XDR (extended detection and response) is an increasingly popular cybersecurity solution for preventing, detecting, and mitigating cyberattacks and intrusions. It addresses the complexity of today’s cybersecurity landscape. With many organizations running multiple security layers, including email, endpoint, server, cloud, and network, traditional security approaches have struggled to keep pace. As organizations’ infrastructure and technology become more complex, cybersecurity threats have become more sophisticated. XDR is an important tool for the prevention, detection, and mitigation of cyberattacks and intrusions.
What Is XDR?
Gartner defines XDR as “an emerging technology that can offer improved threat prevention, detection and response capabilities for security operations teams.” XDR provides a holistic view of threats and delivers real-time insights into security across the technology stack.
Two iterations of XDR worth noting are open versus native.
Open XDR (sometimes referred to as hybrid XDR) integrates top-performing security tools from multiple vendors into a single XDR platform. Unlike closed XDR, this approach doesn’t rely on one solution from a single vendor. Open XDR allows organizations to integrate the security tools they’ve already invested in while providing an option to add additional tools in the future.
Unlike open XDR, native XDR integrates security tools from one single vendor to draw security telemetry and then condense that information to perform response tasks. Native XDR offers a faster time-to-deployment option for companies with a relatively homogeneous IT infrastructure although available telemetry may be more limited.
How Does XDR Differ from Other Security Solutions?
As the cybersecurity landscape has become more complex, organizations have been forced to adapt their approach and toolkit to face new challenges. XDR is one of the best cybersecurity solutions and differs from older methods in some significant ways.
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is an important component of any organization's cybersecurity program. But it is only able to detect and respond to security threats in managed endpoints. Today’s cybersecurity threats are far more wide-ranging and diverse. EDR isn’t able to provide a complete view of who and what has been impacted by a security event, making it difficult for a security team to deploy an adequate response.
Security information and event management (SIEM) solutions are primarily used to gather and store logs and alerts from multiple systems, consolidating this information into one, centralized location. But because SIEMs are not able to scale efficiently with the explosion of data, teams are forced to silo their security data and store it in cold archives. These data silos cause noisy alerts, making it difficult for security specialists to prioritize which events require immediate attention. XDR helps security teams to filter through the noise by collecting deep activity data and feeding it into the security data lake. XDR can significantly reduce the number of context-rich alerts security teams receive by applying AI and expert analytics to rich data sets.
How Does XDR Help SOC Teams?
XDR, Open XDR, and cloud detection and response tools aid SOC in detecting, understanding, and responding to a range of cybersecurity threats. As organizations grow more reliant on cloud networks and the volume and diversity of the data continue to increase, XDR platforms are playing an increasingly important role.
Improved threat detection and response times
XDR collects, filters, and distills all relevant threat data into one, easy-to-access console. This allows security teams to more efficiently detect, hunt, and respond to security threats across multiple domains.
Automated reconstruction of security incidents
Threat investigation is a time-consuming process. A team of security experts can invest a large amount of time in understanding the full scope of a threat, the path it took, and its potential impact. XDR alleviates much of this manual work by automating tasks like forensic investigations and root cause analysis.
Creates an integrated, holistic view across the entire organization’s digital operations
By unifying disparate data sources and security tools, XDR platforms act as a cybersecurity clearinghouse. They provide a broader range of vision and eliminate threat visibility blind spots.
Prioritizes security alerts
Not all cybersecurity events need immediate attention. XDR helps security teams cut through the noise to prioritize what’s most urgent.
Automates threat detection and intervention
The volume and scale of cyberattacks and intrusions continue to increase. In response, XDR platforms now automate some mitigation and threat remediation operations, going to work immediately without human intervention.
Reduced maintenance burden
XDR platforms running in the cloud require significantly less ongoing maintenance than similar on-premises cybersecurity systems. Frequent, automated updates allow organizations to deploy their valuable IT resources to higher-value projects.
Advanced security analytics, AI, and ML capabilities
XDR platforms harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the search for previously unknown threats, allowing XDR systems to become more effective and precise the longer they’re deployed.
Enables more-effective threat-hunting activities
The data gathered by XDR solutions is a valuable source of information for threat-hunting efforts. As threat hunters locate previously unseen threats, the resulting threat intelligence can be used to improve an organization’s current security policies and harden systems against future threats.
Easy integration with data lakes
XDR platforms excel in the cloud. They are capable of ingesting huge amounts of data in different formats, aggregating data from multiple sources to provide security experts with a more complete picture across all data.
How Snowflake Supports XDR Solutions
Many organizations are adopting a security data lake as the single place for all cybersecurity data. With Snowflake’s cloud-built, multi-clustered shared data architecture, you can efficiently store years of semi-structured log data, and scale compute resources up or down, automatically or on the fly, to meet the needs of your security analysts. Snowflake is an ideal foundation for powering your XDR solution because it enables open XDRs to run on top of the platform, removing the need for XDRs to hold data. With Snowflake, XDRs can focus on delivery security capabilities such as content and workflows rather than on data management.
Snowflake for Cybersecurity allows security teams to leverage the security data lake to gain near-unlimited visibility and accelerate threat detection and response. A modern security data lake enables companies to separate storage from compute and easily scale centralized data capabilities, eliminating data silos that can hinder speedy detections and rapid security investigations.
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