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Guide: XDR

XDR Security: How Will XDR Impact Your SOC?



Contents

What Is XDR Security?

Extended detection and response (XDR) security platforms deliver visibility into data across various locations, collecting and correlating data across networks, endpoints, email, applications, and cloud workloads. XDR platforms use this visibility for hunting, detecting, analyzing, prioritizing, and remediating threats.

XDR platforms help provide context into advanced threats and vulnerabilities to prevent security breaches and data loss. These platforms employ analytics and automation to help surface unaddressed events, ensuring security teams can quickly shift focus to eliminate further impact and minimize the scope and severity of the attack.

Why Is XDR Important to Cybersecurity?

The definition of XDR is still evolving and may differ between different vendors. However, most XDR solutions include several key elements that contribute to an organization’s security posture: 

  • Improved endpoint security — protecting traditional endpoints such as workstations and laptops, physical and virtual servers both on-premises in the cloud, and new types of endpoints like internet of things (IoT) devices. 
  • Holistic protection — XDR protects additional IT systems such as email servers, web applications, networks, and cloud environments. 
  • Data storage and analysis — XDR stores data in a central data lake, enriches it with threat intelligence, and provides advanced analysis, reporting and alerting. Its advanced analytics can significantly accelerate threat detection and response. 
  • Improved threat detection — XDR can detect evasive threats and advanced persistent threats (APTs) that previous generation technologies could not identify. This includes detecting suspicious activity, complex behavioral patterns, and early warning signs.
  • Integrated solution — XDR is the only solution that provides end-to-end integration for the SOC that can handle all stages of the kill chain and enable data collection, detection, analysis and triage, initial response, and threat eradication.

What Are XDR Security Benefits?

Reducing Alert Fatigue

One of the critical aspects of an XDR solution is its ability to correlate data across multiple tiers of the IT environment, and combine both historical and real-time events. XDR can store all this data in a central data lake and apply advanced analytics and AI algorithms to it. 

The main benefit is that XDR can tie together the entire kill chain, packaging all the stages of an attack into a single alert. This reduces the number of alerts and also improves their quality, reducing the strain on security teams and letting them respond to real incidents faster.

Detecting Threats Faster and More Accurately

Threat actors often exploit gaps created by orphaned solutions. Without a fully integrated platform, it is difficult to identify blind spots and quickly respond to advanced, evasive threats. 

XDR enables security operations teams to detect advanced attacks anywhere in their environment, reducing the time needed to identify real threats by reducing false positives and working with validated, high-priority alerts. Working with disconnected security tools reduces a security analyst’s ability to detect sophisticated attacks, and XDR overcomes this with visibility over the entire kill chain. This means faster detection, shorter dwell times and faster mitigation.

Improved Efficiency and Productivity

Examining large amounts of data for high-fidelity alerts can be time consuming, and security analysts do not have enough time for the most critical task — investigating and responding to real threats. XDR uses machine learning and next-generation endpoint protection to automatically block threats, reducing the risk of intrusion and also generating less alerts for analysts to investigate.

XDR provides integrated incident response capabilities, centered around high-fidelity alerts showing the full context of the attack. A centralized management console improves visibility and workflow automation, making security analysts more efficient and productive. Another key benefit is that analysts do not need to train and certify on multiple tools — all activities from triage to event containment can be performed from one interface.

How Will XDR Security Impact the SOC?

SOCs need a platform that can intelligently unify all relevant security data and expose advanced attackers. Organizations are increasingly digitized and vulnerable to threats inside and outside the traditional network perimeter. Attackers have a huge variety of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to circumvent and exploit traditional security controls. 

Most security teams are stretched thin and operate on tight budgets. This means security professionals must do more with the same resources. Businesses need integrated, proactive security measures that can protect technology assets across traditional endpoints, networks, and cloud workloads, without burdening employees and requiring additional internal resources. 

XDR can change the stressful situation of having to deal with multiple, disconnected security tools, and datasets from different vendors. It can relieve the stress of alert overload and make incidents easier to investigate and resolve. So while XDR won’t change the SOC, it can make it more efficient and consequently, improve the work environment, morale, and productivity for over-burdened security staff.

XDR Security and Zero Trust

XDR alone is an effective security feature. However, when combined with a zero trust approach, organizations can gain additional benefits from the XDR approach. XDR has three key elements that can support a zero-trust strategy: 

Strong Controls Over Endpoints

These controls provide security teams with comprehensive visibility into potential threats and endpoint/device activity, providing a solid foundation for validation and trust building. Without visibility, there can be no true verification and trust-building.

Ability to Collect and Correlate Data

XDR continuously data from across the organization and correlates it, providing a backbone for continuous evaluation, which is a core part of zero trust strategies. This means that even after initial access to an endpoint is granted, assets are continually reevaluated to ensure that they are not compromised. 

For example, if an endpoint shows suspicious behavior, such as multiple logins from different locations, XDR can send a notification to the security team to revoke access.

Automation

Automation is critical to zero trust because it enables real time evaluation and response to the changing security context of each device or account. Zero trust systems can leverage XDR to detect security vulnerabilities, block them at enforcement time, and alert the security team. This closes the security gap, freeing up security teams to investigate advanced attacks.