The challenges of securing an organization’s IT environment from modern cybersecurity threats demand new solutions. Traditional security measures cannot contend with an expanding attack surface, the increasing complexity of IT infrastructure, the volume of emerging threats, and the speed with which these risks are introduced into the computing landscape.
Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that addresses the issues that have made legacy tools obsolete and insufficient for protecting valuable data resources. XDR represents the evolution and consolidation of many technologies such as Network Detection and Response (NDR) systems, to analyze activities on a company’s network
to and detect threats to the environment. XDR also incorporates the functionality of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) to provide additional infrastructure visibility. The result of implementing XDR is to provide a holistic and non-siloed view of the threat landscape.
Companies that implement XDR solutions can expect to enjoy multiple benefits.
- Complex and adaptable reaction to breaches detects where a threat is affecting the infrastructure and responds with appropriate actions.
- A cost-effective method of providing enhanced threat detection with a cloud-native and scalable solution. Customers only pay for what’s needed without expensive upfront costs.
- Built-in response reduces the workload on a security team while responding to threats faster and more accurately.
- The increased visibility provided by XDR provides a comprehensive view of the infrastructure necessary to address the sophisticated attacks being launched by threat actors.
To provide these benefits, an XDR solution needs to be effectively implemented. We’re going to look at some tips as well as pitfalls to avoid during an XDR implementation.
Preliminary activities in preparation for XDR implementation
A company needs to engage in some preliminary activities to pave the way before embarking on an XDR implementation. Successfully implementing XDR is not a difficult undertaking. Following are some of the most important activities to be performed when preparing to implement XDR.
Develop a company-wide data handling policy
The purpose of any cybersecurity initiative is to protect a company’s valuable data resources. A data handling policy will inform the XDR configuration and the type of automated responses available from the solution. The handling policy should classify data so that sensitive and high-risk information can be given the higher degree of security they deserve. This process will identify the assets that need protection and allow you to effectively configure them to provide the required telemetry to the XDR solution.
Create an XDR implementation team
The challenge of implementing XDR effectively and achieving its benefits requires a concerted effort from everyone involved in a company’s IT environment. Creating a dedicated team to drive the implementation will help pave the way for success. In larger organizations, the implementation team should be led by the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Teams in smaller companies should be led by an individual with a good knowledge of the infrastructure and its components.
Thought also needs to be given to how the tool will be used after implementation. Will in-house resources be employed to monitor and use the XDR solution? Ownership of the XDR toolset must be clarified, with the option of using a managed solution from the vendor if the customer lacks the necessary internal resources.
Determine the features required of the XDR solution
Feature sets available in XDR solutions vary. A company needs to have a clear understanding of the features it needs to achieve its business objectives. Features to look for include:
- A consolidated alert interface to facilitate effective threat response;
- A high level of threat intelligence obtained from multiple sources;
- Detailed threat investigation information including alert triage;
- Integration with existing endpoint data collection tools;
- The ability to query all of the telemetry ingested into the platform to facilitate threat hunting.
Evaluate XDR solution vendors
Once the required features have been identified, companies can commence with vendor evaluation. Things to consider include:
- The level of threat intelligence provided by the solution;
- The differences between open and proprietary systems;
- The available integrations for collecting endpoint data;
- The ability to perform advanced threat hunting;
- The cost of the solution and its ability to scale to meet fluctuating requirements;
- Future development plans.
Select the XDR solution
After the preceding items are addressed, an XDR solution should be selected. Ideally, you would like to test the functionality of the solution during an evaluation period before committing to a full purchase. If available, companies should take advantage of a no-obligation free trial of the XDR solution.
Implementation tips and best practices
A successful XDR implementation requires a high degree of coordination with various personnel and software components throughout the organization. The following tips and best practices can help promote a smooth implementation.
Communicate regularly with stakeholders
Communication with stakeholders is key to a successful XDR implementation. Everyone involved with the project needs to understand its potential benefits and the way it impacts their role in providing cybersecurity.
**Inventory all data sources **
All data sources should be inventoried to determine the location of sensitive information that requires enhanced protection. This includes cloud and on-premises endpoints that need to have data collected for integration into the XDR solution as raw material for threat detection. Performing this inventory allows you to identify the assets that need to be configured to provide telemetry to the XDR solution.
Understand the additive nature of XDR
XDR is an additive technology that is intended to optimize the functionality of your existing security tools, not replace them. A successful implementation will require the integration of data collection sources currently used to address threats. It also should incorporate current response procedures that may now be triggered automatically for enhanced threat protection by the XDR solution’s response engine.
Perform a phased rollout
It’s best to begin by integrating a single data collector while users gain experience with the threat detection capabilities of the solution and learn how to access its features. Verify that everything is working as expected before introducing another data source. It’s good practice to continue adding data sources and integrations singly so issues can easily be isolated and unsuccessful changes can be backed out.
Focus on a subset of real use cases
The best way to demonstrate the benefits and abilities of XDR is by highlighting how the solution performed in actual use cases. For example, showing how the XDR platform prioritizes threat alerts offers concrete proof that its implementation will help improve and streamline data security activities.
Create response playbooks
Response playbooks should be created as connectors are integrated into the XDR ecosystem. The playbooks will be influenced by the capabilities of the XDR solution regarding the specific integration.
Potential implementation pitfalls
Several problems can impact an XDR implementation and put it at risk of failure. They can be avoided by selecting the right XDR vendor and approaching the initiative with realistic expectations.
**Lack of integrations **- XDR solutions that do not provide the necessary integrations with existing data collectors will not be able to provide enhanced threat detection. This issue should have been addressed during the planning and vendor selection stages of an XDR implementation. \
Expecting too much too soon - An XDR solution comes with out-of-the-box capabilities that improve over time as telemetry is collected in the data lake for threat hunting. All XDR solutions have built-in TI and rules that govern the response to detected threats to give an immediate boost to an organization’s security posture. As sufficient historical data is ingested into the data lake, more advanced threat hunting can be performed as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are used to identify threat actor characteristics.
Implementing an Advanced XDR Solution
Samurai XDR is a powerful and advanced open XDR solution that provides organizations of all sizes with enhanced threat visibility and protection across their infrastructures. It supports numerous endpoint data collection integrations that consolidate threat reporting in a centralized alert dashboard. Samurai XDR promotes reactive and proactive threat hunting to address breaches and stop them before they occur.
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