Jul 01, 2022

MDR, XDR & EDR - Know the Differences between

In this era of swift technological revolution, the risks have outgrown too, as a downside of improper planning, management and facilitation of the innovative prospects in terms of security. As the organizations struggle to find the ideal protection and security measures to apply suitably, the cybersecurity community puts its tireless efforts to improvise the security sphere at their best, reducing the impacts of potential hazards caused due to intrusions and security breaches.

However, what are the must-have attributes for an organization to tighten its security premise? Or, in other terms, how should an organization manage its security posture within the organization’s capabilities so that the integrity and dignity of an organization is stabilized in the long run? The query still prevails in the business sphere.

With regard to the fact that the threat landscape has grown enormously in recent years, the cybersecurity posture has stood stout too, upgrading and enhancing the security tool sets and expertise to precisely eradicate the damages caused by cyber attackers, breaking their attack chain to zero consequently. Hence, security solutions like EDR, XDR and MDR have been fairly popular abbreviations in the security sphere for more than decades now. But what are they really? And how do they differ from each other? Let’s have a debriefed picture.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Responsible for securing endpoint devices such as laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and more, Endpoint detection and response acquires overall endpoint activities and leverages advanced analytics to provide real-time visibility to identify potential vulnerabilities and intrusions, thereby providing an automated response to every detected threats in specific.

Enabling enhanced visibility into the endpoints and providing a faster response time, EDR represents integrated endpoint security solutions that infuse data collection, data analysis, forensics and threat hunting together to detect and block any potential vulnerabilities, threats or intrusions in no time.

What’s more interesting? The term EDR was coined in 2013 by a security analyst at Gartner, as it specializes in detecting the security breaches in endpoint devices and securing them by providing a swift response to the suspicious patterns of threats.

Although, how does EDR stand out in the cybersecurity sphere? Here is a quick overview.

What must an EDR consist of?

Designed to provide thorough endpoint protection against ever-growing threat sphere, a must-have qualities of an EDR are as follows:

Prevention-first procedure: As prevention is always better than cure, the prevention of an attack is much more cost-effective and hazard-free as compared to the remediation of the attack after its consequences have been diagnosed. Hence, an ideal EDR solution must have a proactive prevention methodology for blockading potential intrusions before they breach the target system.

  AI-driven Multidimensional Security: As of the latest trends of ever-growing threat sphere, an EDR must have a multi-layered security approach driven by artificial intelligence to thriftily identify and respond to the complex and sophisticated attack procedures. 

Post-Infection Remediation and Recovery: In the cases of attacks that are difficult to prevent, an EDR must provide a rapid response to minimize the impact of the attack. To achieve this, integrated remediation and extensive recovery capabilities are a must-have features for an EDR.

Integrated Security and Threat Intelligence Architecture: As the necessity to manage multiple security solutions for multiple client bases is fairly complex, an EDR must possess an integrated security platform to maximize the security effectiveness.

Consolidated and Cloud-based management: In order to simplify security operations and scalability of an organization, an EDR must provide a unified and cloud-based management to accurately configure and manage the security solutions, protecting the security posture of an organization against real-world threats.  

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

An approach in the cybersecurity sphere that provides holistic protection against cyberattacks, unauthorized access and theft of confidential data and information, Extended Detection and Response is a SaaS-based vendor-specific security threat detection and incident response tool that merges multiple security products into a cohesive security operations system to unify overall licensed components.

Fine-tuning response with advanced context, XDR profoundly transforms a large stream of alerts into smaller incidents for manual investigation, and provides automotive capabilities for repetitive tasks, proactively responding to infrastructure control points that include network and endpoints with a usable and high-quality detection content.

Coined as a cybersecurity term in 2018, XDR effectively breaks down traditional security silos to provide visibility, detection and response across overall data sources consisting of endpoint, network and cloud data.

Nevertheless, XDR has posed a remarkable outlook in the cybersecurity world throughout the years. What may be the need-to-have requisites of an ideal XDR? Let’s find out.

Key Capabilities of XDR

With an aim to provide end-to-end tracking with a unified perspective across multiple tools and attack vectors to improve SOC performance, an ideal XDR comprises of capabilities as mentioned beneath:

Analytics: With proactive monitoring, XDR analyzes both internal and external traffic to ensure the detection of insider vulnerabilities and compromised credentials and identifies them beforehand, or even after the threat has bypassed the security perimeter of an organization. 

Detection: XDR combines endpoint readings with data from a wide range of security tools, logs and security information platforms. With integrated threat intelligence to incorporate information on known attack methods, tools, sources, and strategies across multiple attack vectors, XDR applies machine learning-based detection that include supervised and semi-supervised methods to identify threats based on behavioral guidelines. Hence, XDR carefully detects zero-day threats and non-traditional threats that may bypass signature-based attack procedures.

Investigation & Response: After the detection, XDR provides varied tools that determine the severity of the threats and responds to them accordingly.  With a correlation of related alerts and data, the automated tools categorize the related alerts, establish attack timelines from activity logs and prioritize events to help determine the next move of an attacker. Also, XDR speeds up the response time enabling analysts to investigate and respond to events from a centralized UI, and orchestrating response capabilities that allows response actions directly via XDR interfaces.

Dynamic and Flexible Operations: Designed to provide additional benefits over time, XDR provides first-class security orchestration with an ability to integrate and leverage existing controls for unified and standardized responses. Also, XDR includes excellent automation features to ensure that security policies and tools are deployed in a consistent manner. With the usage of cloud resources that are scalable to meet data and analysis requirements, XDR improvises machine learning with an inclusion of threat intelligence to assure that the security solutions become more effective, capable of detecting a broader range of attacks over time.   

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

A form of cybersecurity service provided by managed security service providers, MDR employs a host of cybersecurity tools to provide absolute network coverage, accompanying the existing cybersecurity efforts. Actively scanning for possible security breaches and quickly responding to them to minimize the damage is what a MDR offers.

Furthermore, MDR provides ongoing threat detection and response using machine learning to investigate, alert and contain security threats in a scalable manner. The automated solutions are implemented by IT experts who validate alerts and aid in threat hunting and vulnerability assessment procedures.

Acting as a top-tier SOC for the clientele, MDR collaborates technology and human expertise to rapidly identify and limit the impacts of threats, remediating them without the need of additional resources or manpower.  

Nonetheless, how is MDR different from EDR and XDR? And what are the features of it? Let’s have a look into it.

Characteristics of an Ideal MDR:

24/7 Monitoring and Protection: MDR offers round-the-clock monitoring and protection to safeguard the security premise of an organization. With an in-house security operations center, MDR provides a dedicated security team who actively monitor, detect and respond to the latest trends of threats, thereby ceasing their efforts to breach the security posture within the organization. Hence, upon the detection of any suspicious or abnormal security behavior in an organization’s network, MDR takes immediate measures to remediate the potential threats despite the organization’s work hours being suspended.

Modifiable Security Policies and Procedures: As every organization has its own set of working policies and operational methodologies, MDR adapts the security policies as per the organization’s requisites, and not based on rigid solutions that are unalterable. Hence, the organization shall have particular or customized security rules, methods, goals and risks that are business-friendly.

This feature not only enhances the efficiency and accuracy, but also helps the security analysts and the organization’s internal IT team to apply precise security policies and operational procedures, as per the necessity of the business, lessening the hassles and operational costs. 

Combination of Artificial and Human Intelligence: One of the most distinctive features of MDR, the security solution blends human intelligence with automated security solutions, making the service one-of-its-kind.

As the significant growth of the threat landscape, the automated software and hardware security solutions are not enough to get rid of the impacts of the incoming potential threats. That’s where the usage of human expertise comes into play. Once the automated processes identify the unusual and suspicious behaviors as abnormalities, a team of cybersecurity experts thoroughly validate the incidents and duly respond to it as per its severity, easing off the burden from the organization’s IT team, making the security premise more robust and impenetrable.

Correlation and Compliance: MDR offers the automated collection, aggregation and retention of log data to track the patterns of the incoming threats for futuristic approaches, safeguarding the organization’s security posture. On top of that, the first-rate compliance reporting due to top-notch security operations is another factor that makes MDR distinguishable from other security solutions.

Also, MDR authorizes the security analysts as well as the organization’s IT team to acknowledge the threat behavior in-depth, protect the organization’s confidential information, and cease the tireless efforts of the attackers. What’s more? The organization is at a greater advantage as the high-cost damages are brought down efficiently, and the automated systems are upgraded on a regular basis meeting overall regulatory obligations.