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Extended Detection and Response (XDR): Working and Benefits

  • Neelam Tyagi
  • Nov 01, 2021
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The cybersecurity landscape is growing and spreading constantly, and so severe threats to attack the surface. In an attempt to resolve this, several organizations are working to improve their security postures via enabling effective and efficient threat detection and remediation approaches for sophisticated and intricate attacks.


Responding to these attacks against security platforms, a suitable approach is “layered approach” where an organization makes implementation of authenticated solutions in the particular of endpoint detection and response (EDR), network traffic analytics (NTA), and security information and event management (SIEM). These solutions can provide in- depth defence across different platforms (Cloud, IoT, Computers, Mobiles, etc) for detecting and responding to cyber attacks, these have some limitations also. 


(Must check: AI with cloud computing)


Thereby, an effective solution to cope with cyber threats and overthrow such limitations, we will be discussing XDR through this blog.


Defining XDR


In a simplistic view, XDR compiles and correlates automatically massive data across multiple security layers including emails, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and network systems. This systematic technique supports quick threats detection and advances threat investigation as well as response action through security analysis.


XDR helps security analysts in;


  • Revealing threats, risks, attacks that are highly sophisticated or hidden

  • Inspecting and tracking threats across numerous security system components

  • Enhancing detection and response speed

  • Automating processes to investigate threats more effectively and efficiently


(Related blog: Cybersecurity with IoT)


Extended Detection and Response (XDR) promises to couple various products across a steady and uninterrupted security incident-based detection and response platform. It is considered as the logical evolution of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions for an early detection and response tool.


The essential advantages of XDR are following;

  • Advanced protection, detection and response effectiveness

  • Enhanced potential of operations and security personnel

  • Reduces the total ownership cost for productive detection and response of security threats. 


(Similar read: Types and importance of cybersecurity)


Benefits of XDR


Being formulated to make security visible and simplified across an organization ecosystem, XDR offers number of benefits and efficiencies to an organization such as below;


  1. Greater Visibility: Practically, EDR solutions are limited to endpoints and server environments, and external security services (or third party security solutions) can access limited views of threats. 


XDR especially adds a 360 degree view to security landscape- 


  • Allowing security experts to expose threats on any security layer,

  • To analyze how an attack happened- from entry points, affected areas, to where the threat originated and how it spread, and

  • To response options/threats and go beyond infrastructure control points, networks and endpoints.


  1. Prioritization: In order to maintain floods of security alerts generated by security devices, IT teams and security groups encounter massive signals. The implication of broader data analysis and parallel efficiency, that XDR offers, supports teams to club connected alerts together, prioritize them and operate the significant ones.


(Suggested read: What is encrypting viruses?)


  1. Automation: XDR provides automated tools boosting up detection and response while diminishing manual steps required to process security procedures. 


The use of automation authorizes IT departments to decipher massive amounts of security data and conduct complicated procedures at ease constantly.


  1. Operational proficiency: XDR overlooks a holistic picture of threats within the complete security environment across a network instead of providing a scattered allocation of security tools. 


To account for operational efficiency, centralized data collection and instantaneous threat response are offered by XDR solutions, a greatly integrated application into server environments and extensive security ecosystems.  


  1. Instantaneous detection and response: Facilitating the more robust and compelling security portrait, XDR adds multiple benefits to endpoint security management, the extended efficiency not only captures and counters to threats rapidly but also controls risks via enhancing visibility in today’s critical security environment.


  1. More sophisticated response: In contrast to conventional EDR that are subjected to responding to critical threats by potential endpoints only, the EDR approach is applicable when the endpoint is a user device but affected when a critical server is spoiled.


XDR embraces more advanced efficiency and integrated visibility allowing it to modify responses with respect to specific systems and benefits other control points to reduce entire impact.


(Recommended blog: What is Differential Privacy and How does it Work?)


How does XDR work?


XDR solutions employ a fundamental security technology to portrait necessary steps in enterprise security capabilities. 


Accessing raw data extracted from the network environment, XDR can spot illegal actions/ persons that are making use of legitimate software in order to gain access to the system- to get security information, event management software, SIEM or similar things.  


Conducting automated analysis and correlation of activity data, XDR authorizes security groups to expose threats more effectively. For example, XDR can verify a threat detected at the endpoint with the email or workload in the context of where it has originated and what other endpoints get affected with the threat. Following the process, techniques like EDR, XDR respond to threats or remove it. 


(Also read: Best data security practices)


Needless to state, the potential of XDR- data collection and integration with the network environment, assists in responding to threats more efficiently to the impacted assets. Leveraging an extensive picture of threats, security teams can handle risks, threats, and security alerts in a manner which is both efficient and targeted. This also helps in reducing downtime and errors over critical servers. 


In practice, XDR works in three segments as discussed by VMware;


  1. Data Analysis: XDR complies and operates data within various security layers, these layers are endpoints, security networks, server landscapes and cloud security. 


Following the superior data analysis process, XDR correlates multiple security alerts from these layers and comes up with a number of optimized high-priority alerts and security alternatives, thereby avoiding the struggle of security teams.

  1. Threat Detection: As discussed, XDR has integrated visibility allowing security panels to undergo thorough security checks and alerts and report the incharge regarding important alerts and immediate actions. 


The same path assists in composing a criterion of a normal behaviour into an environment enabling early detection of threats that uses legitimate software, also to inspect the real-time inception of threats for interrupting them to impact other parts of the system. 


  1. Threat Response: Similar to EDR, XDR has the ability to spot and throw threats incessantly once it detects, and update security policies in order to defend occurrence of similar attacks again. 


Moreover, XDR goes beyond the prevention of endpoints to respond to threats steadily across all security control points- from container security to networks and servers. 


EDR and XDR solutions


While designed purposely for substituting legacy, tricky approaches to cybersecurity. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions exhibit much similarities, for example, as discussed below;


  1. Protective Approaches


Where the conventional security solutions were subjected to spot and resolve multiple threats, EDR and XDR are aimed to offer data-driven solutions to defend security matters via the process of accumulating comprehensive data, applying data analytics method, and threat intelligence in order to detect threats priorly. 


  1. Instantaneous response to threats


Assisting automated threat detection and quick response, EDR and XDR encourages enterprises to maintain optimized cost, impact, and damage, generated by cyberattacks, via protecting or quickly interceding it.


  1. Proactive support to threat hunting 


Threat hunting supports intense security systems and networks by instructing analysts to recognize threats and remediate significant security incidents before they get exploited by cyberattackers. EDR and XDR can offer rooted visibility and smooth access of data while supporting threat hunting efforts.


EDR and XDR also hold some similarities when it comes to approaches to cybersecurity, below are discussing prime differences amidst EDR and XDR;


  • Objectives


EDR provides endpoint protection along with broader visibility and threat prevention for a particular device, in contrast to that, XDR provides a window for integrated security beyond endpoints, cloud computing, authenticated emails, and other solutions.


  • Integrated solutions


EDR offers innovative and excellent preservation for endpoints where organizations can integrate with other arrays of points of solutions manually.


XDR solutions are designed in a way that they give integrated visibility and threat management in a single solution making the security architecture of an organization more simplified.


(Read also: Information Security vs Cyber Security)





During the blog discussion, we have understood precisely that extended detection and response (XDR) are the security solutions delivering a proactive visibility, threat detection, inspection and response across security layers. 


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.”


Facilitating revised security and visibility, XDR solutions preserve system networks, endpoints, Security information and event management (SIEM) and many more of an organization through open-system integration.

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