There’s always a way to improve. Whether it’s your business operations, your costs, or your security measures, there’s always a way to make things work better — more efficiently, more cheaply, more intelligently. Endpoint detection and response, or EDR, tools are valuable, each one being a program that aids in threat mitigation.
EDR has become a pillar in the cybersecurity milieu, but there are tools that take this purpose to the next level. Namely, there’s extended detection and response, or XDR.
What’s The Difference?
Endpoint detection and response, as the name suggests, has more to do with the endpoint or endpoints being managed directly by the program. What that means when compared to XDR cybersecurity can mean many things — but first and foremost, it’s about the aspects of scope and reach.
Scope and Reach
The scope of a cybersecurity tool is always limited — after all, no one tool can meet every new threat, as new ones are always popping up. However, the range of threats that an EDR can mitigate will always be dwarfed by that of an XDR, because XDR includes various integrated sources for identification and remediation that an EDR will only have upon each new update.
As XDRs are automated and integrate live sources like the most up-to-date ATT&CK framework, it’s no wonder that these achieve a more all-encompassing resistance to cyber attacks of various types. As for reach, the facts are these: EDR manages specific endpoints — and its reach only goes as far as these. It means that it can protect an entire network, but XDR extends this reach to other servers, to cloud workloads, and more.
More than just being able to defend against more types of cyberattacks, XDR as a whole has stronger visibility than EDR, which inherently has gaps in its visibility as all one-vector protections do. Security in the endpoints isn’t all that you see in an XDR: you can create a holistic view of your entire system, from the cloud to the local computers, from your router’s encryption strength to the activity on connected mobile devices.
More than that, though, XDR aggregates this into a data lake that is capable of processing more information to provide an analytical view that surpasses what a basic EDR platform can deliver without an analyst to give the breakdown. In addition, the sources of an XDR’s insights are varied, including telemetry, NetFlow, and detections across numerous security layers — rather than seeing it from one point of view, as might be the case when using traditional EDR.
In conjunction with the ability to view data from so many sources, XDR is capable of analyzing these data and these sources with AI-powered speed and the newest information available. XDR takes logs and alerts and gives them meaning, turning them into powerful showcases of existing patterns and indicators of threats and threat-like behavior in various places such as your endpoints or your cloud connections.
The data found in EDR reports sometimes has little meaning until there’s a manual investigation — but in the time that takes, you can have an XDR pull and analyze the most relevant and up-to-date information while avoiding the tedium of a manual process. XDR’s automated collections and reporting give whole new meaning to existing areas of data that went previously unexplored when using a basic EDR platform — and so too does it create a better way to respond with informed decisions when disaster strikes.
Whether it’s an actual breach in the system or simply some user behaviors that prove risky and ill-advised, EDRs can detect them; however, it’s generally up to you to correct them, limiting the actual idea of “response” to mainly that of antivirus level protection. Once detected, the program reacts and works to eliminate the threat. However, the response time is not always immediate, and the overall efficiency can vary, especially when the threat is one that, thanks to an EDR’s setup, would require a manual response.
XDR, on the other hand, can be programmed to respond in kind immediately, shortening response and detection times — and eliminating the threats that increase in severity when timing of responses is a factor. XDR can still allow manual responses and provide meantime solutions to keep issues from continuing to spread, such as active isolation of corruptions or compromised files and endpoints. Apart from that, XDR also evaluates solutions based on their value to the business, in terms of effort, time, and money saved in each case — and how to continue protecting this invested value.
Understanding Extended Detection and Response
There’s no perfect solution, and that’s even true of cybersecurity measures. While XDR outperforms traditional EDR in various aspects, it’s not complete protection against every threat that can come up. But it’s imperative you understand what XDR is and does so that you can use it to its greatest potential. Enabling end-to-end visibility of your enterprise security and automated responses is part of that potential, and so is the ability to start tackling issues and trends without the need for an analyst.
You can make your approach to security simpler by employing a tool like this but just remember: there are other things you can add to this to make your security posture even stronger. All you need to do is keep your XDR at the center of it all!