies are included in XDR?

Which security technology is included within an XDR solution is really up to the vendor and the specific industry where the XDR solution will be implemented? If your business needs robust email security, one of the components in the XDR will be email security. Due to its design, XDR inherently lends itself to a lot of customization. The most common components that are included in XDR bundles are

  • Endpoint/Cloud/Server workload security
  • Threat vector cover for email/web
  • Sandboxing, for detonating file threats.
  • Threat intelligence related analytics
  • SOAR capabilities.

3. Benefits of XDR

A well-designed and implemented XDR solution can provide wide-ranging benefits relative to other solutions.

  • Intelligence-based threat mitigation and prevention: Machine learning-based adaptive threat intelligence ensures that pre-emptive protection against a variety of threats based on behaviour and not merely on signatures. Automated response to threat detection offers a consistent blockade of threats across the IT infrastructure, minimizing damage at all levels.
  • Visibility to a granular level: XDR gathers full user data from all endpoints along with network and communications carried out between applications. This data includes information like access permissions, files accessed, applications in use, and the like. This data augments the detection, and automated response further strengthens monitoring.
  • Agile and effective response: The response to a threat and attack is total, with the information that is collected from the attack scene, even allowing you to trace the attack, helping to reconstruct the attack.
  • Better control: Blacklisting and Whitelisting behavioural activities within the security perimeter allows for superlative control of the IT assets.
  • Better productivity: Centralization of alerts and automated responses based on machine learning allows for fewer false positives, thus improving productivity.

4. How will XDR be deployed?

XDR being a scalable solution, it is expected that XDR is deployed in a phased manner replacing various piecemeal tools with respective XDR components. This allows various approaches, starting from a more tactical layer like endpoint, progressing through other layers over time. XDR assures incremental value with the deployment of each additional component.

5. What types of organizations are best suited for XDR?

XDR is best suited for medium and small entities with multi-layered IT security setup. XDR is ideal in cases where the staff is short on skills to be able to implement their own integrated security architecture. XDR will also benefit large enterprises too, but the implementation gets complex with a large and distributed network of security controls in such organisations.

6. XDR vs EDR vs MDR

  • MDR vs XDR

Managed Detection and Response or MDR is more of an outsourced XDR/EDR, outsourced to a third party which may then implement their own versions that might not be a perfect fit for your IT setup. With XDR, you get to tailor your IT security solution to your specific needs.

  • EDR vs XDR

EDR essentially is just a subset of the full range of capabilities that XDR can potentially offer. XDR is the future of EDR as per industry analysts. While EDR ensures endpoint protection based on signatures, XDR offers better security cover with its multi-layer architecture providing a holistic security solution.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that XDR is a superior IT security solution, offering a more holistic solution to IT security than just securing the endpoints.

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