Hello, and welcome back to this next TomCast from GuardSight; we are a tactical cybersecurity-as-a-service organization dedicated to helping businesses protect their data, their assets, and their endpoints.

Today we are going to discuss EDR and XDR solutions, mainly surrounding what the acronyms stand for and how these types of solutions benefit organizations. I will not be calling out or recommending any specific EDR or XDR products; this is just an overview to help you, our listeners, better understand the subject matter.

So what is EDR? EDR stands for Endpoint Detection and Response. EDR solutions typically employ some combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and some sort of advanced file analysis to proactively identify and mitigate advanced persistent threats as well as other new-to-the-environment malware. Those were a lot of long words and unique terms, so what does it all mean in laymans terms?

EDR solutions provide a more offense-related approach to threat detection and mitigation. These solutions aren’t based upon threats or infections that have already occurred (i.e., signature-based anti-virus applications); EDR solutions use complex algorithmic approaches to actively identify the threat (whether that is some sort of malware or actual threat actor) before bad stuff happens like a malicious file execution or ransomware infection.

EDR solutions do not work in an isolated fashion; each endpoint communicates events, queries, and security behaviors to a central location making analysis of data much more efficient. If there is a breach or infection EDR solutions will isolate the system ensuring that there will be no infectious spread. These types of solutions will determine the behaviors of any malware infections by detonating it in that isolated environment (otherwise known as a sandbox); this detonation process helps the system “learn” the various innerworkings of the malware.

Endpoint incident response times are greatly reduced when utilizing an EDR solution, since the systems work in collaboration with one another. Visibility to incidents is increased and mitigation techniques are more efficiently deployed. During an organizational assessment the assessor might take note of how the endpoints in your organization are managed with regards to security. Are they maintained properly, are they patched regularly, what type of security solution is in place? If your organization is not currently leveraging an EDR solution, it might be one of the suggestions based on the completed assessment to better bolster your overall security posture.

Ok, EDR solutions sound like a really great way to keep endpoints protected in any organization. So, what is an XDR solution? XDR stands for Extended Detection and Response, and works in a similar fashion to EDR solutions except they kick it up a notch. Instead of just focusing on endpoint detection and response, XDR solutions aggregate data from endpoints, network components, servers, cloud components, SIEM solutions, and even more. If EDR solutions represent a shield, XDR solutions represent the complete body of armor.

XDR solutions perform the same collaborative style communication between all components within the organization to make detection and response that much more efficient and quicker. Massive amounts of data are analyzed constantly utilizing the latest artificial intelligence, automation efforts, and machine learning capabilities available. The downside to XDR solutions, if you are listening to this and thinking what a great fit it would be for your organization, is that an environment needs to have a very mature security posture already before XDR can be implemented. XDR solutions are not for organizations that have very little cybersecurity in place or that are still rather immature.

XDR solutions are fairly new to the cybersecurity realm, so many organizations out there are still trying to determine what they do, what the benefits will be, and whether or not the solution is affordable. Having said that, cybersecurity budgets are increasing as organizational leaders are finally recognizing the need for more robust security practices and infrastructures, so the affordability will eventually, hopefully, become less of a hurdle. Any organization would benefit greatly from an in-depth and robust cybersecurity threat detection and response strategy.

If your organization is still trying to develop some sort of cyber security strategy, think along the lines of EDR for now just to get a start on a more proactive-style of cybersecurity. If your organization has a well established EDR solution, or has a very mature strategy/solution and is looking for the next step, consider XDR. In a world where security seems to forever be behind the curve, these proactive solutions could help redefine that narrative. Reach out to your MSSP (managed security services provider) to see what they can do for you with regards to EDR and XDR (hint, GuardSight can help you with that!)

We here at GuardSight thank you for taking the time to listen to this TomCast. For more information on various cybersecurity tips head on over to our website and check out more TomCasts. Those are located over on www.guardsight.com/tomcast. Or, if you would like more information on what GuardSight can do for you, head on over to www.guardsight.com and contact us. There are several free cybersecurity tools out there that can help you improve your overall security posture. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks!

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