What is XDR?

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) Explained

If you’re wondering how XDR (Extended Detection and Response) can help your business stay safe from attacks, you’re in the right place.

In this 101, we’re going to cover:

What is XDR?

XDR stands for Extended Detection and Response. It automatically looks at data across multiple security layers — email, server, cloud, endpoint, and network — to quickly detect problems. With attackers using more sophisticated techniques than ever, threats can hide between security silos, spreading as time passes.

Some threats try to evade detection while slowly infecting systems. This leads to security staff trying to triage and investigate the problem as it hits different parts of the business network. XDR has evolved to take a broader approach to find these threats, looking at the bigger picture across multiple security layers. Automating this across the board allows analysts to detect threats faster and take quick action as they investigate. 

Gartner Video (4 Minutes) | What is XDR and How Does it Work?

How does XDR work?

XDR looks across multiple streams of data to provide a clear overview and analysis of all security layers. It makes complex security capabilities more accessible to security teams by automating and simplifying these processes.

While an analyst might be able to look at a specific alert or data point for information, this doesn’t give a broad enough picture. XDR breaks down silos and correlates data across all elements of a business’ system. The end result is clearer visibility into a threat. For example, XDR automates root cause analysis to show a clear timeline and path of a threat across email, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and networks. This allows analysts to assess the threat and take appropriate action.

What is XDR vs EDR?

EDR is endpoint detection and response. While XDR looks at multiple security layers, EDR only looks at the endpoint. While this has been a valuable tool for many years, it’s limited to only detecting threats inside managed endpoints. XDR not only looks at the endpoints but dives into other areas that could be affected too.

Benefits of XDR

The benefits of XDR are numerous as it’s able to look across multiple security layers to better understand the threat. It allows analysts to:

  • Identify threats proactively
  • Track threats across the organization
  • Increase productivity
  • Conclude investigations more efficiently
  • Reduce mean-time-to-detect (MTTD) and mean-time-to-respond (MTTR)
  • Improve detection and response capabilities
  • Lower the time and cost investment of other solutions

How is XDR different from EDR, MDR, and SIEM?

If you look at other detection and response types, you can see how XDR takes elements from all of them to make a more comprehensive solution.


This automates threat detection and response using endpoint data. It allows analysts to quickly identify threats and respond accordingly. 


Managed Detection and Response (MDR) refers to outsourced security activities for organizations that don’t have dedicated security teams. MDR combines analytics, threat intelligence, and human expertise to support businesses that are unable to do this in-house. This helps to keep on top of new security threats and improve incident response times for those organizations. 


Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools allow organizations to collect logs and alerts from multiple solutions. It doesn’t, however, include any analysis or automation. Analysts get access to a centralized hub of information but can be overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of alerts. 

Long term, XDR may fully replace SIEM, and currently it's using the data gathered from this solution to provide a more manageable level of alerts and information. XDR also incorporates EDR and elements of MDR to form a comprehensive solution for increased detection and response. 

Do I need XDR?

All organizations need some way of detecting and responding to threats. XDR will protect your business from the complex tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by attackers. With already-stretched security teams often struggling to investigate these threats, XDR can support them.

If your security teams are drawing under a flood of data and alerts and are unable to keep on top of them, you should consider XDR as a productivity tool alone. On top of this, MTTD and MTTR rates will improve, ensuring your business is protected from escalating threats.

When considering XDR, think about whether your existing EDR system is enough protection for your organization. Going beyond the endpoint with XDR broadens detection capabilities to include cloud environments, IoT devices, user personas, and other parts of the business network. This provides better insight into the organization’s security status as a whole.

How is Cybereason XDR different?

The Cybereason Defense Platform moves beyond the endless alerting you might get with SIEM and offers more actionable insights. This allows analysts to recognize, expose, and end malicious operations before they take hold. While EDR and other security systems do provide some protection, Cybereason XDR covers all bases while breaking down data silos where threats might hide.

The platform uses both Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) and Indicators of Behavior (IOBs) to detect threats as early as possible. This allows organizations to detect never-before-seen attacks. Using intelligence-based threat blocking and NGAV-based behavioral and machine-learning techniques, Cybereason can prevent and detect both known and unknown threats. This means you have future-ready protection no matter how these attacks evolve.

Unlike SIEM tools, the Cybereason Defense platform is operation-centric, not alert-centric. It can pinpoint specific MalOps™ (malicious operations) from root cause to every affected system, application, device, and user. This gives analysts the power to understand, pinpoint, and end attacks with a single click — rather than wading through alerts.

With automation built-in, Cybereason reduces incident response times while allowing staff to be more proactive and productive. The platform allows a single analyst to defend as many as 200,000 endpoints.

XDR is the ultimate automated defense system for organizations looking to increase protection at all levels. If you’d like to find out how Cybereason allows you to detect earlier and respond faster, you can get a demo here.


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