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Security is – or should be – a key enabler of your business growth. As a security professional overseeing your organization’s security posture for your overall IT estate, you and your team should enhance consumer confidence in your business. How you can support your businesses objectives and drivers should be top of mind for you every day.  

In your drive for a strong security posture, you may be wrestling with questions around eXtended Detection and Response (XDR) or have received inquiries from your C-suite about it. In the ever-growing cybersecurity alphabet soup, what is XDR? Should it be part of your security plan? 

Defining and Delivering XDR  

Googling XDR leads to countless definitions and descriptions. Gartner’s definition of XDR is that it “is a platform that integrates, correlates, and contextualizes data and alerts from multiple security prevention, detection, and response components.” ​XDR also aims to reduce product sprawl, alert fatigue, integration challenges, and operational expenses. 

The three basic buckets of XDR are: 

  1. Broad coverage: Having more than one telemetry source 
  2. Central depository for analytics: Visibility to data collection, processes, alerts, and workflows  
  3. Automation: Workflows result in faster decisions to coordinate responses across multiple tools 

This high-level definition results in extremely broad interpretations of who falls into the XDR vendor category. Quite literally, most everyone can claim they are an XDR vendor. 

Beyond defining XDR, there’s also the myriad of delivery methods. The most common flavors of XDR delivery currently are:  

  1. Endpoint + X Source: Often the path of EDR vendors, this XDR solution brings another telemetry and/or data source to an existing endpoint. While this approach may be easy in leveraging your current EDR investment, the challenge is ensuring coverage across the entire IT estate. Coverage may vary significantly based on what additional data sources and telemetry points are used which may mean you do not have full security visibility.  
  2. SIEM + Analytics: For those with mature security postures, this SIEM-centric option offers flexibility and scalability. The challenge can come from lengthy deployments, numerous processes for add-on modules that need to be integrated to your existing process, and in-house team availability to constantly tune data models to update policies for the environment. 
  3. Endpoint + X Source + Logs + Analytics + IDS: An expansive approach providing visibility across the full IT estate. Advantage is that it brings together prevention and detection, tapping into known and unknown challenges. The challenge can be there are many tools that require you partner with a team with expertise and knowledge to manage the environment to generate the best outcomes.  

A Modern Approach  

Beyond the chatter, why are businesses and security professionals considering XDR? Primarily it’s to achieve better outcomes, whether that’s through consolidating some of their vendors and tools to reduce tool sprawl or alert fatigue; increasing operational efficiencies, particularly if they have limited people and do not have the budget for additional staff (or can’t find experienced professionals to hire) to discover and quickly respond to incidents; or improving visibility and unify the view of their environment. These desired outcomes most often are operational, resource, security, and/or infrastructure in nature.   

XDR solutions may not solve the broader industry challenge of maintaining expertise as well as the struggle to solve the burden of managing and extracting value from the security stack. In order to achieve the right outcomes, a business’ solution needs to have the right combination of technology, people, and process. 

What is your desired outcome? Is it achievable with XDR? 

In revisiting Gartner’s description and three XDR buckets, when deciding on your security delivery and who you’ll partner with, it needs to be an organization that can eliminate any burdens to your security success, and provide the necessary fourth bucket beyond broad coverage, centralized analytics, and automation — the managed element. And that critical piece of your security is at the core of managed detection and response (MDR). 

MDR provides the expertise you need​. From threat research and hunting, 24/7 monitoring, advanced analytics and tuning, and alert investigations, to log analysis, false positive reduction, and actionable insights, MDR helps achieve the outcomes you need. With it, you’ll have the right combination of people, process, and technology to maximize your investment and expedite your path to increased security maturity.  

Quite simply, MDR achieves the same outcomes as XDR; in most cases, MDR delivers those outcomes better, faster, and more efficiently. With MDR, you’re adding the human element and the expertise people bring to your security posture’s technology and processes.  

Reach Your Identified Security Outcomes with MDR 

Once you’ve identified the security outcomes you need to achieve to help your business reach its objectives, engage with Alert Logic to create a MDR plan for your organization. Together, we’ll develop a program that works not only for your business today but can expand and scale as part of your organization’s growth plans.  

To begin the conversation, request a personalized Alert Logic MDR demo.  

Antonio Sanchez
About the Author
Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez serves on the Product Marketing team at Alert Logic. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry focusing on cyber security, information management, and disaster recovery solutions to help organizations of all sizes manage threats and improve their security posture. Antonio is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and has held various leadership roles at Symantec, Forcepoint, and Dell.

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