The importance of XDR for cyber protection

October 2019 Cyber Security, Products

With 35% of South African organisations expecting an imminent cyberattack and a further 31% bracing for it to happen within a year, according to local research conducted by Trend Micro, attention is turning to whether existing solutions are up to the challenge of safeguarding data against increasingly sophisticated malware.

Many decision-makers feel that the answer is to simply throw more technology at the problem, hoping something will stick and deliver complete protection. But given how the number of endpoints into the organisational back-end is increasing, the real-time nature of data analysis, and just the level of digital sophistication, this is at best a flawed approach. Just imagine the complexities involved in integrating so many various solutions all focusing on a different aspect of cyber protection.

Changing the status quo

That is not even considering how resource-intensive and costly this way of managing security is. Instead, a different way of thinking is needed if companies are hoping to protect themselves in a digitally connected world. The arrival of X Detection & Response (XDR) is going to play an increasingly important role in this regard.

The ‘X’ refers to the analysis of the most extensive sets of data, from more protection points, to find hidden threats. Fundamentally, XDR delivers cybersecurity across email, servers, cloud workloads, networks, and any other endpoints accessing company data or infrastructure. Where this approach is different to existing endpoint-focused solutions is that it integrates all aspects of cybersecurity in a centralised manner.

Not only does this provide security teams with broader visibility of the threat potential to their companies, but it analyses traditionally siloed security data points to identify more complex attacks that might have remained unnoticed before.

Three pillars

The ‘secret’ sauce behind this is a reliance on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and expert security analytics. This is above and beyond just focusing on the endpoint as well as a more complete way of managing protection.

Thanks to the growth of cloud computing, more sophisticated technology such as AI and expert security analytics can be embraced. This enables organisations to leverage the computational power of the cloud to analyse threats in more advanced ways than were possible before. With detection rules being updated in real time as the threat landscape evolves, companies can be more confident in their email, endpoint, network and perimeter defences.

Secondly, by integrating all aspects of protection across attack vectors (email, servers, the cloud, networks, and so on), an XDR solution provides a broader perspective and better context to identify threats more easily and contain them more effectively.

Finally, the benefit of using this single approach to cyber protection means decision-makers have one source to get prioritised alerts that better illustrate the attack trajectory and the potential impact it can have on the business.

Unlike traditional firewall, anti-virus or other cybersecurity solutions, XDR is delivered as a managed service to complement existing resources. This approach is the perfect foil to the evolving threat landscape brought about by the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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