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XDR Key Benefits and Use Cases

Security analysts are the lifeblood of your organization’s operational safety. Unfortunately, security leaders can sometimes look for new tooling to patch over the issue, rather than spending the time listening to their analysts’ own concerns.

A 2022 study conducted by Tines found that 72% of security analysts experience a degree of burnout – with tedious manual work being listed as the top frustration across the board. While understaffing does still play a role, the chief contributing factor to overwhelming burnout is the manual tasks that hold analysts back from contributing to the high-impact projects they care about.

It’s time for security tech stacks to change – from isolated, vendor-locked software with little to no flexibility, to open systems that swiftly integrate with whatever already works for you. A focus on automation will enable your security staff to stop chasing manual detection tasks and focus their efforts toward more productive upstream tasks.

This article will cover the major XDR use cases, and illuminate a new approach to the hundreds of alerts flowing into your analysts’ workflows every day.

Why Do You Need XDR?

Today’s security landscape is dominated by the unchecked expansion of services, instances, and assets. Particularly rampant in the domains of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the ease and rapidity with which infrastructure can be deployed has left SOCs battling through an incomprehensible fog of transient cloud resources.

From a security perspective, cloud and application sprawl can leave major gaps in even well-established security postures. Across endpoints, email, networks, and applications, each component that keeps your business well-connected and efficient now demands a higher degree of protection than ever before.

Why Endpoints Need XDR

With the rise in remote and hybrid working over the last few years – and an expected increase into 2025 – the number of endpoints under every security team’s protection has swelled relentlessly. Attackers are more than happy to make the most of this; Verizon’s latest report on data breaches shows that cyberattacks now occur every 39 seconds, a third of which specifically target endpoints via malware installation.

While endpoints represent the largest attack surface at an attacker’s disposal, conventional antivirus programs identify fewer than half of all cyberattacks. These solutions operate by matching file signatures within a suspicious download against an ever-updating database compiled from newly discovered malware signatures. However, this approach fails to recognize malware that hasn’t been previously identified. This leads to a critical delay: the time from when new malware is released to when it is finally detectable by traditional antivirus methods.

Why Email Needs XDR

Email stands out as a significant security risk because it’s a communication tool used across almost all levels of an organization: its ease of access on any device without the need for decryption makes email accounts particularly high-risk.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is among the most challenging attacks to detect. It leverages the isolated operations of company departments, with bad actors often targeting HR departments to gather initial dregs of information. This information is then used to craft more convincing phishing attacks. The threat extends beyond unauthorized account access; emails sent across networks and servers, many of which may not be sufficiently protected, are at risk. Thus, even if an individual’s computer is secured, the email transit routes may not be, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.

Additionally, cybercriminals can easily manipulate email identities or modify the content of emails, including text, attachments, URLs, or the sender’s email address. This vulnerability stems from the inherently open design of email systems, where each email’s metadata divulges its origin, destination, and other details. Attackers exploit this feature by altering the metadata to make the email seem as if it’s sent from a reliable source, when in reality, it’s a deceit.

While email and other messaging tools are a significant risk factor, most security solutions today remain completely disconnected from them – leaving a gaping hole at the root of many attack stories.

Why Networks Need XDR

Network security operates on dual fronts: the network’s outer perimeter and its internal structure. On the perimeter, security mechanisms aim to block cyber threats from penetrating the network. However, since attackers can occasionally breach these defenses, IT security teams implement safeguards around internal assets, including laptops and data. This approach ensures that, even if intruders infiltrate the network, their movement is restricted.

While fantastic on paper, the reality of compartmentalized security measures is less sparkling. By isolating the various segments of a networked environment, organizations then require separate management. As a result, threat intelligence remains deeply siloed –  leaving security analysts to manually piece together the individual data points. And while workflows and data seamlessly transition between dif