As digital infrastructure becomes the backbone of modern business, the sophistication and frequency of cyber threats have escalated, making advanced security measures a necessity. These digital infrastructures and remote working trends have expanded the cybersecurity perimeter, creating a wider attacker surface and introducing new risks and vulnerabilities that organizations need to manage

As threats evolve and the perimeter dissolves, cybersecurity leaders need to adapt their defenses. There’s been a lot of hype around eXtended Threat Detection & Response (XDR) as a key solution to address the multifaceted nature of current cyber risks, so it’s worth clarifying a few common questions.

In this blog we’ll explore common questions including “What is XDR?”, “How does it work?” and “What are the benefits of extended detection and response?” We’ll explain how this type of security can help to avoid a cybersecurity breach and the potentially serious consequences that may follow: data loss, interference with critical business systems, theft of customer data, and damage to brand and bottom line.


What is XDR?

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is designed to provide holistic protection against cyberattacks.

Gartner describes XDR as a

“Cohesive security incident detection and response platform that automatically compiles and correlates data from numerous proprietary security components.”

Rather than relying on siloed security tools responsible for monitoring the different elements of your infrastructure, XDR brings all of this security data –including endpoints, identities, email, cloud infrastructures and applications, IT/OT network traffic — into a single analytical framework enriched by threat intelligence. As a result, it becomes easier and faster to identify, investigate and respond to threats from across your attack surface.

XDR is typically constituted of traditional EDR, network detection and response (NDR), user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), threat intelligence, and natively integrated automated response capabilities.

As a cybersecurity solution, XDR is most commonly implemented by organizations with smaller security teams, but it offers benefits to businesses of any size – as security leaders look for an approach that not only streamlines threat detection and response but also provides a comprehensive view of their cybersecurity posture.


How does XDR work?

Imagine XDR as the central nervous system of your IT/OT security monitoring  that seamlessly performs three critical functions:

Data ingestion and unification: All of the security data (raw telemetry and alerts) from your IT/OT systems is ingested, normalized, enriched with threat intelligence, in order to create a cohesive dataset.

Threat detection and investigation: Using advanced analytics, AI and machine learning, XDR correlates multiple data sets and business context to separate the signal from the noise and enable analysts to identify and investigate the relevant attack stories, prioritized by the platform according to severity and risk.

Accelerated response: Integrated incident response options (automated or human-led), can then be initiated empowering security teams with the confidence that they are taking the correct course of mitigating action, at speed.


What is XDR used for, and what are the benefits of XDR?

XDR is a significant upgrade on the standard Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) software, and competes to some degree with SIEM/SOAR. XDR offers a number of key cybersecurity benefits, including:

  • Enhanced visibility — XDR provides a complete, 360-degree view of your entire cybersecurity landscape, bringing all of that data into one place and reducing missed alerts through automatic cross correlation and confirmation.
  • Increased efficiency — XDR streamlines threat detection and resolution, reducing the need for multiple security solutions.. Integrated AI and machine learning functionality also reduces the amount of manual investigation required.
  • Proactive defense — with real-time monitoring and automated responses, XDR platform significantly augments security teams and enhances overall security posture by reducing the time the attacker has access to your systems.


XDR in action

We’ve explored what XDR is and the benefits versus traditional cybersecurity solutions, but what are some of the potential use cases of this software that unifies and simplifies security analysis, investigation, and remediation.

Ideal for large enterprises

EDR provides visibility over all the ‘endpoints’ within a network and, because an estimated 90% of successful cyber attacks originate at an endpoint, EDR is a suitable solution for many SMEs. However, for larger enterprise organizations with more complex IT infrastructure, EDR doesn’t go far enough.

Large enterprises are also more likely to be targeted by hackers deploying sophisticated tactics to breach their cybersecurity measures. XDR provides centralized visibility of the entire network, empowering security / IT teams to be able to identify and respond to advanced threats.

XDR is particularly effective at defending against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

APTs are a form of advanced cyber attack that gains access to a network and remains undetected for an extended period. The purpose of APTs is often to carry out massive data theft, corporate espionage or significant disruption to the operations of a business.

Due to the sophisticated and stealthy nature of APTs, EDR alone is not sufficient to protect your network. XDR’s comprehensive and centralized data collection and analysis, as well as machine learning-powered threat detection, provides a robust defence against APTs.


Ensure regulatory compliance

One of the most common aims of a cyber-attack is to steal sensitive data and personally identifiable information that can be monetized on the dark web. Cyber-attacks, in particular data breaches, may have a heavy financial and brand impact on organizations, particularly on those who cannot demonstrate compliance with relevant industry regulations laws, and standards of each jurisdiction in which they do business. The body of regulation concerning protection of data and disclosure of breaches, is growing exponentially. Cyber regulations include:

  • HIPAA – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, applicable in the United States
  • SEC – the Securities and Exchange Commission regulations ensures public companies and broker-dealers disclose – within a short period of time – cybersecurity incidents, e.g. data breaches.
  • GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation seeks to protect personal data of EU and UK citizens and applies to any entity handling the data, irrespective of their location.
  • NIS2 – the Network and Information Security Directive , provides legal measures to boost cybersecurity of network and information systems across the EU(enters into force in October 2024)
  • DORA – The Digital Operational Resilience Act of the European Union, ensures companies that provide information communication technology (ICT) services to financial entities can withstand, respond to, and recover from cyber threats and disruption.
  • FADP – the Federal Act of Data Protection, much like GDPR applies to the processing of personal data by in all sectors of the Swiss economy, by organizations, business, and Federal bodies.

While XDR solutions are not aimed primarily at solving regulatory compliance they do support it.   Indeed, the focus of XDR solutions is to detect and respond to threats more rapidly and effectively. At one level, the solution itself ensures compliance with regulations like HIPPA and GDPR by helping identify and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. On another level, long-term storage of data within the XDR platform itself for analysis of historical data can prove an organization took necessary steps to protect sensitive and personal data.


Is XDR right for your organization?

XDR is at the forefront of cybersecurity solutions, ideal for organizations seeking to enhance their defence mechanisms against advanced threats. It is particularly beneficial for enterprises with complex IT infrastructures or those facing sophisticated attack vectors.

It’s important to remember that XDR and a Managed Detection Response (MDR) solution are not mutually exclusive. An MDR vendor may leverage an XDR platform, not only taking your cybersecurity and threat detection off your desk, but also giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your entire network is always being monitored.

As cyber threats evolve, so should your defenses. As we described in this blog, XDR offers a dynamic and integrated approach to threat detection and response, addressing the complex challenges of today’s digital landscape. If you’re looking to elevate your cybersecurity strategy with XDR, Kudelski Security next generation MDR service – powered by its FusionDetect™ XDR platform – is here to guide you through every step, from selection to implementation.

Ready to transform your cybersecurity approach with MDR and XDR? Contact Kudelski Security today for expert advice and tailored solutions that protect your digital assets and help you build cyber resilience.

Was this article helpful?