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EDR vs MDR vs XDR Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Tools: EDR vs MDR vs XDR

Let’s Clear Up Common Misconceptions About Cybersecurity Tools

The intended audience of this blog includes business owners, executives, IT managers, IT engineers and those curiously interested in IT. We seek to provide you with the latest IT knowledge and insights from our behind-the-scenes experience. We provide this information to help you manage the specific costs and risks of IT in your business. 

In our world today, data is our most valuable resource. Your organization’s information and technology assets need to be properly managed and protected from external threats. When it comes to cybersecurity the pace of innovation is swiftly increasing. The threat actors are becoming more skilled and the tools to thwart attacks are becoming ever more numerous.

Most executives, procurement teams, and even IT professionals fail to understand the intricacies of the various cybersecurity tools that have entered the market. The acronyms alone are enough to bewilder most executives, but often the companies utilizing the acronyms attribute different meanings and features to the different terms to chase the latest popularity within the market. As a result, procuring cybersecurity tools is incredibly difficult for the majority of organizations that lack the technical knowledge to understand the complexities of the offerings and the real benefits that can be realized from each tool or service.

This general confusion has resulted in millions of dollars of misappropriated funds. Companies make purchases putting their faith behind the best salesmen, or the solution most amicable to their budget, but often fail to identify the solution that will provide the protection and detection capabilities they seek. Increasingly companies are motivated to ‘check-the-box’ to maintain their cyber insurance policy or to meet the latest compliance standards applicable to their business. These external motivations force many organizations to push through the procurement cycle without fully understanding how each cybersecurity tool or service will protect them in the occurrence of an actual breach. As a result, many organizations are building a cybersecurity defense they don’t understand.

At Advanticom, we see firsthand that many organizations are adding in new tools and services without a holistic cybersecurity plan. Companies have accumulated extensive cybersecurity stacks in the belief that they’ve built an expensive layered defense to protect their organization, they’ve checked all the boxes, but many have amassed disparate tools and services that can’t talk to each other and fail to respond cohesively when a security incident occurs.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so we would like to take a moment to share our knowledge and help deepen the collective understanding of all these services that an organization can choose from. Now to prevent you from having to make flashcards, we’ll limit our focus and help you walk away with a full understanding of three popular cybersecurity services: EDR vs MDR vs XDR.

EDR, MDR, and XDR are acronyms that stand for:

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a technology-based solution that is deployed on endpoint devices (laptops, desktops, and servers) that combines real-time continuous monitoring and analytics to prevent file-based malware attacks, detect malicious activity, and provide automated investigation and remediation capabilities.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is EDR with an outsourced human component. Most organizations lack the internal security expertise to effectively manage an EDR solution. MDR outsources the workload of threat hunting to an external partner to have an external security team leverage the analytics and information the EDR technology provides to protect the client organization from cyber threats.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a comprehensive security service that leverages multiple technologies to enable security teams to create correspondence between alerts and events from an array of security products and across an organization’s entire network. The goal is to provide high fidelity detections of security incidents and events by providing visibility across the entire network. XDR leverages an EDR tool alongside a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform to provide the highest level of protection available. Outside of the largest and most technical organizations, XDR solutions are typically outsourced.

Let’s break it down further and look at each solution side by side:

CapabilitiesThreat Protection

Detailed events, details for threats that bypass protection and preventative mechanisms.
Managed Service Based

EDR with 24/7 managed services for monitoring, analysis, containment, remediation, and continual improvement.
Holistic coverage

Complete threat landscape solution that ingests/integrates data from additional security platforms and tools. Goal is to provide high fidelity detections through visibility and telemetry and the reduction and mitigation of risk.
Elements-Real-time endpoint monitoring
-Endpoint containment
-Remediation recommendations
-Behavioral data
-Threat models
-MITRE ATT&CK mapping
-Managed investigations
-Managed containment
-Threat hunting
-Priority response
-Automated analysis, correlation, and response
-Threat hunting
-Cloud based integration
-Detailed investigations
-Advanced detection with telemetry based data source.
Technology (Stack)Endpoint Agent for Endpoint Protection Platform/Endpoint Detection & ResponseEndpoint Agent for Endpoint Protection Platform/Endpoint Detection & Response-Endpoint agent
-Managed firewall
-Email security
-Network detection sensor
-Ticketing Integration
VisibilityEndpoint OnlyEndpoint Only-Network
Protection Rating+++++++++
Detection Rating++++++++

Now that we’ve defined and distinguished EDR vs. MDR vs. XDR, let’s look at why an organization would choose to select one or the other.

Why your organization should go with EDR:

  • Want to improve beyond the existing capabilities of Next Generation Anti-Virus
  • Increase detection capabilities on an endpoint level
  • In-house security team to handle alarms and review events from EDR
  • Start on building security stack with better endpoint

Why your organization should go with MDR:

  • Do not have in-house security team to detect and respond to advanced threats
  • Adding security stack without hiring internal team
  • Protection and detection for latest advanced persistent threats

Why your organization should go with XDR:

  • Holistic, most advanced coverage for prevention and detection
  • Single pane of glass monitoring, analysis, correlation, and alerting
  • Improve ROI, MTTR (Mean Time to Respond)
  • To help achieve and simplify compliance requirements such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, GDPR, and FERPA

Organizations with internal IT resources must also consider if their team has the expertise and the capacity to manage the chosen solution. Even the most sophisticated teams cannot properly manage MDR and XDR solutions if they are only working the day shift. Companies need to leverage MDR/XDR vendors for 24×7 coverage unless their own security team is staffed around the clock.

When procuring cybersecurity solutions every company needs to weigh the benefits of each solution and determine the best fit for their organization. It is imperative to understand the alternatives and to align the business with the appropriate level of protection and detection capabilities. Underinformed buyers are likely to purchase solutions to ‘check the box’ and ultimately pay for solutions that may not align with the organization’s capabilities or may not provide the level of protection they expect or, in many instances, overlap functionality with existing tools. It is critical to be informed and to plan. When in doubt, seek understanding and take guidance from the experts. Cybersecurity companies and their private equity partners are marketing for your attention and banking on millions of dollars of revenue motivated by organizations’ looking to ‘check the box’. Don’t sign the contract until you understand the real benefits your company can realize.

When it comes to cybersecurity procurement, perhaps we should all listen to the advice of our childhood teachers:

“Prior planning produces proper performance.”

-Teachers everywhere
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Advanticom is an IT and cybersecurity services organization. We can provide you with EDR, MDR, and XDR solutions and help you understand the exact level of protection and detection capabilities you can expect from each. Contact us to discuss your cybersecurity stack and what’s in your best interest.

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