XDR, which stands for “extended detection and response,” is a class of automated information security systems designed to proactively detect threats at various infrastructure levels, respond to them, and counter complex threats.
XDR comprises a wide range of tools that security specialists can integrate with available security programs and applications to perform data monitoring on endpoints, the network, the cloud, and mail servers. It also adds analytical and automation functions for the detection and elimination of current and potential threats.
Differences between XDR and other information security systems
Some cyberdefense tools are comparable to XDR systems but serve more specific purposes and have fewer features. For example:
- EDR solutions offer protection only at the endpoint level, without network or cloud services;
- SIEM is functionally limited to collecting and analyzing local network data; it does not include response capabilities;
- UEBA tools analyze the behavior of users, devices, and applications but do not respond to anomalies;
- SOAR systems encompass most of the infrastructure but focus on signatures and standard response scenarios and lack proactive defense capabilities. Compared to XDR, SOAR solutions are also less compatible with solutions and applications that serve as data sources.
Drawbacks of XDR solutions
XDR technologies are relatively new and very promising, but using them carries challenges and risks.
- Currently available XDR systems vary significantly in terms of functionality, which makes comparing them and choosing the right one more difficult;
- Whereas XDR systems include a multitude of features, vendors of such systems typically specialize in one or a few relevant areas, not all of them. As a result, some vendors may exceed their expertise, attempting to implement features for which they lack the required expertise to develop, increasing the likelihood of flaws in the product;
- Some XDR solutions are compatible only with security solutions from a specific vendor or a limited number of vendors. Therefore, in some situations, XDR users may be forced to seek a compromise between the best special-purpose solution for their needs and a solution that provides the full scope of XDR functionality.