The management and delivery of cloud services can be fragmented and complex. Networking, storage, and security products are often compromised by a lack of standards, and navigating this landscape can be incredibly difficult. Three primary endpoint security technologies have been defined to support businesses moving forward — EDR, XDR and MDR — and the entire market is likely to experience rapid growth over the next few years.

According to Gartner, the majority of enterprises will have replaced legacy security software with advanced EDR, XDR, or MDR tools by 2023.

The threat detection and response market can also expect a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% between 2021 and 2027.

In an industry overcome by acronyms, parallel development, and product redundancy, understanding the similarities and differences between security tools can be tricky. Let’s review the following solutions to see which one is right for your business:

  • Endpoint detection and response
  • Extended detection and response
  • Managed detection and response

What is endpoint detection and response (EDR)?

EDR is an integrated IT security solution designed to monitor technology endpoints and detect suspicious or malicious behaviour. This tool offers a range of advanced and proactive security features, with continuous real-time monitoring combined with machine learning, automation response, and comprehensive analysis.

EDR is a collection of related technologies designed to detect and remediate threats that may have evaded traditional endpoint protection. As a last-line defence mechanism, EDR provides detection insight and elimination response.

Like all digital security tools, EDR technologies function through data collection and analysis. Suspicious and malicious events are tracked from multiple endpoints, including desktop and laptop computers, servers, tablets, and mobile phones. These events are detected through the use of software hash signatures and matching algorithms, with each incidence measured against known malware threats.

EDR is proactive in nature. It continuously scans business systems to search for unwanted activity and notify relevant parties. Data is collected in a centralized automated system, with processing, response, and remediation based on specific threat variables to ensure maximum efficiency.

What is extended detection and response (XDR)?

If your organization has demanding networking or security needs, you may require additional layers of protection. XDR is ideal for modern businesses that operate in the cloud or rely on cloud services. Unlike EDR, XDR is not focused entirely on endpoints. Instead, it provides a much more comprehensive range of services linked to threat detection and response. Additional sources of vulnerability are covered by XDR solutions, including cloud services, networks, identities, and email. XDR is not a managed service, however, as dedicated teams are needed to handle data following collection.

XDR is widely supported in the Microsoft ecosystem. It can be found in Microsoft 365 Defender and Microsoft Defender for Cloud. The former provides solutions for endpoints, identity, and cloud services, including apps and data. The latter provides dedicated solutions for cloud services, including servers, networks, and tailored security for on-premise, hybrid, or cloud infrastructure. With extended visibility and control across multiple applications and services, XDR is an evolved form of EDR designed for advanced and cloud-focused applications.

What is managed detection and response (MDR)?

As internet speeds accelerate around the world, there is a marked movement away from technology as a product and towards technology as a service. In many ways, MDR represents this paradigm shift. When it comes to EDR vs MDR, the latter offers all the capabilities with the addition of external management. It is typically delivered by a managed security service provider (MSSP) and funded under a subscription model similar to other managed IT services.

MDR providers offer a wide variety of proven and integrated security tools, including comprehensive cloud security, endpoint protection platforms (EPP), intrusion detection systems (IDS), asset discovery, network traffic analysis (NTA), security information and event management (SIEM), user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA), and vulnerability management. As more businesses migrate to the cloud, accessing these services will become even more important in the years ahead.

According to Gartner, 50% of organizations will be using MDR services for threat monitoring, detection, and response by 2025.

MDR is an ideal arrangement for many modern organizations, especially those with limited security capabilities and extensive security demands. Not many businesses have the ability to continuously monitor potential attack surfaces and understand always-changing attack vectors. MDR allows companies to minimize risk by leveraging the expertise of others. Unlike EDR or XDR solutions, MDR services are not defined by access to technology. Instead, organizations have the freedom to create proactive solutions based on their specific security demands and operational goals.

MDR, EDR or XDR: Which is best for you?

The EDR vs MDR vs XDR decision can be confusing, with the security of your entire organization on the line. To find the best solution, you need to analyze your requirements, understand your limitations, and review your future goals. There are lots of specific factors to consider, from the size and skills of your team to your operating budget, technology dependence, and appetite for risk.

If you operate a relatively small business and don’t rely heavily on cloud services, EDR may be the right solution for you. EDR is not always ideal, however. Some businesses need access to more advanced features, while others lack internal capability. If you have the expertise to manage your own detection and response, XDR may provide the perfect balance of centralization and control. XDR takes a wider view at the cost of increased complexity, but like EDR, it requires an internal management team.

For many businesses, MDR represents the perfect combination of advanced security features and hands-off operation. With an experienced MSSP in your corner, you can get the protection you deserve while focusing on what’s really important — delivering value to your customers. For complete cloud security and so much more, please contact the team at Softlanding today.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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