2022 is a great time for cybercriminals. In March of 2022 alone there were almost 4 million data breaches experienced across the world. These were only the publically disclosed incidents, with many millions more likely happening unnoticed.
This is also not factoring in the thousands of other different cyber attacks other than data breaches, like ransomware attacks and phishing incidents.
One of the most reliable ways to protect against these malware attacks, and to secure your endpoint monitoring, is a strategy called Extended Detection and Response.
This is often abbreviated to the acronym XDR which we’ll also be using for the duration of this article. If you’re looking to get the most from your XDR strategy, here are a few things to bear in mind.
But first, what exactly is an XDR strategy?
Extended Detection and Response, or XDR, is one of the key components of the overall cybersecurity strategy of any enterprise. Technically, it requires the development and deployment of technical means to detect and respond to cyber threats against whichever enterprise is deploying it.
The “extended detection” side of this strategy is to make sure as many different attacks are detected before they happen.
The response aspect of this strategy is then to ensure there is a procedure in place to respond to these threats. If employed correctly, XDR can help an enterprise stay aware of threats, and prevent them before they occur.
It’s important to bear in mind that an XDR strategy differs depending on the enterprise itself. You should always apply this strategy to your current network security to ensure success.
If applied properly, you should hopefully never have to rely on solutions like Disaster Recovery. Instead, you’re able to limit threats to your company at all times, before experiencing any significant security incidents.
Extended Detection and Response isn’t just a strategy, there are also dedicated tools to support this approach. Similarly, there are many benefits to deploying these particular tools today.
The first core way in which these tools can support your defense strategy is by helping to detect threats and identify cybersecurity incidents. Detection can be one of the most challenging parts of cybersecurity today. By handling this aspect of the process, these tools play a crucial role in a fully secure system.
However, for an XDR tool to be effective, it requires the implementation of a strong detection and response strategy. This requires the enterprise to have a clear understanding of its network.
An XDR tool is only ever as strong as the network it’s supporting, and the employees handling it.
Another important tip to bear in mind is learning ‘what’ exactly your tools should be trying to detect. You need to calibrate your tools to the specific threats targeting your enterprise at any given time.
Each enterprise is subject to slightly different threats, which is why it’s important to work on a strategy that works for your particular company.
This demands an understanding of your network security and your business practices.
XDR has several key benefits for your business’s security. For starters, it can help speed up how you detect threats.
This speed at identifying threats should also help you speed up your response strategy. In an ideal system, your XDR should allow you to respond quicker than most malware attacks, meaning you can eradicate any potential criminal activity long before your business feels any significant impacts.
This can ensure you limit or eliminate any damage to your company before it even happens.
XDR can also improve the overall productivity of your security team and IT. This is because it works in tandem with your procedures and policies.
It demands an understanding of these procedures from your whole team. With this understanding comes an ability to perform these tasks better should the need arise.
XDR also forms a crucial role in an advanced cybersecurity strategy. By ensuring your XDR is strong, you’re working towards a superior cybersecurity system overall.
Knowing how to detect the right threats is only half the battle when considering an Extended Detection and Response strategy. You also need to consider how to respond to these threats once they’ve been unearthed.
An enterprise needs to be equipped to respond to security incidents if it wants its EDR strategy to be effective.
This can include many different response capabilities such as policies, procedures, guidelines, and training.
The first thing you should do is create a sophisticated, internal procedure once threats have been detected. This should also include policies that all of your team know and understand by heart.
The better understood this procedure is, the faster it can be deployed against a potential threat. These procedures are called an Incident Response Plan.
The UK government has a useful document about these plans. Though created for UK businesses, this information can help anyone.
Make sure to read the NCSC guidance here. This covers how to write your own plan, and what you should make sure to include regardless of your business sector.
Cybersecurity is all about being able to work proactively. The quicker you can respond to threats, the easier it will be to contain them.
This is why companywide cyber training is critical. Every employee in your IT team should know what your procedures are, and you should hold regular training sessions to refresh their memory.
Finally, you should be able to contain the effect of the threat without affecting your business.
The role of XDR tools has changed over time. While they were once created to respond to security incidents, they are now also used to help with detecting new threats.
They’re also often used to maintain the health of the network and its user population.
XDR tools are often used alongside SIEM tools. This stands for Security Information and Event Management. SIEM tools give companies a full view of their security.
XDR and SIEM tools can therefore visualize potential threats if used together. Using them in tandem is of paramount importance to prevent all possible threats to your security.
Firstly, SIEM tools collect the data itself. Then, this data is transferred through an XDR tool.
The XDR tool will be able to assess and monitor all this data. If there’s a concern or it finds any anomalies it can then alert you immediately.
This enables security teams to respond to threats earlier, thus reducing the time and effort required to contain them.
By using these tools together in tandem, you’ll be able to respond to concerns both better and faster than you would normally. This can then make your overall detection and response strategy stronger in the long run.
XDR tools should only ever be deployed amidst a strong strategy. These tools are incredibly beneficial, but only when placed in a sophisticated system.
As a result, it’s important to understand how to implement an XDR strategy in your business.
It’s usually advisable to adopt a holistic strategy in cybersecurity. This is because it’s only by focusing on all areas of concern that you can guarantee your business remains secure at all times.
This means your strategy should work alongside other approaches to security, such as Infrastructure Monitoring.
You should also make sure to build your XDR strategy around your security policy.
For instance, you should know how to respond to threats based on your policy and how the XDR tool fits into it.
Creating this policy is, as aforementioned, a significant step. You should always design internal processes before you apply new tools to your network.
Implementing a successful strategy is also ultimately about continued practice and training. You should always test out your system’s security regularly.
Often, it’s advisable to complete a full pen test every few months, or at least once a year. Pen tests, otherwise known as penetration testing, can assess how well your tools detect anomalies.
These tests simulate what a real security threat to your company would be like, in a controlled environment.
By engaging with these tests, you can see first-hand whether or not the XDR tools you’re using are working as they should be. You can then take this data and modify your processes accordingly, all without your business actually being harmed at all.
You should now know what Extended Detection and Response, or XDR, is. You should know the difference between XDR tools, and a sophisticated XDR strategy.
The tool is only ever as strong as the environment in which it is applied. If you’d like to learn more about XDR, or other cybersecurity matters, please make sure to contact our team at NetDepot directly.