What is Extended Detection and Response (XDR)?

Sumit Singh
September 20, 2022


The number of threats to businesses continue to rise, with remote working increasing the attack surface, and more sophisticated methods being utilised by cybercriminals. Traditional approaches to security that rely on legacy infrastructure respond too slowly and inefficiently. The fact is that, as threats continue to grow, organisations need to build a more agile, integrated, and automated approach to managing their cyber security. This is where Extended Detection and Response (XDR) comes into play. The extended security solution accelerates threat detection and response by unifying real-time data across the security ecosystem and combining it with machine learning to deliver actionable insights. With XDR, businesses can move beyond their endpoints and become more proactive, hunting threats rather than waiting for them to attack.


Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a new approach that breaks down traditional security silos to deliver holistic threat detection and response across all data sources. The aim is to integrate multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system. Ultimately, XDR is the evolution of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), enabling real-time optimisation. XDR unifies endpoint detections with telemetry from a range of network, workload, and management tools to streamline data collection and analysis, identify and hunt threats faster, and turn insights into orchestrated action. With a unified solution for efficiently hunting and eliminating security threats across multiple domains, security teams are able to work more productively and effectively.


As we’ve touched on, XDR works to connect data from isolated security systems in order to improve threat visibility, identification and response. There are three key steps to XDR systems:

  1. Data ingestion - XDR ingests data from endpoints, cloud workloads, identity management, network traffic, email, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and more.
  2. Threat detection - data is correlated and combined with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to automatically detect threats.
  3. Threat response - threat data is analysed and prioritised by severity to enable automated investigation and response activities or to visually represent complex recommendations to improve the productivity of security teams.

XDR systems continually capture data from the systems connected to them, feed the data into a centralised console, and analyse the data to empower security teams. Thanks to the advanced technology used, XDR delivers a proactive approach to threat detection and response, all from a single console.


With all the acronyms in cyber security XDR can easily get confused with similar detection and response acronyms such as Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Managed Detection and Response (MDR). These more traditional reactive approaches only provide layered visibility into attacks rather than a holistic view of all threats. To help clarify the situation, here are some of the key differences between XDR, EDR AND MDR:

  • Scope - XDR builds on the foundation of EDR; it’s vital to start by monitoring the endpoint, however, XDR extends on this by making all telemetry accessible.
  • Time - with EDR, the mean time to identify a breach is a lot higher as complex investigations often require specialised expertise.
  • Technology - XDR uses advanced technology such as AI and ML to automatically detect, analyse and respond to threats.
  • Automation - while MDR delivers endpoint security as a service and enables continuous monitoring of endpoints without additional staffing requirements, it doesn’t incorporate advanced telemetry and deliver automated responses.

To put it simply, XDR takes EDR and MDR to the next level by streamlining security data ingestion, analysis and workflows across the entire security stack. The result is enhanced visibility and unified response.


By extending the value of siloed security tools and unifying and streamlining security analysis, investigation and remediation, your organisation can achieve the following with XDR:

  • Reduced costs - by having a security system that works together, you can extend the value of your security stack and reduce the total cost of ownership.
  • Improved visibility - with data rapidly correlated from multiple sources, your security team can view actionable security insights from a single console.
  • Faster detection - by unifying relevant telemetry from multiple technologies, your business can identify sophisticated threats quickly, creating a more proactive approach to threat detection.
  • Increased productivity - by consolidating endpoint security policy management and monitoring, investigation, and response across your endpoints, network, and the cloud, resources from your security team can be allocated elsewhere increasing overall productivity.
  • Streamlined response - with advanced data and insights, security teams are empowered to create automated multistage, multiplatform response workflows to mitigate threats across your endpoints.


In an ever-changing threat landscape, traditional endpoint security solutions are no longer enough to detect advanced threats. Security teams need to sharpen their focus on threat detection and response, all while removing siloed security data, responding more quickly to threats, and maximising the value of existing technology investments. This is easier said than done but from a business perspective, XDR enables you to both prevent cyberattacks and simplify & strengthen your security processes. Cloud-native XDR solutions provide more focused and actionable data, better integration, timely and relevant insights, and easier automation. Additionally, by ensuring your users, data and applications are protected from advanced threats with full visibility and faster response, you have more time to focus on strategic priorities.

If you would like to receive a consultation and demo of an XDR platform, contact the cyber security experts at Infotrust today.