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Palo Alto Cortex XDR: Architecture & Capabilities Overview

Palo Alto Cortex XDR: Architecture & Capabilities Overview

Enhanced Detection and Response (XDR) is a new approach to threat detection and response, providing overall protection against cyber attacks, unauthorized access, and exploitation. Created by Palo Alto Cordex Networks CTO Nir Zuk in 2018, XDR breaks down traditional security silos to enable detection and response across all data sources.

Palo Alto  Cortex

According to analyst company Gartner, XDR is “a SaaS-based vendor-specific security threat detection and incident response tool that natively integrates multiple security products into an integrated security operating system.” Forrester Research’s definition of XDR is a bit broader. “The evolution of EDR to streamline real-time threat detection, investigation, response, and hunting. XDR provides security-related endpoint detection and network analysis and visibility (NAV), email security, identity, and access management, It combines security from security and business tools such as cloud security and telemetry from business tools. It is a cloud-native platform built on a big data infrastructure that provides security teams with flexibility, scalability, and automation capabilities. ”

How Does Palo Alto Cortex XDR Work?

The XDR solution provides a proactive approach to threat detection and response. It provides visibility into all data, including endpoint, network, and cloud data, and applies analytics and automation to combat today’s increasingly sophisticated threats. With XDR, cyber security teams can:

  • Proactively and quickly identify hidden, stealth, and sophisticated threats
  • Track threats across all sources and locations within your organization
  • Improve the productivity of people who operate technology
  • Get more from your security investment
  • Complete your investigation more efficiently

From a business perspective, the XDR platform enables enterprises to prevent successful cyberattacks and simplify and enhance security processes. This allows us to better serve our users and accelerate our digital transformation initiatives. This is because organizations can focus on strategic priorities when users, data, and applications are protected.

Palo Alto Cortex XDR Benefits

  • Use endpoint protection to block known and unknown attacks: Use built-in AI-driven antivirus and threat intelligence to block malware, exploits, and fileless attacks.
    Visualize all your data: Collect and correlate data from any source to detect, triage, investigate, hunt, and respond to threats.
  • 24/7 Automatic Detection of Advanced Attacks: Detect advanced persistent threats and other stealth attacks with out-of-the-box analytics and custom rules.
  • Avoid alert fatigue: Simplify investigations with an incident engine integrated with automated root cause analysis, reduce the number of alerts your team needs to see, and reduce the skills required for triage.
  • Increase SOC productivity: Improve SOC efficiency by consolidating endpoint security policy management, monitoring, investigation, and response across network, endpoint, and cloud environments into a single console.
  • Eradicate enemies without disturbing users: Stop attacks while avoiding user and system downtime.
  • Knock out advanced threats: Protect your network from insider abuse, external attacks, ransomware, fileless and storage-only attacks, and advanced zero-day malware.
  • Force the security team to multiply: Stop each phase of the attack by identifying traces of intrusion (IOC) and anomalous behavior and using incident scores to prioritize the analysis.
  • Recover Host from Infringement: Recover quickly from attacks by removing malicious files and registry keys and using recommended fixes to recover corrupted files and registry keys.
  • Extend detection and response to third-party data sources: Enable behavioral analysis of logs collected by third-party firewalls while integrating third-party alerts with integrated incident views and root cause analysis. Speed up your investigation.

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How does XDR compare to EDR or MDR?

XDR security is an alternative to traditional retrospective approaches that provide only multi-layered insights into attacks such as B. Endpoint detection and response EDR; Network detection and response NDR. And User Behavior Analysis or UBA and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). Layered Visibility provides important information, but it can also cause problems such as:

There are too many inaccurate and incomplete notifications. The EDR solution detects only 26% of the initial attack vector 1, and the number of security alerts is high, so 54% of security professionals ignore alerts that need to be investigated. Time-consuming and complex research that requires specialized expertise. With EDR, the average time to detect a security breach increased to 197 days and the average time to contain a security breach increased to 69 days.

Technology-centric tools, not user-centric or enterprise-centric protection. EDR focuses on technology gaps, not user or organization operational needs. With over 40 tools used in the average security operations center 4, 23% of security teams spend time maintaining and managing security tools rather than conducting security investigations5.

What is EDR Security?

Endpoint detection and response refers to the category of tools used to find and investigate threats on endpoint devices. EDR tools typically provide detection, analysis, investigation, and response capabilities. Compared to these security solutions, XDR takes a broader perspective on integrating data from endpoints, clouds, identities, and other solutions.

The EDR product monitors the events generated by the endpoint agent for suspicious activity. Alerts created by EDR products help SecOps analysts identify, investigate, and resolve issues. These solutions can also collect telemetry data about suspicious activity and enhance this data with other contextual information from correlated events. However, there is no important feature that slows down incident response. EDR solutions cannot provide end-to-end protection because they do not provide integration with other tools or data sources for full visibility.

What is MDR?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services provide dedicated human resources and technology to improve the effectiveness of security operations in threat identification, investigation, and response. These services complement traditional managed security services with a focus on comprehensive security alert management and triage. There are various definitions, but the MDR service usually provides the following values:

  • Resource expansion supports the SecOps team with tasks that require special skills, such as B. Threat hunting, forensic investigation, and incident response.
  • As security becomes more mature, it offers a mature approach to threat management and is proactively available 24/7, paving the way for transforming other aspects of security operations.
  • By reducing time to value realization, you’ll be provided with a select technology stack, security experts, and operational best practices, reducing discovery and response times to days instead of years.
  • Reduced Mean Time to Recovery (MTTD) and Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR) accelerate advanced threat detection and response within fixed time-based service level agreements (SLAs).

Cortex XDR  Product

Cortex XDR is the world's first detection and response app that natively integrates network, endpoint and cloud data to stop sophisticated attacks.

Cortex XDR is the world’s first advanced detection and response platform that natively integrates network, endpoint, cloud, and third-party data to thwart modern attacks. Integrate prevention, detection, investigation, and response into one platform for unmatched safety and operational efficiency. Cortex XDR uses behavioral analytics to accurately detect threats and uncover root causes for expedited investigations.

Tight integration with enforcement points accelerates containment, enabling you to stop attacks before the damage is done. Combined with our Managed Threat Hunting service, our XDR solution gives you round-the-clock protection and industry-leading coverage of MITRE ATT&CK techniques.

Cortex XDR Architecture

The Cortex XDR architecture varies slightly between product releases but includes some standard components. Both editions are based on Cortex Data Lake and are designed to correlate log data across devices. The components of the
-based platforms are:

  • Cortex XDR App-A user interface (UI) that provides data lake visibility. From this interface, you can sort and investigate alerts, perform remediation actions, and define detection and response policies.
    Cortex Data Lake – A cloud-based log storage resource designed to store log data from all sources. Data lakes centralize data and allow the XDR engine to correlate events to create alerts.

Advanced platform components include:

Analysis Engine-A security service that uses network and endpoint data to detect and respond to threats. Apply behavioral analysis to identify known and unknown threats by comparing them to known and accepted user or device behavior. Next Generation Firewall-A virtual or on-premises firewall that allows you to apply secure traffic policies to your network. These firewalls include machine learning technology to detect known and unknown threats. PrismaAccess and GlobalProtect-Services that extend firewall protection to remote and mobile users. These services allow you to forward remote traffic logs to a data lake for general correlation with local logs.

External Firewall and Alerts-Integration allow you to include external firewall logs and alerts in your CortexXDR system. This is possible via the Cortex XDR API. These data points are then combined with cortical data to increase the context of the event and allow for more detailed responses. Cortex XDR Agent-Software installed on the endpoint and used to collect and transfer data. These agents can also perform local analysis and leverage WildFire threat intelligence to improve threat detection. All collected data is also sent to the data lake for collaborative analysis.

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