EDR vs. MDR: How do They differ, and which one should you choose?

Cyber Protect Cloud
for Service Providers

The increasing frequency, sophistication, and financial impact of cyberattacks have emphasized the criticality of implementing a cybersecurity strategy. At the core of any security approach lies the necessity for a detection and attack response capability. This capability plays a role in identifying and countering threats that manage to evade security measures.

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) and managed detection and response (MDR) are two solutions aimed at enhancing an organization's security operations and measures through the adoption of security technologies and software agents. Despite their shared goal, EDR and MDR diverge in their areas of concentration and approaches to resolving security issues.

Understanding the disparities between EDR and MDR is crucial when determining the suitable solution for your business. Let's explore these differences further:

1.Core Focus:

EDR solution: EDR solutions primarily revolve around monitoring and safeguarding endpoints like desktops, laptops, or servers. Their primary focus lies in detecting, investigating, and mitigating threats affecting these devices.

MDR: Managed detection and response solutions take a holistic approach by encompassing end-to-end security monitoring across an organization's entire network infrastructure. MDR services monitor networks, endpoints, cloud environments, and other relevant areas to identify and address threats.

2. Security Operations:

EDR tools and solutions typically empower security teams with tools to proactively detect threats, investigate incidents, and respond to attacks directly. This puts the onus on the organization's security personnel to generate insights from endpoint data and identify threats.

MDR: In contrast, managed detection and response services are often outsourced to third-party providers who possess advanced threat hunting capabilities. They utilize security expertise, specialized tools, and analytics to monitor an organization's environment and offer incident response assistance.

3. Scalability:

EDR: Since EDR primarily operates at the endpoint level, it may prove manageable for small and medium-sized businesses with limited resources or straightforward network architectures.

MDR: Managed detection, endpoint monitoring, and response services excel in complex environments that encompass multiple endpoints, networks, cloud platforms, etc. Their scalability is advantageous for organizations requiring security coverage across diverse infrastructures.

Choosing the right solution for your business depends on factors such as the size of your organization, the complexity of your network, available resources, and budgetary considerations. Evaluating these aspects alongside the features of EDR and MDR will aid in making a decision about which solution aligns best with your organization's network and security objectives.

Remember, seeking expert advice from security professionals or consulting vendors also plays a role in selecting the right solution tailored to your specific business requirements and needs.

In this context, we will now delve into three main tools for detection and response:


What Is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?

EDR solutions play a role in bolstering endpoint security by offering advanced capabilities for threat prevention, detection, analysis, and response. The overarching goal of the in-house expertise of EDR is to consolidate layers of security measures into a solution.

The effectiveness of EDR lies in its ability to enhance threat detection by leveraging endpoint visibility. By gaining increased insight into endpoints potential, advanced threats can be efficiently identified.

Key features and functionalities of EDR solutions include:

1. Endpoint Protection: As organizations increasingly embrace work and adopt bring your own device (BYOD) policies, endpoints become crucial in combating cyber threats. EDR solutions ensure detection and response capabilities are in place for these endpoints.

2. Log Aggregation: EDR solutions have the capability to access and aggregate system and application logs generated by endpoints. By consolidating data from different sources, a holistic view of the endpoint's state can be established.

3. Machine Learning: EDR solutions incorporate machine learning capabilities that analyze data collected from log files and other relevant sources. This analysis enables the system to identify and alert for anomalies and patterns that may indicate breaches or other endpoint-related issues.

4. Analyst Support: EDR solutions amass an amount of data about an endpoint's status, which is then aggregated and analyzed to extract insights. These insights can be made accessible to analysts to enhance incident response and digital forensics activities.

By emphasizing the role EDR plays in fortifying endpoint security and highlighting its core functionalities, we can present the information in a manner more aligned with human writing style while maintaining its technical essence. Ultimately, EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) proves to be an efficient approach to safeguarding endpoints against cyber threats.

What is Managed detection and response (MDR)?

MDR represents a security as a service proposition aiming to assist organizations in replacing or expanding their internal security operations center (SOC) through a third-party service. By offering a solution, MDR equips organizations with the tools, personnel, and expertise to effectively shield themselves against cyber threats.

MDR providers deliver a range of security services as part of their offerings. Some notable advantages of leveraging MDR services include:

Continuous Monitoring: Given that cyberattacks can strike at any moment, uninterrupted surveillance is crucial. MDR providers diligently monitor an organization's environment for security issues, promptly assessing alerts to determine if they indicate a threat and responding if they do.

Managed Incident Response: Swift and accurate incident response plays a role in mitigating the scale and impact of cybersecurity incidents. MDR providers boast trained incident response and security teams that can promptly address security incidents with knowledge and proficiency.

Specialized Expertise: The cybersecurity industry is grappling with a scarcity of professionals, making it challenging to acquire and retain critical security expertise. This scarcity is more pronounced in fields like cloud security and malware analysis. An MDR provider possesses the scale to attract and retain experts, guaranteeing their availability and access to customers whenever required.

Proactively engaging in threat hunting activities allows organizations to discover intrusions that were previously unknown within their IT environments. This proactiveness is an aspect of an MDR provider's services that enables them to offer protection compared to purely reactive security measures. At its core component and essence, MDR equips companies with all the elements required to safeguard themselves against the changing cyber threat landscape.

MDR (Managed Detection and Response) vs. EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response)

Let's explore and understand even more clearly the differences between EDR and MDR.

MDR and EDR serve the purpose of enhancing an organization's cybersecurity defenses by utilizing cutting-edge security solutions. While both offer improved visibility and security integration, they differ significantly in their approaches. EDR focuses on safeguarding endpoints with tools, whereas MDR delivers comprehensive security monitoring and management across an organization's entire IT infrastructure.

It is worth noting that an MDR provider may incorporate EDR solutions within their offerings, and the choice between MDR and EDR is not mutually exclusive. Companies are advised to adopt the solutions pertinent to their security needs, often necessitating the use of both an EDR and an MDR solution concurrently.

Threat hunting and Selecting the Endpoint Security Solution for Your Business

MDR and EDR are both intended to enhance an organization's security readiness and address security challenges. However, they tackle problems, making them suitable for their purposes. MDR presents a solution to the scarcity of cybersecurity personnel, while EDR provides invaluable visibility and management capabilities for corporate endpoints.

Incorporating both MDR and EDR into a cybersecurity strategy is highly recommended for every organization. Check Point offers a portfolio encompassing both EDR solutions and MDR services to cater to these requirements.

Adoption of EDR solutions

The adoption of EDR is expected to grow in the coming years. Based on the findings of Stratistics MRC's Endpoint Detection and Response: Global Market Outlook (2017–2026), it is estimated that sales of EDR solutions, including both on-premises and cloud-based options, will reach $7.27 billion by 2026. This projection indicates a growth rate of nearly 26%.

Among the factors fueling the increasing adoption of EDR, one notable aspect is the rising number of endpoints connected to networks. Additionally, the escalating sophistication of cyberattacks plays a role in driving demand for EDR solutions. Cybercriminals often target endpoints as they are perceived as points of entry to infiltrate a network.

New EDR capabilities improve threat intelligence.

The expanding features and services of EDR solutions are enhancing their ability to detect and investigate threats effectively.

One valuable addition is the integration of threat intelligence services, which provide organizations with a repository of up-to-date information on existing threats and their attributes. This collective intelligence significantly bolsters an EDR's capacity to identify intricate and previously unknown attacks. As part of their endpoint security solutions, numerous EDR security vendors now offer subscriptions to threat intelligence services.

Moreover, some EDR solutions have embraced capabilities that leverage AI and machine learning technologies. These innovative systems and functionalities automate steps in the process. By learning an organization's behaviors and combining this knowledge with an array of threat intelligence sources, these capabilities can interpret findings more accurately and efficiently.

Another noteworthy example of threat intelligence is the Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK) project at MITRE's team, a nonprofit research group collaborating with the U.S. Government. ATT&CK operates as a knowledge base and behavioral analysis framework developed through the analysis of millions of real-world cyberattacks.

What challenges can MDR address?

Challenge 1: A Complex and Evolving Threat Landscape Staying abreast of this changing landscape necessitates adaptation and enhancement of threat detection strategies, diligent observance, and prompt reaction to all security events, incidents, and suspicious activities. These responsibilities place added pressure on an organization's resources and staff.

Challenge 2: Increasing Attack Surface: With the pace of transformation, businesses are embracing various technologies, like cloud computing, SaaS applications, IoT devices, remote/hybrid work setups, and mobile solutions. These technological advancements aim to improve productivity and enhance customer experiences. However, this expansive digital landscape also presents a challenge in terms of cybersecurity.

Challenge 3: Lack of Skilled Personnel: Based on research conducted by (ISC)2, it has been determined that there is an estimated shortage of 4 million professionals in the cyber security workforce. This significant scarcity of individuals poses challenges for organizations as they struggle to locate and retain personnel capable of efficiently identifying and addressing potential threats. Moreover, the demand for cyber security professionals and experts remains exceptionally high, which often results in high turnover rates and the requirement for organizations to train new employees in their threat detection and response protocols.

How to Choose an MDR Service: 5 Questions

There are Managed Detection and Response (MDR) vendors available, making it challenging to select one. To assist medium businesses (SMBs) in narrowing down their options, it is essential to ask the following essential questions when considering MDR services:

1. What is the extent of their threat detection and response capabilities?

2. Do they incorporate threat enrichment through Security Information and Event Management systems (SIEM)?

3. How straightforward is the deployment and onboarding process for Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?

4. Do they possess expertise in proactive threat hunting and managed response?

5. What communication channels do they use? Do they provide reporting?

About Acronis

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 18,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.