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Keys to a Successful XDR Implementation

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Cybersecurity protection lives on data from sensors and systems throughout the organization’s infrastructure. But data without any background or context only creates irrelevant noise that frustrates and distracts analysts. Without an integrated platform to correlate all that data, security teams become buried in an overwhelming amount of false alerts. 

XDR is specifically designed to incorporate multiple security engines that correlate and evaluate normalized data sets stored in a lightweight data lake. With many security engines at work (including Threat Intelligence, User Behavioral Analytics, IDS, File Sandboxing, and Machine Learning-based anomaly detection), it becomes possible to correlate all telemetry. In addition, you can accurately score a potential incident within seconds by considering everything that is known about the system, asset, or account.

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XDR Implementation Challenges

From our experience at CyFlare, there are several challenges in implementing an XDR system. For example, in some instances, relevant stakeholders such as network/systems administration/IT teams aren’t made aware of the move to XDR, or they haven’t bought into the new strategy. Another issue is that systems and data sources aren’t properly inventoried and processed to determine if data should be sourced or API integration should be leveraged for potential response actions by the XDR system, such as querying for more data or making policy changes. A third challenge is the lack of regular meetings among SOC, IT management, network management and leadership teams to discuss trends and continuous improvement actions.

Implementation Recommendations

Here are a few actions you can take to prepare the ground for an XDR implementation and ensure that things go smoothly. 

  1. Ensure the organization has created at least an Information Security Policy to identify the core requirements and decisions.
  2. Communicate early and often with key stakeholders about the benefits of XDR and how it will impact all departments and users. This way, stakeholders know the benefits of the XDR strategy and mutually buy in.
  3. Inventory all potential data sources, including the organization’s SaaS apps, network devices, security tools, and custom applications. 
  4. Choose an XDR provider that can innately integrate with all or most of your data sources to ensure critical data can be sourced and normalized within the XDR platform.
  5. Identify what response actions are possible for each integration (connector) that is offered by the XDR platform. This will help determine what playbooks can be built to expedite the containment and eradication of identified threats.
  6. Discuss potential automated response actions with business stakeholders. Without proper communication and planning it is possible to cause significant disruption to the business. Well thought-out playbooks are an essential component to leveraging response actions.


Staffing Requirements

You must also ensure that you have the right staffing to implement the above recommendations. You’ll need a CISO or virtual CISO on staff – XDR is really geared toward security-strategic organizations that are prioritizing security and making it a core part of their business, and the CISO will direct overall strategy. Next, you’ll need a security architect to identify sources, potential use cases for detection, and to coordinate related playbooks. Finally, you’ll need either an in-house SOC with associated resources including leadership, escalation tools, and 24×7 Tier 1 coverage, or you’ll need to bring in an outsourced MSSP.

In our experience, an Open XDR platform that integrates existing security tools while providing its own native capabilities is the best path to comprehensive security visibility and protection. With a platform like Stellar Cyber, we have been able to create the infrastructure-wide visibility and context we need to respond to security incidents in seconds or minutes instead of days or weeks.