A guide to XDR and Open XDR

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Open or Everything XDR is a combination of traditional detection and real-time network analysis. The goal is to leverage both telemetry data and security systems from a variety of sources to provide better detection of unusual behavior and to understand how systems were compromised from the start. There are different components of XDR which may vary depending on the vendor. It is technically called “open” XDR because of the open approach it uses. It takes data from all kinds of sources instead of being locked into a single source. The traditional approach uses an all-in-one platform and does not integrate third-party vendors.

Open XDR is commonly referred to as hybrid XDR. It’s done on purpose because it can often be confused with open source platforms. As mentioned above, as a newer solution, its approach can vary greatly.

How it works?

Unlike traditional XDR solutions, Open XDR extracts data from all possible sources. The traditional solution is designed to pull data from the vendor’s native stack only. With open XDR, many solutions leverage the power of artificial intelligence and its respective data analysis to provide security insights.

Open XDR leverages a company’s existing SIEM or EDR tools to combine data sources for analysis. It is not intended to replace any technology. Rather, it is about sitting on top of the existing security stack to analyze its effectiveness and vulnerabilities.

Some benefits of Open XDR:

As mentioned, open XDR solutions can effectively aggregate and centralize data from various sources. As a result, it can help an organization in many ways. Here are some of the benefits of Open XDR for an organization.

  1. Centralized security

One of the biggest selling points of XDR technology has to be the data aggregation aspect. It can efficiently aggregate data across a variety of different sources. It can help an organization get better insights and it can give them a single platform to access that information rather than having to manually aggregate it.

  1. Simplify detection and response

Another good thing about Open XDR is the fact that it can help analysts within the enterprise locate intruders or unusual behaviors that are a likely sign that the network or systems are compromised. This can make it much easier to react quickly to a security threat, which can naturally minimize exposure and mitigate damage.

  1. It’s scalable

Since open XDR allows you to integrate new technology tools and security technologies, it can be a good option for those who want to grow with it. As you add new elements to the mix, your open XDR solutions will evolve accordingly. It is therefore a long-lasting solution that is worth considering when considering the options.

  1. Increase efficiency

When you integrate Open XDR, it can free up a lot of your organization’s resources. It can simplify the whole vendor management process. You will have security analysts who will have a single point of access for the data they need. This means that your organization will not only save on licenses, but also on personnel.

  1. Continuous optimization

Because you are going to get real-time updates with open XDR solutions, it will allow you to optimize your existing tools. You can continue to improve your technology stack and everything will continue to be optimized all the time, meaning you don’t have to worry about stalling.

Open vs Native – Which is better?

Not all organizations would benefit more from an open solution. After all, not all organizations have the same needs. You want to make sure that you evaluate the options available and determine whether or not you would benefit from an open XDR solution. Here are some of the different attributes you should consider when evaluating your options.

  1. When should I choose open XDR over native?

Usually, an organization should opt for an open XDR solution rather than a native solution when it has a larger security stack. Moreover, it is a better alternative when they already have a well-equipped security environment. This can be a good option for those who have SIEM and other technologies they already use with different vendors. In these cases, having an open XDR solution will likely solve the unique challenges facing the business. After all, managing various data sources can be challenging for these organizations.

  1. When should you switch to native XDR?

You’ll probably want to go with native XDR when your security environment is relatively small. It’s also a good option to consider if you don’t have a lot of data sources flowing through your business. Native is a good way to extend your current stack and introduce new data sources for your security.

  1. Open XDR versus EDR and SIEM

You might find yourself choosing between integrating an open XDR solution or a SIEM or EDR. However, they are distinct enough that you can find your organization integrating SIEM or even EDR before you even notice how badly your organization needs open XDR.

After all, SIEM and EDR are very different sources that can help your organization detect and track breaches and other issues. For ease of understanding, the difference lies mainly in the provenance of the data.

As the name suggests, EDRs collect information from various network endpoints. This is usually done by an agent on a machine. An EDR collects and alerts from a specific device. Thus, it does not scan the entire network. This could trigger unusual connections to different IP addresses, perform strange DNS lookups, or something else.

It differs from traditional antivirus software solutions because it harnesses the power of AI and machine learning. It uses these elements to identify and identify unusual and threatening behavior on a specific device. EDRs use the data to hunt and find the same threats on other devices running the EDR agent.

The problem with EDRs is that they generally lack the broader context that is necessary for proper and complete analysis. It cannot identify what is happening with the entire network as a whole. This includes Active Directory, network perimeter, etc. After all, agents cannot be installed there.

Whereas a SIEM is more expansive but still limited to different network endpoints. It gathers data from firewalls, logs, servers, and even EDR sources. Many SIEM tools offer different features such as log queries and correlation rules, but their functionality is always limited.

Open XDR is different and works best when it collects data from various sources, including SIEM and EDR tools. Therefore, it is recommended that organizations consider integrating open XDR solutions into their environment once they identify the need for them rather than jumping straight to open XDR from the start.

Calvin W. Soper