XDR

Are You Ready for XDR?

What is your organization’s readiness for the emerging eXtended Detection Response (XDR) technology? McAfee just released the first iteration of this technology, MVISION XDR. As XDR capabilities become available, organizations need to think through how to embrace the new security operations technology destined to empower detection and response capabilities. XDR is a journey for people and organizations. 

The cool thing about McAfee’s offering is the XDR capabilities is built on the McAfee platform of MVISION EDRMVISION Insights and is extended to other McAfee products and third-party offerings.   This means as a McAfee customer your XDR journey has already begun. 

The core value prop behind XDR is to empower the SecOps function which is still heavily burdened with limited staff and resources while the threat landscape roars. This cry is not new. As duly noted in the book,  Ten Strategies of World-class Cybersecurity Operations Center, written quite a few moons ago:  “With the right tools, one good analyst can do the job of 100 mediocre ones.” XDR is the right tool. 

 SecOps empowerment means impacting and changing people and process in a positive manner resulting in better security outcomes. Organizations must consider and prepare for this helpful shift. Here are three key considerations organizations need to be aware of and ready for: 

The Wonder of Harmonizing Security Controls and Data Across all Vectors

A baseline requirement for XDR is to unify and aggregate security controls and data to elevate situation awareness. Now consider what does this mean to certain siloed functions like endpoint, network and web.  Let’s say you are analyst who typically pulls telemetry from separate control points (endpoint, network, web) moving from each tool with a login, to another tool with another login and so on. Or maybe you only have access to the endpoint tool. To gain insight into the network you emailed the network folks with artifacts you are seeing on the endpoint and ask if these is anything similar, they have seen on the edge and what they make of it. Often there is a delayed response from network folks given their priorities. And you call the web folks for their input on what they are seeing.  Enter XDR. What if this information and insights was automatically given to you on a unified dashboard where situation awareness analysis has already begun.  This reduces the manual pivoting of copy and pasting, emailing, and phone calls.  It removes the multiple data sets to manage and the cognitive strain to make sense of it. The collection, triaging, and initial investigative analysis are automated and streamlined. This empowers the analysts to get to a quicker validation and assessment. The skilled analyst will also use experience and human intuition to respond to the adversary, but the initial triaging, investigation, and analysis has already been done. In addition, XDR fosters the critical collaboration between the network operations and security operations since adversary movement is erratic across the entire infrastructure.   

Actionable Intelligence Fosters Proactive SecOps Efforts (MVISION XDR note-worthy distinction)

Imagine if your SecOps gained high priority threat intelligence before the adversary hits and enters your environment. What does it mean to your daily SecOps processes and policy? It removes a significant amount to of hunting, triaging and investigation cycles. It simply prioritizes and accelerates the investigation. It answers the questions that matter. Any associated campaign is bubbled up immediately. You are getting over a hundred high alerts, but one is related to a threat campaign that is likely to hit. It removes the guess work and prioritizes SecOps efforts. It assesses your environment and the likely impact what is vulnerable. More importantly it suggests counter measures you can take. It moves you from swimming in context to action in minutes.

This brings the SecOps to a decision moment faster—do they have the authority to respond? Are they a participant in prevention efforts?  Note this topic is Strategy Three in the Ten Strategies of World-class Cybersecurity Operations Center where it is highly encouraged to empower SecOps to make and/or participate in such decisions.  Policies for response decisions and actions vary by organizations, the takeaway here is decision moments come faster and more often with significant research and credible context from MVISION XDR

Enjoy the Dance Between Security and IT

XDR is an open, integrated platform. So, what does it mean to people and process if all the pieces are integrated and security functions coordinate efforts? It depends on the pieces that are connected. For example, if SecOps can place a recommendation to update certain systems on the IT service system automatically it removes the necessity to login into the IT system and place a request or in some cases call or email IT (eliminating a time-consuming step.) There is a heightened need for what–if scenario policies driven by Secure Orchestration Automation Response (SOAR) solutions. These policies are typically reflected in a manual playbook or SOAR playbook.

Let’s consider an example, when an email phishing alert is offered the SOAR automatically (by policy/play required) compares the alert against others to see if there are commonalties worth noting. If so, the common artifacts are assigned to one analyst versus distributing separate alerts to many analysts. This streamlines the investigation and response to be more effective and less consuming. There are many more examples, but the point is when you coordinate security functions organization must think through how they want each function to act under specific circumstances what is your policy for these circumstances.

These are just a few areas to consider when you embrace XDR. I hope this initial discussion started you thinking about what to consider when embracing XDR.

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