Four Tips to Prepare for XDR Implementation

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a tool that integrates multiple security products into a cohesive platform, eliminating siloed security information spread across multiple vendors and products. With the increasing complexity of network systems, XDR cuts through the security noise with clear visibility of the entire network, the ability to correlate related security events, and the AI/ML enhanced intelligence to respond and protect with less security analyst intervention.

A major benefit of an XDR solution is that the platform operates as an extension of your current security landscape. The money, time and effort already invested in your security stack is not lost; it simply becomes more effective and efficient when all security data is collected, analyzed and acted upon in one system under one pane of glass.

An XDR platform accomplishes the goal of unifying security data by ingesting logs from multiple security products, including security incident and event management (SEIM) solutions, multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions, Secure Email Gateway, endpoint detection and response (EDR) platforms, etc. Consolidating all security logs to flow through a single point provides a more comprehensive and clear view of the security environment.

The implementation of an XDR solution is generally a cooperative and iterative process between an organization and an XDR vendor. The organization holds all the network environment details, configurations, and settings while the vendor has the expertise on how to collect logs from a wide range of devices and applications. If considering deploying an XDR solution, below are four tips to prepare for this collaborative implementation journey.

  1. Ensure Key Stakeholders Are on Board

Implementing and utilizing an XDR solution is an enhancement to an organization’s cybersecurity posture, but the benefits may be limited if key stakeholders have not bought into the upgrade. Company leadership must understand the value proposition to prioritize the investment of time and money into the XDR project. To ensure the XDR platform is utilized fully and effectively, the internal security team needs to understand how XDR fits into the current strategy and how the enhancements will make their team more efficient and effective. For organizations with an outsourced IT vendor, there needs to be a shared understanding of cybersecurity goals and clear lanes of responsibility and authority between the organization, IT vendor and XDR vendor. An XDR implementation is a significant upgrade on paper, but if strong opinions, conflicting priorities, and turf battles are not managed effectively, the implementation and utilization of an XDR solution can be hindered significantly.

  1. Inventory All Potential Data Sources

One security platform with one pane of glass is a worthy goal to justify the effort required to create an inventory list of potential data sources. This exercise can provide clarity regarding the network environment and help identify what data is relevant to ingest, including network devices, security tools, SaaS applications and custom applications. Decisions need to be made about what data sources provide the best visibility for security incidents and what data sources are less relevant to the security landscape. Efforts to avoid the ingestion of non-useful data ensures time and resources are not wasted on collecting and analyzing non-security related data.

  1. Practice Good Cyber Hygiene

It’s a good idea to use the preparation time for an XDR implementation as a checkpoint to practice good cyber hygiene. Are there software/firmware upgrades that need to be accomplished? Are there outstanding patches that need to be installed? When is the last time a particular device was rebooted? Setting your environment up for success by having everything up-to-date is a great way to smooth the path for the implementation ahead.

  1. Think About Playbooks

Once the inventory list is compiled, it can be helpful to walk through that list with your XDR vendor to understand what response actions are available for each integration type. Which response actions can be automated and which are manually triggered? What information does your security team need to know and when? What does incident communication look like with the XDR vendor SOC? Thinking through a variety of incident cases ahead of time can increase the accuracy and usefulness of XDR playbooks from the start.

An XDR implementation is a cooperative and interactive process between a customer and a vendor. Clear expectations, consistent communication, available resources, and timely information exchanges are helpful to ensure the implementation process is efficient and effective. An XDR vendor relies on customer information, needs, and preferences to deploy the XDR platform, and by using the tips above, you can help set the process up for success by arriving to the starting line prepared for the journey.