2 May 2024 - Ian Wharton, Technical Architect at Principle Networks

Managed XDR - What's Trending

The market for network services has evolved rapidly over the last two to three years, as Cloud adoption and remote working have disrupted traditional network and network security architecture(s).

Where previously a network specialist like Principle might have centred our conversations on technologies such as MPLS, SD-WAN, circuits, routers, switches and firewalls, we’re finding that in 2023, our conversations are increasingly focused on access, authentication, identity, Data Protection and Compliance.

As a result, it is now impossible to approach network architecture without understanding our customers’ broader cybersecurity posture. For that reason, Principle have taken steps to expand our partner network and solutions portfolio to ensure that we can offer our customers a full and comprehensive range of network and network security services that deliver performant, resilient and secure connectivity, from the user to the application.

However, the market for cybersecurity technologies and services can be a minefield, bursting at the seams with marketing jargon, buzzwords, ambulance-chasers and over-promisers. Thankfully, we’re here to help our customers cut through the noise and deliver the most-appropriate network architecture, secured in a manner which best meets the requirements of the modern Enterprise.

This will involve running an increased number of educational seminars, webinars and partner events, as well as publishing more content aimed at demystifying the latest and greatest in cyber technologies.


Managed XDR

Managed XDR has caught my attention this week. The IT industry has more than enough TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) and security must have been feeling left out because we seem to have had plenty recently. From EDR, XDR, MDR and now MXDR (is this a FLA?). I’m sure that I’m missing a few examples where some vendor has tried to hop on the XDR bandwagon but eventually I lose interest. MXDR has got it back though and I really think this could be a massive deal for smaller enterprises.

Vendors are desperately developing solutions which include some element of detection and response but my interest is in the Managed element of some of these products.

Managed detection and response (MDR) services provide customers with remotely delivered security operations center (SOC) functions. These functions allow organisations to rapidly detect, analyse, investigate and actively respond through threat disruption and containment. Typically though these services cover endpoint security services and are based on a specific Endpoint client.

As a general point, I’m massively in favour of these services. The main risk to our internal services comes from compromised endpoints but the management and the security of these is a big overhead to a small IT team. Outsourcing that management relieves a lot of that effort.

However, there is still a gap. The endpoint isn’t everything. Businesses have a plethora of information and logging sources which can give clues to security breaches and risks beyond the network.

Larger businesses have built SOC teams and complex SIEM and SOAR systems the operation of which, while offering great protection, comes at significant cost.

MXDR though aims to combine a managed endpoint solution along with integration into other network and security systems (via APIs) to give a much more detailed insight into the network security.

I’ve thought for a while that one of the real potential benefits of AI will be in the identification of threats through identifying patterns in massive amounts of logging data. These MXDR services, leveraging as they do, the power of cloud computing will develop and improve to offer more effective security for businesses and the key point for me – the scale of the service and the potential automation and integration will mean that effective and comprehensive managed security will be available to businesses of all sizes.

My advice to customers looking to enhance their security would be to understand where integration of systems is possible for these MXDR systems so that they end up with comprehensive coverage – and a more restful nights sleep.