As a cybersecurity enthusiast with a special interest in current SIEM solutions, I've chosen to evaluate a number of SIEM-like solutions available today, particularly EDR, XDR, and SOAR.

In this blog, I'll try to demystify some of the popular security solutions by evaluating their similar and unique features.

XDR: Extended detection and response

Gartner describes XDR as "a SaaS-based, vendor-specific, security threat detection and incident response tool that natively integrates multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system that unifies all licensed components."

XDR aims to solve the issue of siloed detections and responses across multiple security layers, like the cloud, endpoints, point solutions, and other network components. It is designed to provide richer threat intelligence than current security solutions. XDR solutions also offer automated analysis of different data, correlating data points across the different layers to give more accurate threat detection results.

If you're the adventurous kind that's built your own SOC team, investing in an XDR solution can be invaluable for your security program. If you're unsure of whether you need to build your own SOC or outsource your security, we suggest you read another blog of ours, In-house SOC or MSSP? How to choose security that works for your organization, to help you make that decision.

XDR solutions can:

  • Aggregate log data, monitor systems, detect events, and alert your SOC teams. Data aggregated across several security layers can be used to create a rich data set that can fuel stronger, more contextualized threat intelligence, and can help tune your security controls better.
  • Investigate security incidents and create a single source of truth for analyses of events across different security layers.
  • Threat hunt for events that have managed to slip through security controls that you have set up, and that analysts might miss.

EDR: Endpoint detection and response

EDR functions as a subset of XDR. EDR solutions offer an exclusive protection of endpoints by monitoring malicious activity happening on them. EDRs collect data, such as user logins and process executions, and can perform behavioral analysis to spot anomalous events.

EDR solutions can:

  • Allow SOC teams to monitor activity at all endpoints, including applications, processes, and communications, from a single console.
  • Build a data set of recorded events for analytics, which can help you understand attacker behaviors and prevent future breaches.
  • Identify IoCs and correlate them with threat intelligence to add context to potential attacks and threat actors.
  • Provide real-time alerts which are contextualized, making it easier for analysts to investigate the incident.
  • Collect data that help analysts figure out potential attack vectors.
  • Disable processes that prevent an attack from spreading to other endpoints.

Considering that EDR revolves entirely around securing endpoints, people might assume that antivirus solutions are the same as EDR. The truth is that antivirus solutions do only a part of what EDR does. Antiviruses use signature-based detection to identify that a malware is in your network, but don't really give you details on how it entered the network and what caused the infection to spread. EDRs can also detect advanced persistent threats and fileless malwares that don't leave signatures and often identified by antivirus solutions.

SOAR: Security orchestration and automated response

SOAR is a solution that converges three primary security functions: management of threats, incident response, and automation of security operations, into a single holistic security solution. SOAR aims to alleviate the strain on IT security teams that manage an overwhelming number of network alerts; overlooked alerts will negatively impact security. SOAR ensures that threats are identified and a response strategy is implemented. The system is then automated to the maximum extent possible to run more efficiently. A novel feature of SOAR is the use of playbooks which automate and coordinate workflows; these may include any number of disparate security tools, as well as human actions.

SOAR solutions can:

  • Gather security data seamlessly from various sources in your network, such as firewalls, servers, endpoints, and applications including vulnerability scanners, data loss prevention software, and threat applications.
  • Automate response workflows, when alerts are triggered, to mitigate network security incidents before they cause damage or result in a breach.
  • Ingest alert data, and these alerts then trigger playbooks that automate and orchestrate response workflows or tasks. Then, using a combination of human and machine learning, organizations can analyze this diverse data to comprehend and prioritize automated incident response actions to any future threats.

I won't get into SIEM in this article. If you're looking for the reasons SIEM is a great security option, here's an article that expounds on that.

SIEM simplified: A guide for beginners

How XDR, EDR, and SOAR relate to SIEM

XDR is more of a new-gen concept that aims to improve on SIEM, or at least that's how XDR vendors tout it. Some look at it as an evolved platform that is more intensely focused on threat mitigation than even a SIEM solution, since compliance management is at the heart of SIEM and threat management is only a consequence of that. XDR relies heavily on multiple detection mechanisms to create rich data repositories, and then zooms in on narrower data sets to provide more granular information on network activity.

EDR has a more organic relationship with SIEM as it processes raw log data, identifies suspicious events, and only sends the alerts generated by these events to the SIEM solution. SIEM solutions collect and aggregate all security data sourced from integrated platforms logging event-related data—from EDRs, even XDRs, firewalls, network devices, intrusion detection and prevention systems, correlate this data across devices, and analyze incidents and issue alerts accordingly. Since the amount of data being sourced is large, SOC teams usually experience alert fatigue.

If you want to learn more about fine tuning your SIEM solution to reduce alert fatigue and get the best results, read our new e-book: "Getting the best out of your SIEM".

SOAR, on the other hand, is designed to help security teams automate response to incidents by responding to the endless alerts generated by SIEM. With SOAR, SOC teams can handle the overflow of alerts efficiently by creating adaptive, automated incident response workflows. This gives them the ability to prioritize threats and deliver faster results.

Ultimately, an organization's best security approach is still SIEM and SOAR as they're suited to a variety of use cases that address compliance, operations, and security under one umbrella. This design is tried and tested, and is known to improve the efficacy of the SOC team and successfully mitigate vulnerabilities the organization.

Get the latest content delivered
right to your inbox!

Thank you for subscribing.

You will receive regular updates on the latest news on cybersecurity.

  • Please enter a business email id
    By clicking on Keep me Updated you agree to processing of personal data according to the Privacy Policy.

Expert Talks


© 2021 Zoho Corporation Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.