What Is Extended Detection and Response (XDR)?

What Is Extended Detection and Response (XDR)?

XDR Defined

Extended Detection and Response solutions, or XDR as they're mostly known, provide increased visibility into security alerts and data across all security telemetry, including networks, clouds, endpoints, and applications while applying analytic and automation to detect, analyze, hunt, and mitigate threats.

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.

Gartner, Innovation Insight for Extended Detection and Response,
Peter Firstbrook, Craig Lawson, 19 March 2020.

Is XDR the same as EDR?

It's the age-old question, what came first, the chicken or the egg? This time, it was both EDR and MDR. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) used endpoint telemetry to improve detection and remediation efforts over antivirus capabilities and a simplistic approach to detection. MDR brought a managed component to the services, and in some instances focused capabilities on more than just endpoint devices.

Threat Intelligence Evolution

How is XDR different?

XDR extends the range of EDR to encompass more deployed security solutions, where the range of EDR improved over the past defenses to help prevent a security breach.

XDR is different from other security solutions in that it centralizes, normalizes, and correlates data from multiple sources, including cloud security, to break down security silos and provide more complete visibility and insights for faster detection.

XDR solutions help reduce false positives and increase response time by collecting and analyzing data from a wide range of sources. This reduces the time security experts might waste on incorrect or excessive notifications. The result of this is improved productivity in security teams and an improved security posture.

XDR goes beyond the capabilities that can be achieved with a combination of security incident and event management solutions. SIEM solutions collect shallow data, while XDR collects deeper data. XDR can provide better context for events thanks to these collection methods. Because the alert sources are native to the XDR solution, the integration and maintenance effort required for monitoring is eliminated.

Why enterprises need XDR security

Security analysts need a platform that intelligently brings together all relevant security data to help detect advanced adversaries and sophisticated attacks in real time. As adversaries use more complex attack tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to successfully circumvent and exploit traditional security infrastructure, organizations are scrambling to secure increasing numbers of vulnerabilities both inside and outside the traditional network perimeter.

Security Operation Center's have been historically stretched for years, and with the recent pandemic, the strain on cybersecurity professionals 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, and cloud workloads without overburdening security operation center staff.

Most appealing XDR capabilities

Most appealing XDR capabilities
Source: XDR Survey by the Enterprise Strategy Group

Benefits of an XDR Solution

The key benefit and primary advantage to Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions are that they take a holistic approach to provide increased visibility and context into advanced persistent threats that may have been missed, improving response capabilities by allowing security teams to quickly focus response efforts and reduce the severity and scope of an attack.

Additional benefits of XDR

  • Improved protection and detection capabilities
  • Continuous monitoring of the entire security environment
  • Using machine learning to decrease alert overload and automate response to security events
  • Increased security analyst productivity and reduce alert fatigue
  • Pinpoint advanced threats to reduce false positives
  • Automated network traffic analysis to focus response efforts
  • Integrated incident response recommendations to resolve alerts quickly

What Should Customers Look for in an XDR Solution?

The shortage of cybersecurity professionals leaves companies at risk and holes in a security operations center. Despite investments in security tools, security teams are limited by the number of resources they have, resulting in longer dwell times.

An XDR solution should be an open, extensible solution that integrates your existing security components to enable your organization to get more from its existing investments.

It should have integrations with partner ecosystems and third-party providers to enhance functionality, avoiding a costly rip-and-replace approach.

Finally, it needs continuously updated threat intelligence and a streamlined user experience allow analysts to be more efficient and spend less time on investigations. With relevant intelligence, precision attack detection, and optimized response, security teams can pinpoint threats to respond faster and decisively.

Learn more about XDR

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Gartner, Client Question Video: What Is Extended Detection and Response, and Why Should I Care?, Peter Firstbrook, 28 October 2021.
Gartner, Innovation Insight for Extended Detection and Response,Peter Firstbrook, Craig Lawson, 19 March 2020.