What is Microsoft’s Extended Detection & Response (XDR)?

Jul 6, 2023 | Security

XDR is one of the newest solutions within endpoint security. In contrast to traditional security technologies such as Antivirus (AV) and Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR), XDR offers a holistic approach to detection and response. It encompasses endpoints, networks, and the cloud and addresses the challenges from the previous technologies.


A Brief History of Endpoint Security Products

Traditional AV Products

Traditional antivirus (AV) products were initially developed to safeguard endpoints during the early days of the internet and computing. These products relied on signature-based detection, where known malicious malware and their unique signatures and hashes were stored in a library. When scanning endpoints, the AV products would compare file signatures to the ones in their library and block any matches.

Over time, attackers found ways to bypass this detection method and these limitations lead to the development of a more advanced solution called EDR.



While EDR tools still utilise signature-based detection, they improved capabilities to address attackers’ subtle modifications. It goes beyond signature-based detection by identifying suspicious behaviors on endpoints. This robust approach enhances threat protection and significantly raises the bar for successful attacks.

Importantly, EDR empowers defenders with response capabilities. Through a centralised EDR platform, security professionals can effectively manage endpoints, detect threats, vulnerabilities, halt attacks, and resolve issues across their entire endpoint network.



Acting as an extension of EDR, XDR offers a broader scope of capabilities compared to EDR alone. While EDR focuses on incident detection and response on endpoints, XDR extends its reach across an organisation’s entire IT landscape.

XDR provides comprehensive threat detection and response capabilities encompassing end-user environments, cloud services, on-premise infrastructure, and mobile devices. It consolidates signals from multiple technology environments and attack vectors, offering security analysts a unified view or a “single pane of glass” for threat detection and response.

For instance, while EDR may provide information about malware running on a machine, XDR goes further by correlating and presenting additional details such as the phishing email that was clicked on, the downloaded malware, and network traffic logs associated with that machine. This automatic correlation of data makes XDR a highly powerful tool for security analysts.


Microsoft Defender – Microsoft’s XDR Platform

Microsoft Defender stands as Microsoft’s XDR solution, offering the most comprehensive capabilities in the market. Given the widespread use of Microsoft’s productivity software by organisations worldwide, the seamless integration of XDR becomes a significant advantage for these entities.

Microsoft’s XDR solution combines Microsoft 365 Defender, covering email, endpoints, identity, cloud services, apps, and data, with Microsoft Defender for Cloud, providing protection for servers, containers, on-premises, hybrid, and cloud environments, as well as networks and SQL.

By combining the Microsoft Defender XDR platform with Microsoft’s cloud-native SIEM and SOAR solution, Microsoft Sentinel, organisations gain even more advanced capabilities. Find out if you are eligible for a Microsoft funded Defend Against Threats Workshop here.


Benefits of XDR

XDR platforms empower security analysts by providing enhanced threat insights and response capabilities across an organisation’s entire IT infrastructure. Here are some key benefits:


XDR offers correlation of detections from different environments, providing contextual information about threats and attacks. This enables security analysts to conduct thorough forensics and visualisations, gaining a comprehensive understanding of attack patterns and progress in the kill chain.


Advanced Detection

Leading XDR tools leverage advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning to collect and analyse a wide range of signals across the organisation’s technology estate. This enables the identification of complex modern cyber-attacks.



XDR platforms support automated response, allowing for near real-time remediation of vulnerabilities, threats, and active attacks. This reduces the reliance on manual intervention by security analysts. Machine learning algorithms continuously evolve and improve detection capabilities based on telemetry from customers worldwide. Security teams can also create custom automation processes tailored to their specific industry or threat model.


Rapid Response

Automation not only reduces Mean Time To Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time To Respond (MTTR) but also enables security analysts to quickly perform manual response actions. XDR facilitates this by providing a unified interface for investigation and manual action against threats.



XDR platforms offer a “single pane of glass” experience, eliminating the need to navigate between disparate third-party products for threat investigation and remediation. Native integration within an XDR platform allows for combining multiple data sources and aggregating security signals, resulting in fewer incidents and reduced alert fatigue for analysts.



Opting for a holistically integrated XDR suite from a single provider can save costs compared to combining multiple third-party security tools. It offers better capability and ease of management.



XDR tools support security teams in prioritising security incidents based on severity. This allows analysts to focus on the most critical vulnerabilities and threats, increasing productivity and efficiency. Integration with SIEM platforms further enhances incident prioritisation.

Seamless integration into your IT infrastructure

By harnessing the benefits of XDR, organisations can strengthen their security posture and effectively respond to emerging threats. CWSI offers a managed service that provides proactive, day-to-day management of all aspects of your Microsoft 365 Defender platform, enabling you to “Get Secure and Stay Secure.”

Our Team are on hand with platform break-fix support and escalation, advice on complex product queries, execution of standard platform changes and change management of complex changes. Standard business hours and extended hours options are available to suit your business needs. Additionally, we have a partnership with Chorus which allows us to provide an advanced managed security service. This is powered by Microsoft’s cloud native MXDR and SIEM/SOAR technologies, Microsoft 365 Defender and Microsoft Sentinel and delivered via 24x7x365 Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC). If you want to learn more about how we can help you secure your endpoints contact us here.

Content originated from Chorus.