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XDR: BETTER SECURITY OUTCOMES

01: INTRODUCTION: SMBS INCREASINGLY TARGETED IN ATTACKS

In the last twelve months, 42% of SMBs said their company has experienced a data breach and 26% have experienced a ransomware attack.

SMB: Directions For the Future of Work, SMB Group 2022

Large enterprises are often better-equipped to defend against cyber attacks, with the ability to hire a security team with the expertise required to build out a security program, deploy complex tools and regularly maintain them.

But attackers have widened their target to include small and medium-sized businesses that have less in the way of security knowledge and defenses.

The rise of remote work, increasing IT complexity and the growing threat landscape have all converged to create new challenges for small and medium-sized businesses (below 100 and 100-1,000 employees) already struggling to keep pace.

As a result, their approach to security also needs to change to reflect unique barriers to protecting their organizations from attacks like ransomware and breaches.

02: WHAT IS XDR AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The security industry has to constantly evolve to keep up with new attack techniques and vulnerabilities, and as a result, is always reinventing their approach to preventative and defensive security to stay one step ahead.

XDR, or eXtended Detection and Response, is simply one approach the industry is trending towards in order to consolidate security tools, gain better defenses against advanced attacks, and improve their time to respond to incidents to protect data breaches.

Over time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of vendor sprawl – when businesses buy too many tools from multiple vendors, resulting in redundancies and inefficiencies, not to mention wasteful recurring spend. Worse, it can increase complexity to the point that it’s hard to operate so many disparate tools and respond to the growing number of system alerts, making it easy to miss critical notifications amidst all the noise.

For organizations with lean IT teams and limited time, vendor sprawl can work against their best efforts to protect the company.

XDR seeks to help organizations consolidate tools, reduce complexity, integrate broadly to provide insight across their entire environment, and use automation to speed up detection and response.

Many different security vendors and industry analysts have their own definitions, and since the industry is still evolving, there are many different ways to approach the concept of XDR. Gartner’s definition focuses on four main pillars of XDR capabilities, summarized below:

  1. Strong security tools integrated together
  2. Centralized logs in one place
  3. Insightful detections from correlated data
  4. Automated response across endpoints & security tools

Depending on the solution, capabilities may vary, but what’s more important is the outcome these tools seek to achieve. The industry analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group conducted a survey, The Impact of XDR in the Modern SOC, and found that IT and security professionals are focused on top detection and response outcomes, including:

  • Improve detection of advanced threats (34%)
  • Increase automation of remediation tasks without involving IT Ops (33%)
  • Improve mean time to respond to threats (29%)
  • Gain better visibility into cyber-risks; especially ones impacting critical business systems (27%)

However, it’s important to understand unique challenges that certain organizations today may face when it comes to achieving these outcomes, and how a well-designed XDR approach can help them better protect against attacks like ransomware and data breaches.

03: SMB SECURITY CHALLENGES

SMALL TEAMS STRETCHED THIN

Organizations of all sizes often have very lean IT and/or security teams, sometimes with only 1-3 people tasked with keeping the lights on for the entire organization. They’re stretched thin trying to manage daily IT tasks, in addition to keeping their organization secure and protected against cyberattacks. These teams simply don’t have enough time in the day to do it all – resulting in critical coverage gaps and slower times to detect and respond to incidents

I don’t have the staff dedicated to sit and read logs all day or with the skillset to analyze our data.

Jim Paolicelli, IT Director, Atlantic Constructors

LACK OF SECURITY EXPERTISE

Although the global cybersecurity workforce has grown to 4.7 million people, according to an (ISC)2 2022 workforce study, there’s still a need for more than 3.4 million security professionals, a more than 26% increase from 2021. That shortage of talent makes it difficult for any organization to fully staff a security team – 61% of SMBs highlighted talent shortages as a macro trend that they were somewhat or very concerned about having a negative impact on their business. SMBs also struggle to keep up with the changing threat landscape, without a dedicated security team that knows how to monitor their environment for suspicious activity and indicators of an attack in progress.

I need to know what’s happening in my environment – when a system is having a problem, under attack, or compromised.

John Hwee, Director of IT, Duraflame

LIMITED VISIBILITY

Many organizations operate in hybrid environments today, with 73% of SMBs that have remote-only employees or hybrid employees that work at both remote/company locations. In addition to remote endpoints, SMBs have a mix of cloud infrastructure and onpremises systems, making it challenging to find one standardized way to gain security visibility into the complexity of a modern technology stack. Without insight into the complete environment, compromises and attackers can slip by unnoticed for long periods of time, increasing their “dwell time” or the amount of time an attacker has access to your network, increasing the likelihood of stolen data or ransomware encryption.

Many security tools are noisy; we don’t have time to dig through layers and layers of data.

Steve Gatton, VP of IT, Fechheimer

TIME-STRAPPED

Acquiring and properly implementing new security solutions, like a SIEM, can prove challenging due to the complexity of typical SIEM solutions. A traditional SIEM may only collect logs in a central repository, providing little analysis or useful alerts, which requires an organization to do their own threat hunting, detection rule development, and then tuning of the rules to filter out noisy falsepositives that can result in alert fatigue. In order to analyze log data, organizations may have to also parse or normalize that data into a standardized format. An organization also needs to employ several full-time security analysts that can triage, analyze alerts and know how to remediate incidents quickly.

We’re required by CJIS and IRS Pub 1075 compliance to review our logs daily — we’d need a team of 100 to go through all of our logs manually.

Mike Morrow, Tech Infrastructure Manager, Ottawa County

DAUNTING COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS

Many organizations are driven by the need to meet industryspecific, data regulatory compliance and cyber insurance requirements for logging, threat detection, threat response, minimum lengths of time for log data retention, endpoint isolation technology, and more. For example, PCI DSS requires at least one year of log data retention at a minimum, while the NIST or HIPAA may call for even longer retention periods. Satisfying compliance controls can be daunting and costly for organizations with limited resources and knowledge of how to acquire, implement and configure technology to meet these requirements.

Most [security providers] were way outof-the-ballpark expensive, required a lot of infrastructure and didn’t provide a great return on our investment.

Fritz Ludemann، InfoSec Admin, The City of Crescent City

BUDGET CONSTRAINT

Budgets are tight when it comes to investing in security tools needed to properly gain visibility, identify and respond to threats, and protect against the threat of breaches and ransomware. Acquiring multiple tools can also be cost-prohibitive for small or medium-sized organizations, resulting in a loss of key capabilities necessary to detect and respond to threats in a timely manner. However, with global average costs of a data breach estimated at $4.35 million in 2022, it’s clear that organizations need to invest wisely in more effective security defenses to prevent a breach.

04: XDR SECURITY OUTCOMES

I need a solution that can simplify, consolidate and show me what I really need to see.

Jim Paolicelli, IT Director, Atlantic Constructors

REDUCE COMPLEXITY & MEET COMPLIANCE

Do more with one console and lower overhead

Today, security operations are time-consuming and spread out between different solutions, due to vendor sprawl. IT teams need to log in to several different applications to address alerts, determine if they’re false-positives, triage if not, gather data from many different sources to correlate them, and then determine what the next steps are to respond.

By consolidating core security functionality into one platform, complexity is reduced and workflows are streamlined; less overhead is required to maintain a single solution. XDR can combine SIEM with endpoint detection and response capabilities, layering in SOAR (automated response), all in one integrated platform. This results:

  • Log monitoring across cloud, on-prem, servers, endpoints, identity, authentication and more services into one centralized platform for greater insight
  • Data retention of one year or more to meet PCI DSS, HIPAA, NIST, CMMC, FFIEC, etc. compliance and/or cyber insurance requirements
  • Automatically parsed and analyzed data for advanced detection of attacker behavior, with alerts sent within 50 seconds of initial detection
  • Automated response immediately blocks compromised endpoints or traffic from malicious sources, expediting your time to respond significantly

INCREASE VISIBILITY AND MAXIMIZE EXISTING INVESTMENTS

Open XDR integrates with third-parties to collect data from more sources

Some native or closed XDR platforms only integrate well with one vendor’s suite of products, leaving critical gaps for cloud or other third-party applications. An open XDR can solve this problem by integrating broadly with your existing security tools to support hybrid and remote work. That means more security coverage and visibility into previously unknown activity.

SAVE IT TIME AND EFFORT

Refocus IT teams’ effort by automating manual security tasks

While typical SIEM or XDR solutions may require a fair amount of initial setup, including developing integrations and detection rules in order to collect data, analyze it, and identify security events for further investigation or response, an automated platform can help alleviate the burden on time-strapped IT teams. Seek out a solution that can automatically:

  • Integrate broadly with your third-party applications, parsing data automatically
  • Analyze log data for anomalous activity and identify patterns of attacker behavior
  • Does threat hunting, develops, tests and tunes new detection rules for you
  • Send you prioritized alerts so you know what’s critical and immediate to respond to
  • Sends you playbooks with findings to explain how to respond, step by step

By building this level of deployment, threat hunting and analysis, detection and response into an automated platform, you can shift these manual security tasks away from your in-house team to free them up to focus on more strategic, higher value projects and initiatives.

SPEED UP TIME TO SECURITY

Faster deployment and time to detect and respond to incidents

The longer the response time, the more likely an attacker can continue to act unnoticed, seeking data to steal or ways to target your users with scams. Worse, the early indicators of a ransomware attack will go by undetected, which can result in widespread encryption across your environment. There are many reasons for lagging response times, including the inability to determine which alert needs to be triaged and responded to right away, due to a lack of security expertise.

Leveraging automation is one way XDR enables better security outcomes for organizations with limited resources and time to respond to incidents. With IT teams of 1-3 people, it’s easy to miss an important alert. But automated response options, such as isolating devices immediately when a critical-level threat is identified, can offer immediate protection to a company’s network from a potentially compromised device – no human intervention required.

05: TAKEAWAYS

It’s harder than ever to be a small or medium-sized business trying to protect against increasingly frequent attacks, including ransomware and data breaches that can result in costly compliance fines, business downtime, impact to their reputation, serious business disruptions and data loss.

But the specific challenges their 1-3 person IT teams face include a lack of time to juggle both IT and manual security tasks; inability to staff professionals in-house with security expertise; less resources than large enterprise companies to deploy and manage advanced security tools; and increasing complexity and visibility blindspots introduced by hybrid, remote, cloud and on-premises environments.

To help struggling organizations achieve better security outcomes, a well-designed open XDR platform can consolidate solutions, reduce complexity, make the most of existing investments and improve an IT team’s time to detect and respond to critical security threats.

BLUMIRA XDR FOR SMBS

Blumira’s open XDR platform makes advanced detection and response easy and effective for small and medium-sized businesses, accelerating ransomware and breach prevention for hybrid environments. Time-strapped IT teams can do more with one solution that combines SIEM, endpoint visibility and automated response. Meet compliance with one year of data retention and extend your team with Blumira’s 24/7 SecOps support.

EASY

Reduce reliance on humans to complete manual security tasks to save time and refocus efforts

Effective

Accelerate breach prevention and ransomware protection with security automation

Efficient

All-in-one platform simplifies workflows with hybrid coverage, satisfying more compliance controls

Features include:

Managed detections for automated threat hunting to identify attacks early

Automated response to contain and block threats immediately (launching soon)

One year of data retention and option to extend to satisfy compliance

Advanced reporting and dashboards for forensics and easy investigation

Lightweight agent for endpoint visibility and response

24/7 Security Operations (SecOps) support for critical priority issues

Contact us to learn more or see a demo of Blumira in action. Visit blumira.com.

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