Cortex XDR: A Frontier in Cybersecurity Defense

Every day you are reminded – from what you hear, what you read, and what you see with your own two eyes – that your organization is facing a rapidly evolving threat landscape. Today’s security solutions tend to be siloed, somehow both overburdened by extraneous alerts and plagued by missed attacks, and lacking the enterprise-wide visibility and deep analytics necessary to prevent serious damage. 


Now, there is a radical new way to eliminate threats – Cortex XDR from the Palo Alto Network (PAN). This is the industry’s first endpoint-based extended detection and response (XDR) platform. With automatic data correlation across multiple security layers, Cortex uses a centralized platform for incident prevention, detection analysis, and response. Cortex continuously monitors threats and responds across cloud, network, and endpoint events, using advanced capabilities such as security agents and next-generation firewalls.

What is Cortex XDR?

So what is XDR? It literally stands for “extended detection and response,” and Cortex XDR is the flagship product of Palo Alto’s AI-Driven Security Operations Platform. AV-Comparatives describes the product as an endpoint prevention and response (EPR) product, whereas Gartner describes it as an endpoint protection platform (EPP). However you name it, Palo Alto Cortex uses an extended detection and response platform to break down security silos by collecting and correlating detections and data across emails, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and network layers.

To be clear, PAN Cortex is more advanced than both traditional antivirus solutions and EDR (endpoint detection and response) platforms. Incorporating next-generation antivirus software and intelligently correlating and analyzing EDR/EPR data puts Cortex a cut above. In the following sections, we will describe how the cyber security solution works, enumerate some key features, and explain why a strategic partnership with Palo Alto and Compuquip is a top value proposition for your company.


Palo Alto Cortex XDR logo

How Cortex XDR Works

With the XDR technology from PAN, you can onboard all your data sources into one location, and from there use AI, analytics, and out-of-the-box rules to detect advanced attacks and allow your team to contain threats swiftly and with ease. The platform automatically produces in-depth analysis of all threats, revealing root cause, reputation, and attack sequences associated with each alert generated from your security information and event management technology (SIEM), and correlates those alerts into incidents, thuse reducing alert fatigue. 

XDR cyber security from Palo Alto uses an endpoint agent, a threat detection analytics engine, and forensic capabilities to ingest third party data. It utilizes both active and passive responses to reduce mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR). Palo Alto Cortex XDR also delivers high levels of customization and interoperability, both with other products in the Cortex Suite and with existing technologies used by IT and SOC teams. All of this makes it a highly valuable addition to your security architecture.

Key Features of Cortex XDR

The Cortex XDR architecture has a wide range of functionality that provides unprecedented visibility across your entire environment. Through a combination of cross-data analytics, coordinated incident management, XQL-powered hunting, and detailed forensics, Cortex truly lives up to its promise of extended threat detection and response. Read below to learn more about three key areas in which the Palo Alto Cortex suite shines – behavioral analytics, security tools integration, and unknown threat detection.

Behavioral Analytics

  • Using machine learning and AI, Cortex profiles endpoint and network behavior to detect anomalous activity and produce comprehensive user behavior analytics (UBA). Its Behavioral Threat Protection engine analyzes multiple related processes to uncover attacks as they occur. Moreover, the Identity Analytics add-on uses advanced data collection to defend against malicious insiders, continuously updating its data to protect against identity threats and data breaches all across the attack life cycle. This functionality can be a tremendous boon to your managed SOC framework.

Security Tools Integration

  • One of the most ingenious and effective capabilities of the XDR architecture is its power to integrate data from any source, including other threat intelligence solutions, Slack, computer syslogs, and network traffic analysis tools. With intelligent alert grouping and scoring, cross-data insights accelerate incident investigations and allow you to uncover even the stealthiest threats. Endpoint data is dynamically integrated with third-party alerts to stop the spread of malware in real time, and update rolling prevention lists of bad domains. Of course, XDR also offers seamless integration with other Cortex Suite products, such as Cortex XSOAR, XSIAM, and XPANSE, as well as Palo Alto Networks WildFire malware analysis service. 

Unknown Threat Detection

  • An unknown cyber threat (or zero-day threat) is considered malicious code which has never been seen before, and for many security frameworks, these threats are considered too new or too rare to be meaningfully managed before any damage is done. Even “recycled” threats or modifications of existing code can be overlooked by exploiting the limited memory and slow responsiveness of some security products. 

    XDR can deal with all unknown threats with the new Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) Module. This technology can ferret out internal saboteurs, data thieves, and fraudsters, plus identify other hard-to-spot threats such as lateral movement and credential compromise. In an uncertain and evolving threat landscape in which nearly half of all cyber attacks contain previously unknown elements, nothing could be more essential than Unknown Threat Detection.


Compuquip has a strategic enterprise partnership program with Palo Alto, and our experts are standing by to help your organization illuminate hitherto unseen silos, vulnerabilities, and threats within your cyber security architecture. Palo Alto’s fleet of tools is designed to streamline discovery and reaction time, and the innovative approach to endpoint and network response employed by Cortex XDR is second to none. Want to learn more? Reach out to Compuquip for a Cortex demo today.