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EDR, MDR, XDR - Breaking down the Managed Detection acronyms

Navigating the product landscape is a challenge for many IT departments and security teams, particularly when looking at detection and response solutions, and especially since the entire IT industry is overly reliant on acronyms. EDR, MDR and XDR are three emerging endpoint security technologies built to provide greater visibility, threat detection and response across all endpoints.

But what do they mean, what do they do and why do we need them? Are they replacing anything or adding value to my organisation? Why should I care?

Good questions, we try and answer these below.

With today’s dispersed workforce, and as much as 70% of all breaches still originating on the endpoint, organisations need to secure their endpoints and know when and where there is a problem, IT teams must be able to detect and resolve issues remotely. Users aren’t on another floor anymore, they’re at home or in another country. The IT Security team in not sitting in the SOC, they’re also at home working off a virtual SOC.

So, we need to protect the endpoint. Anti-Virus is no longer an adequate protection against malware as it’s static and malware is highly dynamic. We need better protection and management.

Today, there are a number of solutions to enhance endpoint security, each with their own strengths and increasing levels of protection:

Here’s where it gets tricky. MDR, or Managed Detection and Response is an umbrella term that describes a service.

In layman’s terms, it is a Managed Service Offering. Several products or technologies wrapped with a Managed Service and Detection element can fall under this category.

For Edge7 Networks, both Managed EDR and Extended Detection & Response (XDR) are MDR (Managed) services as they combine a technology with a Managed Service from our SOC.

We have divided it this way for several reasons, the main being choice. While most organisations need an external SOC, some however do not! By offering both EDR technology that allows you to have a DIY-management structure, and Edge7 Networks Managed EDR, we are giving you flexibility and options. At the end of the day, services are here to help your business in the best way we can.

XDR is a combination of cybersecurity data, analytics, tools and information that is monitored and analysed by a SOC in order to provide an ‘extended’ security solution. The goal of XDR is to provide accurate, context-rich alerts to security teams. Given the combination of data and tools, Edge7 Networks only provide XDR with a Managed Service.

Now that we are a little clearer on that: Let’s dive into each of these terms separately, so that we can better understand their capabilities:

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Traditional endpoint security (i.e. Anti-Virus) is reactive and detects potential security threats by matching known signatures and attack patterns. EDR, on the other hand, is predictive and focuses on identifying advanced persistent threats and never-before-seen malware that are designed to evade traditional security defences. Most EDR solutions leverage the combined power of cyber threat intelligence, machine learning capabilities and advanced file analysis to help detect advanced threats.

EDR solutions record and store queries, behaviours and security events, allowing cybersecurity teams to detect and analyse suspicious activities over time. In case of a breach or detection, EDR will contain the malware by isolating it and will understand its behaviour by detonating the malicious file in a safe environment (i.e., sandbox). EDR will also help conduct an extensive root cause analysis and aid with faster incident response.

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2023, more than half of all enterprises will have replaced legacy endpoint security software with EDR solutions.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

MDR is not technology, but a form of managed service delivered by a trusted MSSP (managed security service provider). MDR provides great value to organisations that either have limited resources or lack the expertise to continuously monitor potential attack surfaces. MDR services are not defined by technology, but instead by specific security goals and outcomes.

MDR providers, such as ourselves, can include a host of cybersecurity tools such as endpoint detection, SIEM, network traffic analysis, asset discovery, vulnerability management, intrusion detection and cloud security into an MDR Service. MDR services ensure you have committed access to cybersecurity experts round the clock.

In terms of our service offerings, Edge7 Networks offer two types of MDR Service within our Edge Security Services

  • Managed Endpoint Detection & Response (Managed EDR)

  • Extended Detection & Response (XDR)

Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (Managed EDR)

Edge7 Networks offer both an EDR and Managed EDR service depending on what your organisation requires. As outlined above, EDR, deploys an agent onto each endpoint and gives your IT team access to the agent dashboard to monitor, detect and respond to threats within your own organisation.

Managed EDR is not as commonly used an acronym but fits within the missing space where so many get confused when looking at EDR and MDR. A Managed EDR solution takes the dashboard alert management, monitoring and response service off your hands as a Security Operations Team (SOC) takes care of these, working as an extension of your IT Security Team. It is a Managed Service wrapped around an EDR solution.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

XDR is a more evolved, holistic, cross-platform approach to endpoint detection and response. While EDR collects and correlates activities across multiple endpoints, XDR broadens the scope of detection beyond endpoints and analyses data across endpoints, networks, servers, cloud workloads, SIEM and much more. This provides a unified, single pane of glass view across multiple tools and attack vectors. Out-of-the-box integrations and pre-tuned detection mechanisms across multiple different products and platforms help improve productivity, threat detection and forensics.

XDR sifts through thousands of information logs by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation. The goal of XDR is to provide accurate, context-rich alerts to security teams.

Which solution is ideal for my organisation?

Every organisation’s needs are different. While security is imperative, it is important to select a security service that provides the right level of coverage based on the risk profile of the business.

Choose EDR if your organisation:
  • Wants to improve its endpoint security posture and capabilities beyond next-generation antivirus products

  • Has an IT team that can act on alerts and recommendations produced by the EDR solution

  • Is at the early stages of building a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and wants to establish the foundation for a scalable security architecture

Choose Managed EDR if your organisation:
  • Does not have a mature detection and response program that can rapidly remediate advanced threats through existing tools or resources

  • Wants to introduce new skills and build maturity without hiring additional staff

  • Is struggling to fill skills gaps within the IT team or attract highly skilled, specialised talent

  • Wants protection to stay current on the latest threats targeting organisations

Choose XDR if your organisation:
  • Wants to enhance advanced threat detection

  • Accelerate multi-domain threat analysis, investigation and hunting from a single console

  • Is suffering from alert fatigue across a disconnected or siloed security architecture

  • Wants to improve response time

  • Wants to improve ROI across all security tools

If you are unsure about what your organisation needs, talk to the Edge7 Networks team! We can help discuss your current challenges and requirements, as well as undertaking a complimentary Security Review on your environment to help guide you on creating a comprehensive security strategy. Edge7 Networks offer several other MDR and Security Services to organisations including Remote Access Security and Cloud Security services which can all be integrated with a Managed Service.


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