EDR vs MDR vs XDR – What’s the Difference?

Cyberattacks are rapidly evolving, leaving businesses and their IT security teams to handle immense workloads.

Keeping up with today’s cyberthreats not only involves staying up to date in an ever-changing threat landscape, it also involves managing complex security infrastructure and technologies. Detection and response tools are designed to help security teams monitor, evaluate, and respond to potential threat actor activity.

EDR, MDR, and XDR can alleviate challenges most small business cybersecurity teams face, such as alert fatigue and limited resources.

Although detection and response tools share similar purposes, they are not all equal. Every threat detection and response capability has its own advantages when it comes to addressing the needs of your business and catching threats that have thwarted traditional security layers.

Let’s dive into the basics of three common detection and response solutions.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions cover all endpoint monitoring and activity through threat hunting, data analysis, and remediation to stop a range of cyberattacks. These attacks include malware, ransomware, brute force, and zero-day intrusions.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Managed detection and response (MDR) is a service that offers a suite of outsourced capabilities to deliver round-the-clock, 24/7/365 monitoring and detection, proactive threat hunting, prioritization of alerts, correlated data analysis, managed threat investigation, and remediation. MDR is popularly thought of as an in-house Security Operations Center (SOC) alternative. It blends a human element of highly-skilled experts with threat intelligence technologies.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Extended detection and response (XDR) is a proactive cybersecurity solution that provides improved, unified visibility over endpoints, networks, and the cloud through aggregating siloed data across an organization’s security stack.

What is the difference between EDR vs MDR vs XDR?

Today’s industry-leading detection and response technologies rely on threat intelligence data pulled from different sources. This threat intel data varies in readability and usefulness depending on the tool and its intended audience, your security team, decision-makers, or key stakeholders. Not all businesses have the cybersecurity resources to interpret copious amounts of data, investigate alerts, and act on threats.

Let’s compare threat detection and response tools and the challenges they address.


The difference between EDR and MDR is scale.

The needs of your organization, the number of assets and endpoint devices to protect, available resources, bandwidth, and in-house cybersecurity skill level are all factors to consider when it comes to MDR vs EDR. Addressing your business’ security challenges is crucial to understanding how much visibility your company really needs, doing so will help determine the detection and response technology best fit for your business and enhance your cybersecurity stack.

EDR has several benefits and provides holistic visibility into the attack surface of all your endpoints and can detect threats that circumvent legacy endpoint protection platforms (EPP). Endpoint Detection and Response is a staple for establishing a comprehensive security strategy and lays the groundwork for scalable cybersecurity maturity. Although fundamental, it generates a lot of alerts and endpoint telemetry data, adding to its complexity. It requires skilled cybersecurity talent who can readily handle high alert volume, interpret EDR alerts, and respond proficiently. The key takeaway is that standalone EDR products help businesses wanting to enhance their endpoint security posture but require a level of resources and advanced cybersecurity personnel.

MDR security is a managed service which merges human expertise with threat intelligence, offering advanced threat hunting, threat identification, alert prioritization, and incident response. MDR helps businesses obtain outsourced, high-skilled cybersecurity experts at an affordable cost. Regardless of size and level of expertise, your current IT team can leverage a turnkey experience with Managed Detection and Response to close the skill gap in specialized security talent. Small businesses seeking to build security maturity, handle complex threats, and relieve in-house alert fatigue, have everything to gain from Managed Detection and Response.


XDR works to consolidate alerts and unify previously siloed data from a range of cybersecurity tools. Businesses struggling with an influx of alerts across multiple existing security tools have the most to benefit from XDR solutions. Providing extended visibility, the tool is centered on aggregating and correlating telemetry from various security tools and enhancing defense across the security ecosystem.

Extended Detection and Response addresses the challenges of businesses with multilayered security architecture.

Tips for choosing a threat detection and response tool for your business

Choosing the right detection and response tool starts with addressing your business’ security needs at scale. Simply put, your organization should consider the following questions:

• What does my company need to protect? What assets are most vulnerable to being compromised?
• How much visibility does my organization need?
• Does my security team have the skillset, time, and bandwidth to handle large security workloads?
• What are the resource constraints of my organization?
• Who will be analyzing, investigating, and responding to detected threats, alerts, and data?

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