Cyber Security Microsoft Microsoft 365 Defender


EDR vs XDR vs MDR: Discover the meaning of these cybersecurity concepts and find the best fit for your organisation's needs.

When considering cybersecurity options for you organisation, you’ll most likely encounter these three concepts: Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), Extended Detection and Response (XDR), and Managed Detection and Response (MDR). The difference between the three isn’t always immediately apparent, but to ensure the right security for your organisation, it is an important differentiation to make.

By the end of this article, we aim to provide you with a clearer understanding of these terms, to help you make an informed decision in selecting the most suitable option for your organisation. EDR vs XDR vs MDR.

The Importance

As more organisations adopt remote working and multi-cloud environments, employees increasingly rely on having access to corporate networks from their out-of-office endpoint devices. Endpoints remain a primary point of entry for cyberattacks, as such, this increase in endpoints associated to organisation’s networks reinforces the need for robust endpoint security measures.

EDR, XDR, and MDR each offer differing levels of cybersecurity measures that provide a solution to this challenge.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a term for solutions which focus on monitoring an organisation’s endpoints in real-time. These tend to be stand-alone security solutions, such as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. They serve to advance endpoint security from reactive solutions, such as antivirus software, to more proactive solutions.

EDR solutions operate under the Zero Trust principle of ‘assume breach’, and continuously collect endpoint data, allowing quick access to incident data, enriched information, and indicators of compromise. This wealth of information enables security teams to delve into threat investigation, revealing threat execution chains, from initial entry point to full execution within an endpoint.

EDRs capabilities to respond are a particularly powerful aspect of these solutions. Leveraging the high level of automation that EDR solutions provide, security teams can rapidly respond to emerging threats. Furthermore, automated response can be configured and deployed to contain and eradicate emerging threats effectively.

For a more detailed understanding of Microsoft’s EDR security solution, read our Introduction to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a relatively new term which lacks a universally accepted upon definition. Consequently, online definitions of XDR tend to be ambiguous and may mislead you into believing that XDR is simply an improved variation of EDR. Although they may function similarly, the difference between the two is huge.

XDR is a cybersecurity approach which integrates multiple security tools to provide holistic threat detection, monitoring, and response across an organisation’s networks, applications, emails and identities. While EDR primarily function as standalone security solutions, XDR encompasses whole suites of security solutions, often offered by vendors in singular holistic security platforms.

To paint a picture of the huge disparity between the two, Microsoft’s answer to EDR is their security solution Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. On the other hand, Microsoft’s answer to XDR is Microsoft 365 Defender, which includes Microsoft Defender for Endpoint alongside security solutions:

EDR vs XDR vs MDR: Microsoft's XDR solutions.
XDR in Microsoft 365 Defender
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • Microsoft Defender for IoT (& OT)
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
  • Azure AD Identity Protection

Furthermore, Microsoft 365 Defender integrates with the SIEM and SOAR solution Microsoft Sentinel, further enhancing its XDR capabilities. Imagine your organisation’s security as puzzle, EDR represents a single piece of the puzzle, whereas XDR is the full picture which all the puzzle pieces form.

Evidently the scope of XDR extends far beyond that of EDR. While EDR focuses on the security management of endpoints, XDR manages the endpoints, emails, applications, and identities, across your organisation’s entire network.

XDR aims to tackle the complex security challenges faced by organisations operating in multi-cloud and hybrid environments. It allows you to detect, monitor and respond to emerging threats across your organisation, unifying security into a singular platform.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Despite the extensive benefits that EDR and XDR security solutions offer organisations, fully leveraging these solutions requires substantial resources and expertise. Many organisations don’t have the necessary personnel or know-how to effectively maintain such solutions, and those who do, find their IT departments overwhelmed with managing alerts. This is the challenge which Managed Detection and Response (MDR) strives to overcome.

MDR is neither a platform, software, nor infrastructure; rather, it is a managed service offered by third-party experts who excel in efficiently utilising EDR and/or XDR technologies, amongst other cybersecurity approaches, to safeguard organisations. The level of control which MDR providers offer can vary depending on the provider and the specific needs and wants of each organisation.

These specialised teams can shoulder the responsibility of managing, investigating and responding to security alerts, relieving the burden of this time-consuming process. As a result, organisations without the required resources can stay protected, and the in-house IT departments of larger organisations can redirect their efforts towards strategic initiatives that align with organisational objectives.

Moreover, the top MDR providers have the ability to optimise the use of these technologies further. Holding the capabilities to proactively hunt for threats, scale your security alongside the growth of your business, and offer 24/7 monitoring, MDR providers can excel your security all at a fraction of the cost that doing so in-house would require. The extent of these services differs between providers, but by adopting MDR services, organisations can benefit from comprehensive security measures without the heavy burden of implementing and maintaining infrastructure.

Vital Managed XDR

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) offers a comprehensive security solution, but developing and maintaining an effective XDR framework demands time, resources, and expertise. This is where we come in.

Our team of experienced IT professionals are experienced in crafting bespoke managed XDR frameworks that perfectly align to the unique needs of modern organisations.

We’ll shoulder the responsibility of setup, maintenance and upgrading, allowing you to focus on the strategic initiatives that drive your business forward.

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Modern Work, we at Vital are ideally placed to help you:

  • Better understand your security infrastructure.
  • Develop a bespoke XDR framework.
  • Optimise your cybersecurity expenditure.
  • Secure the best pricing for Microsoft solutions.

For a no obligation review of your cybersecurity infrastructure get in touch here.