Comparing MDR vs. EDR: Explaining the Difference

mdr vs edrMDR vs. EDR: Discovering the Best Choice

Many organizations think it’s one vs. the other – managed detection and response (MDR) vs. endpoint detection and response (EDR). However, that’s not the case. To help you contextualize why, think about the best way to protect your house. Installing a deadbolt on your front door to stop burglars describes EDR. But there are more entry points (windows, garage, back and side doors) and MDR monitors all entry points for threats.

What is MDR and EDR?

Managed detection and response (MDR) is a service that provides advanced threat detection and mitigation notifications across the network.

This is provided by a Service Organization Controls (SOC) solution, which monitors all logging activity to identify security alerts (possibly pre-threatening) and provides alerts to those conditions. This is for threat identification across the network, not just at the endpoint. MDR normally contains agents at the endpoint for containment if required, but it is not an EDR solution.

EDR stands for endpoint detection and response. It is a software that protects your most dangerous asset: endpoints. Examples of endpoints are servers, desktops, laptops, mobile devices, tablets, virtual environments, etc.

EDR solutions provide an awareness of cyber threats at the endpoint only. It normally can provide a recommendation for remediation and in some cases the ability to contain the device. A managed EDR extends the service with SOC professionals, usually offered by third-party endpoint security experts. They analyze threats and additional information as to possible network infection and then design a security strategy dedicated to endpoint protection, and in some cases a managed EDR can remove the infection.

While EDR is a tool, MDR is a managed security service. In other words, MDR is an outsourced security solution that also includes some aspects of EDR, hence the name MDR services. When you incorporate an MDR security solution into your network, it continuously monitors your entire network for any activity that may be threatening your environment. 

Comparing MDR vs. EDR

MDR and EDR are different security solutions, but both can be used simultaneously to fill in security and resource gaps. In other words, MDR can leverage EDR’s technologies as a method to enhance its threat detection, anti virus analysis and response capabilities.

One isn’t better than the other when it comes to MDR vs. EDR. There’s a difference between the two, but most MDR providers can team with an EDR solution to enhance its threat recognition and response.

  • Internal vs. External: MDR and EDR solutions differ in where they are applied and located. An MDR solution deploys a device normally installed behind the firewall and is monitored by a SOC outside the organization while an EDR solution is deployed directly on an endpoint.
  • Area of Focus: MDR and EDR have different areas of focus. An EDR solution is focused solely on endpoint security, while an MDR service includes protection of both the endpoint and the network.
  • Service vs. Tool: MDR and EDR differ in their core functionality. An EDR solution is a tool that needs to be deployed, configured and managed by human operators or automated tools or policies. MDR, while it does require agent deployments to pull important logs from an asset to better understand what is happening, it is a service that combines technology and human expertise. 

Benefits of EDR vs. MDR

EDR and MDR provide different services, but have overlapping capabilities.

Some important considerations when selecting between EDR vs.MDR for an organization’s needs include:

  • mdr vs edrYour level of in-house security expertise is a crucial factor. If an organization has a right-sized security team but is missing tools for endpoint response, then EDR is a good solution. However, if a security team is understaffed, or lacks the expertise, then managed detection and response services can fill critical gaps.
  • Endpoint detection and response, EDR, is a real time, immediate responder to a threat at the endpoint. If an infection pops up at the asset the program reacts (based on signature for the attack or in some cases the behavior of the attack). MDR is a complete watch across the entire network, which can even include recognition of internal threats, i.e., login fails, elevation of account privilege, brute force attempts, firewall access and many others. The solution leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning and SOAR techniques to identify a threat. Then a SOC team reviews any alerts triggered by the threat recognition solution and removes the false positives and forwards action requiring notifications.
  • Looking for threats requires specialized knowledge and skills. Both solutions elevate the awareness of threat and both require a team to respond to alerts detected by the platforms. Most businesses that do have a local IT team are not 24×7, which makes those organizations vulnerable to a cyber attack. These platforms provide awareness 24×7. The MDR platform can also notify your team any time a threat is recognized via email, SMS or even a phone call.

Based on these criteria, an organization should be able to determine which of the two options is a higher priority to invest in first. Because for many, it’s not a question of which service offering to have in place, it is ideal to have both solutions in place for optimal coverage.

Improve Endpoint Security With a Proven Partner

Every individual in a business must be diligent, from top to bottom, with proper understanding of security threats, both in the office and while working remotely. Hackers take advantage of the increase in remote work, targeting more relaxed environments.

To protect your data, it is important to have dedicated security experts, as well as proper security tools, to assist in your cybersecurity strategy. Some of these tools include endpoint monitoring, SOC-As-A-Service, network monitoring and more. This expertise and planning can mean the difference between keeping your business safe, and a costly breach.

If you have questions about endpoint security or how to better protect your organization contact us to schedule an appointment.

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