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SOAR and XDR: Buzzword or Buzz-Worthy Security Tech?

Discover the differences between these two security technologies, and the important ways they complement one another. 

Enterprise information security is a data-centric discipline. One of the main challenges to securing an entire organization is retrieving, analyzing, and communicating security event data effectively. 

It’s an enormous and challenging task. Enterprise devices may generate tens or hundreds of thousands of security events per day. In order to conduct any kind of meaningful investigation into those events, analysts need to be able to sort and categorize them in a way that supports a coherent narrative. 

Building that narrative requires navigating dozens of different cybersecurity technologies. 

The average large organization uses more than 45 different cybersecurity tools. In this environment, tracking the evolution of an active cyberattack in a timely manner simply isn’t feasible. 

To address this issue, security vendors have released a variety of tools that help analysts aggregate and analyze security events automatically. Security orchestration and response (SOAR) solutions and extended detection and response (XDR) products both play important roles in bringing fragmented security tech stacks together. 

SOAR and XDR: Similar in Scope but Not in Practice 

Based on their definitions, SOAR and XDR technologies look very similar to one another. Here’s how Gartner defines the two terms:  

  • SOAR is a collection of technologies that “enable organizations to collect inputs monitored by the security operations team.” 
  • XDR is a “SaaS-based, vendor-specific security threat detection and incident response tool that natively integrates multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system.” 

This makes it sound like the two technologies do the same thing but in different ways. Where SOAR automates the collection of security event data from across multiple tools and vendors, XDR uses a preset configuration of technologies to achieve the same result. 

These definitions might lead to the conclusion that enterprise security teams only need one technology or the other. In truth, it’s not an either/or decision. SOAR and XDR technologies can complement one another in valuable ways when properly implemented and configured. 

The Main Differences Between SOAR and XDR 

SOAR platforms improve incident remediation efforts by enabling security teams to set playbooks, customize alerts, and automate security incident response measures.  

They do this by enriching event data and providing visibility and control into the entire security tech stack in ways that XDR systems are not designed to do. Log management and compliance are important parts of this process. 

As the newer of the two technologies, XDR presents more streamlined and centralized detection and response capabilities. It integrates a wide range of tools, analytics, and remediation capabilities, but does not include the log management or compliance capabilities that SOAR relies on to enrich data and drive insight. 

Maximize Security Effectiveness: Deploy SOAR and XDR Solutions that Complement One Another 

Security-conscious business leaders understand the value of compliant log management and reporting as well as the importance of efficient, organization-wide detection and response capabilities. Enterprises that deploy industry-leading SOAR and XDR solutions and integrate them with one another are better positioned to respond to a security landscape marked by uncertainty. 

  • Palo Alto Cortex XDR is an advanced XDR solution that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver accurate, timely data on attack activity throughout the network. This gives analysts the ability to quickly isolate compromised endpoints and terminate unauthorized processes in response to suspicious activities. 
  • Castra MXDR Enterprise provides scalable, customized security services that rely on Exabeam for core SOAR functionality and behavioral analytics. This service includes the expert creation of customized security rules designed to address threats unique to your organization’s risk profile. 

Combine these two approaches to enable robust, scalable security for your enterprise and its partners and users. With XDR and SOAR solutions working together, IT leaders can position their organizations for stable, secure growth despite the challenges of today’s security environment. 

 

Talk with a Castra representative about how to best utilize SOAR and XDR for your business.