XDR versus SIEM 

When designing a security infrastructure, many acronyms need to be addressed, and it can be difficult to find a solution that can cover all of them. The two most common security solutions are XDR and SIEM. These two solutions are different, they are designed for different purposes with different goals, but they have some overlapping capabilities. Before explaining the difference between them we need to know them first. 

What is XDR 

XDR (Extended Detection and Response) is a new threat detection and response approach that protects against cyberattacks. It combines prevention, detection, and investigation, providing extended visibility, analysis, and response across all data, including endpoints, networks, and workloads. 

XDR Capabilities 

XDR solutions, like Defender for Cloud on Azure, perform the following functions: 

  • Data Collection: XDR solutions collect data from various data sources and aggregate it for security analysis.
  • Data Analysis: XDR Solutions use AI, ML, and threat intelligence to analyze collected data.
  • Alert Triage: XDR solutions have the ability to minimize false alerts by prioritizing security alerts.

XDR Vendors 

Below is an example of tools that offer XDR: 

  • Defender for Cloud
  • CrowdStrike
  • Trend Micro
  • Rapid7
  • Cynet

What is SIEM 

SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) is a security management system that combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) functions into one security management system. The solution is a set of tools and services offering a detailed view of an organization’s

information security. It helps SOC analysts to collect and analyze log data from all data sources. SIEM tools can help the security team provide the following: 

  • A central view of potential threats. 
  • Real-time visibility across the organization’s environment.
  • Advanced threat intelligence 
  • Automation to improve cyber security. 
  • Regulatory compliance auditing and reporting

SIEM Capabilities 

SIEM solutions are important because they enable organizations to manage security by filtering massive amounts of security data and prioritizing the security alerts the software generates.

SIEM solutions, like MS Sentinel on Azure, perform the following functions: 

  • Data Collection: like XDR, SIEM tools collect data from many data sources across the organization.
  • Aggregation and Analytics: SIEM tools aggregate and normalize collected data. They use data analytics, ML, and AI to extract useful intelligence from collected data.
  • Alerting and Reporting: SIEMs provide alerts and reports to the security team and help them to minimize false positives and give alerts on real threats.

SIEM Vendors 

Below is an example of tools that offer SIEM: 

  • MS Sentinel
  • Splunk
  • IBM QRadar
  • LogPoint
  • ArcSight Enterprise Security Management
  • McAfee Enterprise Security Manager

XDR vs SIEM: What is the difference? 

As we can see, XDR and SIEM are both designed to improve organizations’ threat management capabilities. They share similar functions, collecting, aggregating, and analyzing security data. But XDR and SIEM are different. 

The key difference between XDR and SIEM: 

  • Core Focus: SIEM tools offer centralized log management and analysis, while XDR focuses on using collected data to improve threat detection and response. 
  • Management Complexity: SIEM solutions required more interaction and management to connect them to data sources and tune their alerts. XDR solutions are built to integrate seamlessly with organizations’ environments and provide useful alerts and recommendations. 
  • Response Capabilities: SIEM solutions focus on data analysis, they provide SOC analysts with data and alerts to identify potential threats to the organization’s environment. XDR solutions use data analysis capabilities to provide the ability to support and coordinate responses.

Can XDR replace SIEM? 

The short answer is “NO”, both tools have similar functions, but each tool has separate security functions that help organizations to improve and enhance their security systems. While XDR offers enhanced security protection and threat detection, SIEM offers complete log management, compliance, and auditing. 

Both tools are important for organizations to strengthen their security architecture.

Helpful Links

What is XDR

What is SIEM


About the author

Mohammad Ossaimee is a Senior Cloud Architect at Cloudreach, an Atos company.  Mohammad has been in the IT industry for over 20 years with a record of successfully identifying key solution gaps, business and project impacts, creative solutions to ensure delivery of projects on time and within budget, and leading large, complex, and global IT infrastructure deployments. Primary focus on Azure cloud services, which include architectural design, and implementing services to optimize architecture processes for changing business demands.