January 30, 2023
Both technologies provide endpoint protection, but with different levels of sophistication.
For years, endpoint detection and response (EDR) has formed the backbone of many enterprise cybersecurity solutions. EDR technology enables greater visibility into systems, allowing security professionals to detect threats from file-less attacks, document-based malware, and zero-day exploits.
By directing detection-based analysis towards user behaviors on endpoint devices like laptops, desktops, and mobile phones, EDR solutions can alert security teams of suspicious behaviors well before a cyberattack successfully triggers.
However, EDR solutions collect and process large volumes of user data across multiple systems.
They demand greater expertise and more resources than traditional security technologies and can generate a much higher volume of alerts.
The widespread adoption of cloud technology, distributed workforces, and on-demand network scalability has only increased the demands enterprises place on EDR technology. At the same time, cybercriminals have adopted increasingly sophisticated attack strategies, leading vendors to develop solutions that address some of the shortcomings of EDR.
This new approach is called extended detection and response (XDR). It goes beyond simply analyzing endpoint device behavior, enabling organization-wide analysis and response suited for the modern enterprise.
XDR: Detection and Response For Complex Enterprise Networks
In 2013 when Gartner security specialist Anton Chuvakin first coined the term “EDR”, cloud computing was in its infancy. Remote and hybrid employees were a rarity. Enterprises generally exposed a much smaller attack surface to cyber criminals.
Under these conditions, focusing threat detection and response technology on endpoints made perfect sense. Almost every potential security threat involved compromised endpoints to some degree.
Fast forward to today’s cloud-enabled remote work environment, and the story changes. Enterprises routinely have hundreds of different apps in their tech stack. Security threats may originate with trusted vendors, cloud-hosted applications, or unsecured APIs.
At the same time, cybercriminals have found ways to bypass the endpoint-centric approach to threat management. New technical exploits like API unhooking, AMSI bypass methods, and reflective DLL loading overcome EDR protection. This amplifies the risk that comes with implementing a modern, distributed IT infrastructure.
In fact, the average enterprise with 10,000+ employees has 364 different vendor technologies in its portfolio.
More than half of these are “shadow IT” apps not directly managed by enterprise IT staff. As cyber criminals increasingly focus on supply chain and vendor attacks, the need for extended detection and response is becoming an urgent one.
XDR enhances the behavioral analysis capabilities of endpoint detection and response by covering cloud services, third-party data centers, and VPN employee portals. Many XDR solutions use emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to correlate security events across incredibly wide enterprise attack surfaces, providing much-needed insight to fatigued security teams.
XDR Reduces Organizational Siloing
In today’s hyper-connected enterprise IT landscape, endpoint security data cannot be analyzed in isolation. It needs to be combined and correlated with behavioral analysis from other parts of the enterprise network.
Endpoint data only leads to insight when combined with other security tools, such as security information and event management (SIEM) logs, network traffic captures, and a variety of other data types. All of these technologies typically have different collection policies and retention settings, making it difficult for security teams to gain visibility.
By expanding detection and response technology to cover the entire enterprise attack surface, XDR provides greater context for security events than previous technologies. Security teams can identify threats more reliably and detect attacks earlier than they could by using traditional methods restricted exclusively to endpoints.
How XDR Solutions Actually Perform in Real-World Tests
Every year, MITRE Engenuity performs a comprehensive series of tests measuring the performance of the world’s top EDR and XDR vendors against different attack types.
The 2022 Wizard Spider & Sandworm evaluations showcase exactly how 30 leading cybersecurity vendors respond to real-world attacks using modern cybercrime techniques. The evaluation process tests the cybersecurity vendor’s protection, detection, and visibility into specific attack sub-steps. It also measures analytic delay and coverage.
Of the various types of detections covered, analytic detections provide the greatest context for rapid threat response and the most actionable alert data. When SOC teams find themselves overwhelmed with alerts and pressed for time, pinpointed analytic coverage maximizes the value of the detection and response workflow.
30 cybersecurity vendors were tested in 2022 and only 8 reported analytic coverage above 90%. SentinelOne reported analytic coverage of 99%, covering all 19 attack steps, and 108 out of 109 attack sub-steps. SentinelOne Singularity XDR suffered zero detection delays, demonstrating its value for proactive security even in time-constrained security environments.
This marks the third consecutive year SentinelOne outperformed all other XDR technology vendors. It’s part of the reason Castra decided to make SentinelOne its primary XDR partner.
Castra: Your Comprehensive XDR MSSP
Castra is dedicated to deploying the most sophisticated detection and response capabilities the cybersecurity industry has to offer. Our approach to XDR is a managed detection service that leverages three complementary, industry-leading technologies to enable best-in-class security coverage.
- Exabeam uses machine learning to perform advanced user entity and behavioral analysis (UEBA). Its behavioral analytics capabilities enable analysts to detect credential-based attacks and malicious insiders based on risk assessment scores powered by machine learning.
- Anomali ThreatStream offers evidence-based knowledge about the context, mechanisms, indicators, and implications of cyberattack attempts. Every organization’s ThreatStream feed is curated to prioritize that organization’s unique security risk profile. This empowers analysts to focus on critical vulnerabilities first and address low-impact risks later.
- SentinelOne Singularity XDR provides a centralized solution for automating customized incident response workflows. Singularity XDR can block executions, terminate processes, and isolate endpoints as soon as malicious activity is detected. It provides end-to-end visibility into every aspect of the organization’s security posture, enabling analysts to leverage the full power of the cybersecurity tech stack.
Our SOC2-certified Security Operation Center uses all three of these technologies to secure enterprise customers from the most sophisticated and persistent cyber threats in today’s cybercrime landscape.
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The main difference between EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) and XDR (Extended Detection and Response) is that XDR goes beyond endpoint protection and also includes capabilities for network, cloud, and application security. XDR also incorporates a wider range of security data sources, which allows for more comprehensive threat detection and response capabilities.
When you team up with Castra, a leading MDR service provider, you’ll get expertise and guidance that makes the transition from EDR to XDR simple. We’ll assess your current security infrastructure and develop a plan for integration, help you choose the XDR solution that fits your unique needs, and provide ongoing monitoring and management. Plus, we can incorporate threat hunting and incident response technology to help identify and remediate any security incidents that may occur during the transition.
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