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Optimize your cyber operations program with Difenda, the 2023 Microsoft Security Impact Award Winner. Difenda’s MXDR for IT offering is a Microsoft Verified MXDR Solution.

Difenda’s SecOps-as-a-Service cornerstone offering, Managed Extended Detection & Response (MXDR) for IT, provides world-class Microsoft Sentinel + XDR platform integrated threat detection and response services. As part of the service, customers benefit from Difenda AIRO, an automated triage and response engine backed by our 24x7x365 ISO27001, SOC II Type 2 and PCI Certified Cyber Command Center (C3) team for around-the-clock protection.

Difenda MXDR for IT is designed to support ongoing cyber program maturity and reduce loads on internal teams. We use iterative processes to help customers tune configurations to enhance proactive controls and reduce alert volume.


Built for Microsoft Security Customers

Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR)

In the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape, both threats and defenses are increasingly powered by advanced artificial intelligence. Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR) stands out as an essential strategy. MXDR represents a proactive, comprehensive approach to security that integrates a variety of tools and processes to detect, analyze, and respond to threats across an organization’s entire digital footprint. This holistic approach is particularly vital in today’s environment, where AI-enhanced cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and elusive.

Microsoft’s security ecosystem, including tools like Microsoft Defender and Microsoft Sentinel, plays a pivotal role in enabling effective MXDR strategies. Microsoft Defender provides robust endpoint security, utilizing AI to predict, detect, and neutralize threats swiftly. Meanwhile, Microsoft Sentinel, as a scalable, cloud-native Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system, extends these capabilities. It not only aggregates data across all users, devices, applications, and infrastructure, both on-premises and in multiple clouds, but also uses sophisticated analytics to identify potential security incidents. Together, these tools form a comprehensive defense matrix, ensuring that organizations can anticipate risks, mitigate threats in real-time, and maintain resilience against the increasingly complex cyber-attacks facilitated by AI technologies on the adversary side. This integration of Microsoft’s security tools within the MXDR framework ensures a fortified, intelligent defense mechanism, tailored to the dynamic nature of today’s cyber threat landscape.

What is MXDR?

Extended Detection and Response, commonly abbreviated as XDR is defined by Gartner as a SaaS-based, vendor-specific threat detection and incident response tool that integrates multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system by unifying all licensed components.

MXDR, Managed XDR or Managed Extended Detection and Response, combines technology, analytics, and human expertise to proactively monitor, detect, and respond to security threats across an organization’s entire digital environment.

It is a 24/7 monitoring and response approach that extends beyond traditional endpoints to include networks, cloud services, and applications, offering a more comprehensive security posture.

It is designed to protect organizations from any cyber threat it may face by providing threat hunting services and access to essential cyber security tools and resources.


How MXDR Works

Implementation and Integration

The initial phase of MXDR involves setting up Microsoft Security technologies tailored to the specific needs of the organization. This setup includes integrating Sentinel log sources and developing custom connectors for log data, analytic rules, and automated response playbooks. By ensuring a seamless flow of security event data from SaaS and cloud service providers into Microsoft Sentinel and Difenda Shield, MXDR establishes a solid foundation for real-time threat awareness.

Comprehensive Data Collection

Key to the MXDR operation is the integration of security alerts from various sources such as endpoints, servers, and vulnerability assessment tools into the Difenda Shield. This integration allows for a centralized view of all security threats, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of the detection and response processes.

Continuous Monitoring and Response

Organizations benefit from MXDR’s 24/7 cybersecurity monitoring services, which are complemented by customized platform engineering and Configuration Management Database (CMDB) integration. This continuous vigilance is maintained under a unified management console, enabling businesses to remain agile and well-prepared against potential cyber threats. 

Four-Step Methodology

Difenda MXDR employs a structured four-step methodology that encompasses threat profiling, detection, hunting, and response. This approach not only facilitates precise threat identification and mitigation but also aligns with organizational goals through targeted asset classification and use case development.

Cyber Research and Simulation

At the core of the MXDR strategy is the Difenda Labs environment, where the Cyber Research and Response team engages in continuous simulation of attack scenarios. These simulations are based on the latest cyber tactics and techniques, with successful attack patterns being translated into actionable detection and response strategies. This agile and adaptive approach ensures that the defenses are always up-to-date and effective against the latest threats.

What is the difference between XDR and MDR?

Both MDR and XDR provide organizations with tools and personnel for threat hunting and incident management. Both solutions act to augment an organization’s existing cybersecurity capabilities and respond to threats faster.

Managed XDR or MXDR extends the MDR framework into the endpoint; effectively providing visibility into the entire security environment and all its attack surfaces. MXDR includes the ability to correlate telemetry data across the network to deploy a cohesive real-time response to identified threats across the security network.

What is the difference between XDR and EDR?

Today, XDR represents an evolution of Endpoint Detection Response (EDR) that provides security teams with more information from the security environment, beyond just the endpoint.

EDR is focused on providing in-depth visibility and threat prevention for a particular device to protect each endpoint. XDR takes a wider view, integrating security across an organization’s endpoints, servers, cloud applications, emails, and more. While EDR is a necessary and effective solution to protect an organization’s endpoints, XDR is designed to provide integrated visibility and threat management within a single solution to consolidate the security environment and remove silos within the network.

What Are the Benefits of MXDR?

Increased Visibility

MXDR breaks through visibility barriers, offering a fuller understanding of the security environment. It illuminates relationships between alerts and incidents, so security teams can spend less time investigating threats. Difenda MXDR allows you to streamline your cybersecurity response and improve your data reporting capabilities for a broader view of the threat landscape.

Proactive Threat Detection

MXDR identifies threats in real time and deploys automated remediations or remediation suggestions, minimizing the gap between the speed of compromise and speed of detection.

Incident Prioritization

MXDR solutions evaluate incidents and provide weighted assessments to prioritize remediation and recommend actions aligned with a business’ custom requirements.

Faster Response Times

Access to a 24/7/365 SOC with real-time threat monitoring and reporting capabilities allows your team to receive alerts faster.

Automation Capabilities

Better Protection of Sensitive Data Stored in Cloud or Hybrid Environments

Experienced MXDR providers will run simulated attacks within your organization’s critical infrastructure. Leveraging a purple team approach to identify hidden threats, MXDR will build use cases, and deploy updates to SIEM platforms. All of these processes help to mitigate risk within your cloud environment and draw real-time data for you to track assets within your network.

Dedicated Support and Alert Management

MXDR reduces the amount of time internal security teams spend manually investigating threats. Correlated alerts streamline notifications and reduce noise in analyst inboxes. This increases efficiency and provides a more complete picture of the incident. With MXDR’s dedicated account teams, we ensure your desired outcomes are always in focus. MXDR reduces the amount of time analysts spend investigating threats by correlating alerts to streamline notifications and reduce noise.


How does Managed XDR work with SIEM?

Microsoft XDR complements existing enterprise security information and event management (SIEM) systems like Microsoft Sentinel. Primarily, SIEM technology aggregates large quantities of shallow data and identifies security threats but cannot respond to or remediate threats. SIEMs typically require manual responses to anomalous behaviors. XDR takes advantage of the data SIEMs make available and offers automated response capabilities to protect against threats.

How MXDR Integrates with Microsoft Security Tools

Difenda MXDR closely integrates Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, and Microsoft Sentinel with 24/7/365 advanced threat hunting and detection for a unified SecOps environment. Microsoft’s leading technology empowers Difenda MXDR to provide unmatched visibility across hardware, software, and network devices to create a comprehensive view of a business’s cybersecurity posture in one single platform to minimize the gap between the speed of compromise and speed of detection.

Difenda’s MXDR service component AIRO, our Automated Incident Response and Orchestration engine, is built on native Microsoft Sentinel playbook automation and integrates with customer Sentinel instances. It leverages threat enrichment, auto triage, incident scoring, auto-response and service synchronization while using all the Defender XDR and other Microsoft Security technologies to help customers integrate our services into their security operations processes.

Can XDR replace antivirus?

XDR (Extended Detection and Response) and traditional antivirus software serve different, but related, security functions within an IT environment.

Antivirus software is typically focused on detecting and removing malware from individual systems. It operates based on known virus definitions and heuristic rules. Its approach is more reactive, dealing with threats once they have been identified. XDR is a more comprehensive security solution that extends beyond just antivirus capabilities. It integrates various security products into a unified platform that provides visibility across networks, endpoints, servers, cloud services, and applications.

Rather than replacing antivirus, XDR is designed to complement and enhance it. XDR systems can utilize the basic malware detection capabilities of antivirus software and build upon them with more sophisticated analytics and threat intelligence.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is part of the Defender suite and provides basic malware protection, Microsoft Defender XDR expands on this by analyzing the behavior across the network to detect more sophisticated attacks that may not involve malware, such as insider threats or advanced persistent threats (APTs).

Choosing the Right MXDR Service Provider

Know the key questions to ask to ensure your are choosing the right MXDR service provider for you.

What Microsoft certifications have you earned and what partnership tiers have you attained?

Look for: A provider that is a verified Microsoft Solutions Partner for Security at a minimum and holds at least one advanced specialization such as Cloud Security or Threat Protection.

Are you Microsoft Security focused or do you support multiple technologies?

Look for: A provider that is Microsoft Security focused, showing dedication to mastering expertise in your current ecosystem.

What data compliance regulations do your processes support?

Look for: A provider that understands your specific compliance requirements and builds compliance into their core processes.

Microsoft MXDR – Verified XDR Solution Status

Microsoft’s XDR platform provides a solution for modern security challenges such as the integration of multi-cloud hybrid security environments. Microsoft XDR broadens the scope of security while eliminating silos by integrating protection across an organization’s endpoints, servers, cloud applications, emails, and more. From there, Microsoft XDR solutions combine threat prevention, detection, investigation, and threat response, providing visibility, analytics, and automated responses to mitigate the risk of cyber threats.

Microsoft verified MXDR partner solutions provide 24/7/365 managed security operations center (SoC) services, including advanced hunting, customer detection, response, and remediation across the Microsoft unified XDR product portfolio. This portfolio includes Microsoft Sentinel (formerly Azure Senitnel), Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft 365 Defender.

Microsoft-verified MXDR solutions, like Difenda MXDR, must pass an extensive validation and verification process including:

  • Proven end-to-end process starting with around-the-clock incident monitoring
  • Provide onboarding services that include turning on Microsoft security products
  • Provide ingestion of incident data across Microsoft security portfolio, create custom detections, and perform manual or automated response actions
  • Provide setup, ongoing monitoring, response, and management services for Microsoft Sentinel


What Challenges Does Managed Extended Detection and Response Solve?

Complex and Evolving Cyber Threats

MXDR services are designed to detect advanced threats such as ransomware, phishing, and zero-day exploits. By constantly updating and adapting to new cyber tactics and techniques, MXDR helps organizations stay one step ahead of attackers.

Access to Skilled Professionals

MXDR services provide organizations with access to a pool of experienced security experts who are skilled in the latest threat detection and response techniques. This not only enhances the security posture but also alleviates the need for extensive in-house training and recruitment.

Resource Limitations

Cyberattacks can occur at any time, including nights, weekends, and holidays, when IT staff may not be actively monitoring systems. MXDR services ensure that threat detection systems are always active, scanning for and identifying potential threats around the clock.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

MXDR helps maintain compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS by ensuring that security measures and protocols are up to date and effective. MXDR providers often offer detailed reporting and audit trails, which are invaluable during compliance reviews.

Alert Fatigue

MXDR utilizes advanced analytics and machine learning to filter out noise and prioritize alerts that require attention. This not only improves the efficiency of the response teams but also reduces the chances of missing a genuine threat.

Cost Efficiency

Building and maintaining an in-house security operations center (SOC) can be prohibitively expensive. MXDR services offer a cost-effective alternative by providing extensive security operations at a fraction of the cost of an internal SOC.

How Does Managed XDR Help Maximize Microsoft Security Tools?

Being a Microsoft-Only cybersecurity company, maximizing your Microsoft Security investment to drive superior outcomes is our goal. Difenda MXDR is rooted in Microsoft’s robust security and collaboration suite, empowering you to unlock critical functionalities and elevate value, to ultimately optimize your ROI.

Difenda MXDR is designed to be flexible and scalable, meeting you precisely where you are in your cybersecurity journey. As you integrate additional Microsoft Security technologies, our system, empowered by Difenda AIRO, evolves—enhancing its ability to detect threats, prioritize cyber incidents, assign threat levels, and respond swiftly, ensuring that you can defend with confidence.

Combined with our dedicated 24x7x365 ISO27001, SOC II Type 2 and PCI Certified Cyber Command Center (C3) team, this approach is pivotal in preventing, detecting, and responding to cyber threats effectively.

Maximizing Microsoft Security

How is Difenda’s solution unique?

Difenda MXDR for IT offers the latest in Microsoft’s extended detection and response (XDR) technology—allowing organizations of all sizes to benefit from a world-class cybersecurity program that’s built for scale, and integration-ready from day one. Difenda’s solution is unique because:

  • Difenda MXDR is designed to support ongoing cyber program maturity and reduce loads on internal teams. We use iterative processes to help customers tune configurations to enhance proactive controls and reduce alert volume.
  • Real-time insights are generated through our Difenda Shield Analytics platform, providing cyber security leaders with the data points and dashboards required to drive cyber strategy.
  • Difenda AIRO can consolidate all alert information in one place in under two minutes, assign a verdict based on security inputs to reduce false positives, automatically enroll account compromise playbooks and isolate an endpoint without any manual interaction.
  • Difenda MXDR for IT seamlessly integrates with MXDR for OT services, ensuring comprehensive service delivery across both IT and OT environments, ensuring that any actions taken on the Difenda side do not impact critical OT systems and associated business processes.

How MXDR is Changing with AI

With the Introduction of AI technologies such as Microsoft Copilot for Security and Difenda AIRO, MXDR services are changing. Beyond monitoring and detection, MXDR services now hold the power to enable your internal teams to act faster, smarter and at more advanced levels.

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning into MXDR solutions is expanding the horizons of both the efficacy and efficiency of these services.

Here’s how AI is transforming MXDR:

  1. Enhanced Detection Capabilities:
    AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data from various sources at a speed and accuracy that humans cannot match. For example, Difenda AIRO assigns a verdict based on alert data to reduce false positives and keep your team focused on serious threats.
  2. Automated Response:
    AI enables automated responses to detected threats, significantly reducing the time it takes to mitigate a threat. For instance, with Difenda AIRO and Microsoft Copilot for Security you can automatically enroll incident response playbooks when alerts meet specific criteria.
  3. Integration and Coordination:
    AI helps in correlating data across different sources and tools, enhancing the ability to detect complex multi-vector attacks that span across different layers of infrastructure. For example, Difenda AIRO can consolidate all alert information in one place in under two minutes.
  4. Continuous Learning and Adaptation:
    AI systems can continuously learn from new data from additional technologies, threats, and incident responses. This learning improves their accuracy and effectiveness over time, allowing them to adapt to the evolving tactics used by cyber attackers.
  5. Scalability and Cost Efficiency:
    AI can handle an increasing amount of work without proportional increases in resources, thus allowing organizations to scale their security operations efficiently. This scalability is valuable in managing the security of expanding cloud environments and increasing endpoints.

MXDR Service Features

  • Threat Profiling:
    Gain a thorough understanding of your organization’s attack surface, critical infrastructure, sensitive data, and operational processes with full visibility into your threat landscape.
  • Threat Defense:
    Leverage Microsoft’s AI-powered endpoint detection & response (EDR) technology to prevent, contain, and remediate attacks from all threat vectors before, during, and after execution.
  • Threat Hunting:
    Collect, analyze, and detect threats by combining Microsoft’s security incident and event management (SIEM) technologies and Difenda’s threat hunting teams.
  • Threat Response:
    Contain threats faster with 24/7/365 managed threat investigation and response. Difenda MXDR for IT customers get access to preferred rates for our remote incident response, giving you an immediate defense strategy to mitigate potential breaches.
  • Threat Intelligence:
    Access industry-leading threat intelligence (powered by Anomali) to improve your detection capabilities, receive proactive bulletins for potential threats, discover recent global attack campaigns in your industry, and leverage insights from our threat library through our C3 team.
  • Dashboards and Analytics:
    Stay protected with access to insights that go far beyond reporting offered by traditional Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). Drive informed decision making with full visibility into your security processes and technology.

Why Partner with Difenda?


Microsoft Defender Q&A

What does Microsoft Defender do?

Microsoft Defender, formerly known as Windows Defender, serves as a comprehensive security solution that protects devices against malware, viruses, and other cyber threats. It offers real-time protection, cloud-delivered protection, and rapid threat detection and response capabilities. Additionally, Microsoft Defender includes features such as firewall protection, network protection, and phishing and ransomware defense, making it a robust tool for safeguarding both individual and enterprise-level IT environments.

What is Microsoft Defender and how does it work?

Microsoft Defender is an antivirus and security software developed by Microsoft, providing protection against a variety of cyber threats.

It works by continuously scanning the computer for malicious software, phishing attacks, and other threats. Defender uses signature-based detection, which involves comparing potential threats against a database of known issues, and behavior-based detection, which monitors device behavior for suspicious activities. It also utilizes Microsoft’s cloud-based services for dynamic threat intelligence to enhance its detection capabilities and response strategies.

Will Microsoft Defender integrate with my company's existing tools?

Yes, Microsoft Defender is designed to integrate seamlessly with a wide range of tools and platforms including, Microsoft 365 and Azure, as well as various third-party solutions outside of the Microsoft Security ecosystem. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, for instance, offers APIs that facilitate integration with existing security SIEM systems, threat intelligence platforms, and other security operations tools.

What is the difference between Windows Defender and Microsoft Defender?

The primary difference between Windows Defender and Microsoft Defender lies in their scope and evolution. Windows Defender was originally released as a spyware removal tool and later expanded into a full antivirus program, exclusively for Windows operating systems. As Microsoft’s approach to security evolved, Windows Defender was rebranded as Microsoft Defender to reflect its broader scope, which now includes advanced threat protection features not only for Windows but also for other platforms like macOS, iOS, and Android. Additionally, Microsoft Defender has expanded to offer more comprehensive security solutions tailored to enterprise needs, such as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and Microsoft Defender for Office 365, highlighting its transition from a basic antivirus to a more sophisticated, multi-platform security solution.

Microsoft Sentinel Q&A

What is Microsoft Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel is a scalable, cloud-native Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) solution. It operates within the Azure platform and is designed to provide integrated security management for both Microsoft and third-party cloud and on-premises solutions. Microsoft Sentinel leverages the power of big data and AI to analyze large volumes of data across an enterprise, helping to detect, investigate, and respond to security threats in real-time.

What does Microsoft Sentinel do?

Microsoft Sentinel performs several key functions to enhance an organization’s security posture:

  • Threat Detection: It uses advanced analytics and machine learning to identify threats and suspicious activities across the user’s entire environment.
  • Alert Management: Sentinel aggregates and prioritizes alerts from various sources, helping to reduce alert fatigue and focus on the most critical issues.
  • Visualizations and Dashboards: Customizable dashboards provide real-time insights into an organization’s security status, helping to monitor trends and improve defenses.

Is Microsoft Sentinel a SIEM?

Yes, Microsoft Sentinel is a SIEM system, with the added capabilities of SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response). As a SIEM, it collects and aggregates log data generated throughout an organization’s technology infrastructure, from host systems and applications to network equipment and cloud services. It analyzes this data to identify potential security incidents and manage alerts. The SOAR components enhance its functionality by allowing automated response to security incidents, thus streamlining the threat resolution process.

Is Microsoft Sentinel included in E5?

Microsoft Sentinel is not included as a standard component of the Microsoft 365 E5 subscription, which primarily covers productivity apps and other enterprise services such as advanced security for Office apps and Windows 10/11. However, Sentinel can be accessed and used as part of an Azure subscription. Costs for Microsoft Sentinel are based on the volume of data ingested for analysis in Sentinel and the storage used for this data in Azure. Therefore, while Sentinel itself is not included in the E5 package, organizations with E5 can leverage their existing infrastructure to integrate with Sentinel for a unified security management approach.