Cortex. The outermost layer of the brain, responsible for thinking and processing information from the senses. Also Palo Alto Networks’ AI-based continuous security operations platform. Just like the cerebral cortex, Cortex XDR is where data is gathered and the intelligent decision making happens. Peter Woest, Westcon EMEA Vendor Manager for Palo Alto Networks explains why the similarities run deeper than just the name.

Cortex is the world’s first extended detection and response platform that runs on integrated endpoint, network and cloud data to reduce the noise and focus on real threats. It’s also the outermost layer of the brain, responsible for thinking and processing information from the senses.

The similarities run deeper than the name. The cerebral cortex is made up of tightly-packed neurons and is the wrinkly, outermost layer that surrounds the brain. It is also responsible for higher thought processes including speech and decision making. It is divided into four lobes – frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital – which process different types of information.

Stop attacks with good data

Just like the cerebral cortex, Palo Alto Network’s Cortex XDR is where data is gathered and the intelligent decision making happens. We all know EDR (endpoint detection and response), but what does XDR mean? The X stands for any data source, which means that Palo Alto Networks can detect and respond to data flowing through the network, the endpoints and the cloud.

Just as in the body, where eyes, hands, nose, tongue and other receptors gather information for the brain to interpret and inform the best course of action, all the firewalls (physical, cloud or virtual, even third-party), endpoints and IoT/OT devices collect data, stored in the Cortex data lake, so Cortex XDR can make the best decision.

High-fidelity detection driven by AI

Stand-alone solutions don’t provide this comprehensive data, opening up gaps in detection and risking anomalies. Legacy point products generate endless alerts with too little context, resulting in slow investigations and missed attacks.

For example, an EDR tool will monitor endpoints, but without data from the firewall and cloud, you won’t make the most intelligent, informed decisions. Think of it as eating something without smelling it first. It could look delicious but taste awful. Smell provides more information from a different sensor so you can make a better decision about whether to eat it or not.

Reduce the noise, focus on real threats

Ever wondered how you can hear what someone is saying at a crowded party? Called the ‘cocktail party effect’, it’s the brain’s ability to focus on a single talker or conversation in a loud environment and ignore other noises and nearby conversations.

In the same way, Cortex XDR applies deep analytics to reduce noise, intelligently group related alerts into incidents, and uncover the stealthiest attacks and biggest threats.

Fuelled by comprehensive data and deep analytics for unified prevention, detection, investigation and response, Cortex XDR is redefining how to find and stop attacks and simplify operations.

Find out more about Cortex XDR

Fun fact: Over time, the human cortex undergoes a process of corticalisation, or wrinkling. This process is due to the amount of knowledge that the human brain accumulates over time. So the more wrinkly your brain, the smarter and more intelligent you are!