Historically, endpoints have been the most vulnerable and favored point of entry for attackers. As attacks increased in numbers and sophistication, enterprises needed more than just antivirus software to protect their endpoints. Endpoint Detection and Response or EDR emerged as a viable security solution for this problem. A typical EDR works by installing an agent on the endpoint to monitor and collect data which is then sent to the cloud for analysis, threat detection, and remediation.
While the EDR approach is straight forward, the on-ground situation can be overwhelming when data from thousands of endpoints needs to be recorded and analyzed to isolate malicious behavior. Enterprises must either have their own Security Operations Center or employ managed security services to analyze large volumes of data. This would still be fine if EDR was able to prevent and mitigate threat successfully. According to the 2018 Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach Study, the mean time to identify a breach is still 197 days, and the mean time to contain is 69 days.
EDR solutions have been an integral part of enterprise security and have helped enterprises improve their security posture significantly. But the threat landscape has been constantly evolving, which also means that enterprises need to start thinking beyond EDR and antivirus solutions. The need of the hour is to take a proactive approach by pushing the boundaries of security beyond the endpoint.
The Birth of XDR
XDR, the future of endpoint security, is an inclusive solution that expands the scope of EDR to provide not just data but also context. While the E in EDR stood for endpoint data, the X in XDR represents multiple data sources for better detection and response. XDR takes a broader view of the network by providing visibility into endpoints, network data, all the way to the cloud. The analysis of this data delivers a more concise and clearer picture allowing security analysts to be more efficient in their investigations.
The XDR Advantage
XDR helps understand the user at the endpoint, their access permissions, the applications they use, and the files they download. This information combined with visibility into network and applications communications both on-premise and across the cloud makes detection and blocking of an attack faster.
XDR solutions that offer micro-segmentation capabilities at the workload, application, and users levels enable security policy implementation and access controls across bare metal or multi-cloud data centers. This drastically reduces the attack surface and prevents lateral threat movement.
The wealth of data and analysis provided by XDR allows security teams to trace the origin of the attack and reconstruct the attack mechanism, enabling better response by blocking the source rather than just a compromised endpoint.
Process whitelisting and blacklisting delivers complete control over endpoints by allowing only the known good. Fixed function devices and environments with a limited change to the endpoints can be effectively locked down.
Security teams today have to grapple with too many alerts that lack information and context. XDR greatly increases operational efficiency by providing one integrated platform instead of having to deal with multiple point products.
EDR, in its current state, is a reactive solution that provides a narrow view of the attack i.e. the view of the endpoint. With XDR, enterprise security becomes proactive by gaining endpoint process control and reaching deeper into the network to detect threats, trace their source, and respond faster while reducing complexity and costs.