As cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, organizations must constantly improve their security posture to stay ahead of potential attacks. One effective way to do this is through threat hunting, a proactive approach to identifying and mitigating potential security threats before they can cause damage. However, threat hunting can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, which is where extended detection and response (XDR) comes in.
When combined with threat hunting, XDR can significantly enhance an organization’s security posture. With that principle in mind, Cisco Security Cloud platform has a new member: a comprehensive extended detection and response solution that integrates multiple security technologies and data sources as a part of a single platform providing a comprehensive view of an organization’s security posture.
Cisco XDR provides a unique end-to-end view and enables SOC teams to detect and respond to threats, reducing the time it takes to identify and mitigate potential attacks quickly and efficiently.
Here are five ways Cisco XDR can improve the threat hunting process:
- Centralized Data Collection and Analysis
One of the biggest challenges in threat hunting is collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources to surface threats. With a collaborative approach leveraging telemetry from Cisco User and Cloud Infrastructure Security suites such as Secure Endpoint, Email Threat Defense, Network Security Analytics and Firewall makes it easier to identify patterns and anomalies that could quickly expose a complex and multidimensional threat. With Cisco XDR, security teams can also collect, analyze and correlate data from other security vendors, all in one place.
- Automated Threat Detection
With the increasing frequency and complexity of emerging attacks, manual threat detection is no longer sufficient. Cisco XDR allows faster detection and response times, reducing the risk of data breaches and other cyber incidents using advanced machine learning algorithms and behavioral analytics to automatically detect and surface potential threats. This reduces the need for manual threat hunting, freeing up security teams to focus on more complex threats that require human expertise.
- Faster Incident Response
The longer it takes to respond to an incident, the more time the attacker has to cause damage or steal data. Cisco XDR provides real-time visibility into security events, allowing security teams to quickly identify and respond to potential threats. This reduces the time to respond (MTTR), which is a key metric for SOC teams, to attacks minimizing the impact of the incident and reducing the risk of further damage.
- Improved Threat Intelligence
Staying ahead of threats is the ultimate goal of any SOC team. Threat intelligence helps SOC analysts to identify emerging threats, understand the tactics and techniques used by attackers, and prioritize security efforts. However, providing context and insight into potential and existing threats may impose more work on security teams by collecting and analyzing data.
Cisco XDR integrates threat intelligence from Cisco Talos and additional sources, providing security teams with up-to-date information on the latest threats and attack techniques. Cisco Talos provides native telemetry from processing more than 400B security events daily coupled with 500 dedicated threat researchers – humans with deep understanding of machine telemetry. This can ultimately help organizations stay ahead of threats, respond more effectively to incidents, and improve overall security posture.
- Enhanced Collaboration
When no collaborative workflow exists in a SOC, it can lead to inefficiencies, communication breakdowns, and ultimately, a decrease in the overall security posture of the organization. Without a collaborative workflow, security analysts may work in silos, which can lead to redundant work, missed threats, and delays in incident response.
Cisco XDR provides a centralized platform for collaboration between security teams, allowing them to share information and work together to identify and mitigate potential threats. By sharing information, expertise and resources, teams can achieve common security goals and surface hidden threats faster. A collaborative workflow improves communication and coordination, reducing the risk of miscommunication or duplication of efforts.
Front-line advice from Cisco Security leadership
In this section of the XDR Files Blog Series, we have something exciting lined up for you: we bring in a rotating chair of experts that will talk about all things XDR. Our team of knowledgeable professionals will be sharing their insights and experiences with you, providing valuable information that will help you navigate the world of XDR.
In this edition we are joined by AJ Shipley, a Vice President of Product Management for Cisco Secure. AJ believes that everyone in the space needs to be better focused on stopping the attackers versus competing against one another. We threw some curve balls at him, and he came armed with data from a double blind Cisco study that informed the build of our XDR solution.
Javier: I’ve heard you talk about the importance of cross domain telemetry for the right approach to XDR. What are the top four telemetry sources essential for XDR?
AJ: The promise of XDR is to combine your endpoint telemetry, your network telemetry (cloud and physical), your application telemetry, and your identity to be able to detect threats in your environment that your point products can’t detect in isolation. Not because those points products are not good, but because the adversary is very good. In our research we found that endpoint, firewall, network and identity are top telemetry sources essential for XDR.
Javier: What are the top 2 features preferred by customers to support effective automated threat detection? And what is your advice?
AJ: The topmost desired features based on our research were: security analytics and threat intelligence. SOC teams want to enhance signal-to-noise ratio with security analytics and boost alert accuracy with threat intelligence.
Don’t limit yourself to SIEM data or single-domain analytics. Broaden your scope by correlating information across email, web, endpoint, and network. Remember, the network is a powerful yet often neglected source of truth.
Javier: Which areas are the XDR solutions of today failing security operations?
AJ: One of the biggest challenges in security operations today is keeping up with ever-evolving threats and a growing attack surface. Most organizations employ tools from multiple vendors and want those tools to interoperate. Unfortunately, there’s limited integration and little shared telemetry. But data and context shared across vendor lines and the application of advanced analytics on that telemetry across as many vectors as possible ensure we can rapidly detect and comprehensively respond to sophisticated adversaries. Another reality is that the existing XDR tools do not enable your teams to automate critical security workflows that can free up your teams across the full lifecycle -to go from discovering an alert to taking a response action quickly. To summarize, the lack of integration and automation are the most widespread pain points.
In conclusion, threat hunting is an essential component of any effective cybersecurity strategy. By combining threat hunting with XDR, organizations can significantly enhance their security posture, improving their ability to detect and respond to potential threats. With XDR’s centralized data collection and analysis, automated threat detection, faster incident response, improved threat intelligence, and enhanced collaboration capabilities, organizations can stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats. In a future blog, I will be covering how incident management processes can be improved with XDR adoption. Stay tuned!
- Threatwise TV episode
- XDR Product Page
- Cisco XDR: Security Operations Simplified eBook
- 5 Ways to Experience XDR
- An XDR Primer: The Promise of Simplifying Security Operations
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