EDR is a tool that is implemented to protect a particular terminal, while MDR is a service that provides security monitoring and management throughout an organization's entire IT environment. An MDR vendor may include EDR solutions as part of its toolkit, and comparing MDR to EDR is not a “one or the other” option. The EDR usually supports the efforts of an in-house security team. MDR is a third-party service that allows you to outsource all security efforts.
In this case, the MDR provides analysis, maintenance, and response to security events. The MDR can also provide support to internal teams during important events that require more hands-on experience. Evaluators should also carefully evaluate potential MDR candidates to understand their capabilities in more detail. In general, the MDR can help organizations that may not have the budget or staff available to create an internal SOC on their own.
The shortcomings of MDR and EDR help explain why extended detection and response (XDR) (and managed XDR as an extension) are causing such a stir. MDR engineers gain experience in protecting many different types of clients and environments so that they can quickly and effectively apply that experience to all customers. For some, a managed security service provider (MSSP) may be a better option than an MDR service provider, although the difference between the two may vary from provider to provider. As a managed service, MDR frees up time so IT and security teams can focus on strategic initiatives that support business objectives.
The above key criteria form the basis of the decision tree between EDR, MDR and XDR at the conceptual level. While they are closely related, there are several important differences, not to mention the more subtle nuances that differentiate their approaches to security. EDR, MDR and XDR sound similar, but the differences between these acronyms are significant, although they are not immediately clear to many. In addition, MDR offerings have limited capacity to correlate threat telemetry for all network assets, limiting the ability to detect and respond to threats at the earliest stages of an attack.
Take managed detection and response (MDR) as an example, which provides intelligence based monitoring and detection capabilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as a service to customers. Some MDR solutions don't consider network-based or cloud-based threats and only offer visibility into a single set of data. In addition, the size and usage of the CPU due to different technologies can be important. For many organizations, having a tool (EDR or XDR) and a service (MDR) is the best option for obtaining sufficient coverage.
MDR analysts and other cybersecurity experts can use the data collected by the EDR system, as well as the capabilities it provides, to more easily assess the threat and respond quickly and appropriately.