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The central piece of a good cybersecurity strategy is a reliable detection and response toolset. But, as cybercriminals employ more sophisticated and powerful malware, the protection suite has to evolve also so it will match the technical capabilities of threats.

EDR, MDR, and XDR solutions are centered on the detection and response part of your company’s cybersecurity plan. And even if they are differentiated by only one letter, and their features may overlap, they are distinct solutions that bring you different benefits.

Let’s break down each one of them and see what they are, what can they do, and how you can differentiate them.

What Is XDR?

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a cybersecurity solution that takes a wider focus on endpoints, cloud, and networks. It makes data collecting, data analyzing and the entire security workflow more efficient in an organization, while offering a unified response to advanced threats.

XDR enhances visibility by collecting and matching up data from all across an organization’s infrastructure, reducing risks. Its features make security responses faster as all gathered data is analyzed and categorized, reaching the security team in a unified format, on a single platform

It can also come with access to cybersecurity experts in threat hunting, threat intelligence, and analytics, in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) manner.

XDR Features

Extended Detection and Response platforms offer the following features:

  • All across the infrastructure protection
  • Attack analysis focused on the nature of the threat
  • Threat detection
  • Data fidelity
  • All across the infrastructure data search
  • Response to attacks
  • Remediation support

Benefits of XDR

Building a multi-layered cybersecurity strategy for your firm may come with some challenges.

If you have a security solution that monitors endpoints and another for your network traffic, for example, chances are that the data collected by these tools will never be put together.

XDR solutions are created to unify, compare and analyze all the data collected from different channels like endpoints, cloud, and networks, and deliver it to you in a centralized platform, with one dashboard.

It will also help you terminate blind spots and loopholes in your security architecture as it improves visibility over the entire attack surface and data flow.

Supports your security team in threat investigation by prioritizing alerts and improves threat detection and response by reducing the time needed for these tasks.

One platform that does it all will help you to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO), maximizing your resources.

What Is EDR?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a cybersecurity solution centered on endpoint security. It catches all the activity on the endpoints and uses advanced analytics to provide real-time visibility into all devices.

EDR detects anomalous activity and alerts the security team if an incident occurs, offering remediation suggestions in case of an attack, as well as response functionalities. This solution can rely on classification-based detection or signature-based detection.

It can stop an attack in progress or limit its spread at the endpoint level.

EDR features

Endpoint Detection and Response solutions have the following features:

  • Endpoint activity tracking
  • Documenting a cybersecurity incident
  • Data gathering and analyzing
  • Research capabilities
  • Threat detection
  • Triage alerts
  • Confirming wary activity
  • Response assist
  • Remediation features

Benefits of EDR

Since the biggest part of attacks start at the endpoint level, using an Endpoint Detection and response solution helps you reduce attacks by offering more visibility into your network’s devices.

EDR can detect threats that bypass legacy cybersecurity software like fileless malware, and zero-day vulnerabilities, offering you an extra layer of protection.

This solution can be integrated with other already existing cybersecurity tools seamlessly.

What Is MDR?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a cybersecurity solution centered on managing protection and threat hunting across all assets. It can be seen as EDR-as-a-service and manages endpoint security technologies for organizations.

This service deals with analyzing the big flow of data generated by detection and response software, a time-consuming task for IT teams. It also adds manpower to an organization’s security department through an experienced third-party security provider.

To better protect modern IT infrastructure, it is sometimes grouped with a variety of other security tools, such as a DNS firewall, network sensors, or cloud monitoring.

MDR Features

Managed Detection and Response solutions usually include:

  • Non-stop monitoring
  • Threat detection
  • Ranking threats and alerts
  • Threat investigation
  • Directed incident response
  • Supports remediation
  • Advanced Forensics and Analysis

Benefits of MDR

A Managed Detection and Response solution will help you to keep the number of security team members under control, as it is designed to rapidly identify a threat and limit the impact of an attack without the need for additional staffing.

It frees up time for the IT team by completing tedious tasks like alert triaging and shelters them from alert fatigue caused by having to respond to too many alerts.

MDR can be more cost-effective than extending the security team, offering you access to cybersecurity experts around the clock. Also, it can address vulnerabilities to reduce risks and offer remediation capabilities.

Due to all these benefits, Gartner predicted that 50% of organizations will use a MDR solution until 2024.

EDR vs. MDR vs. XDR: Differences

EDR is the foundation of your cybersecurity strategy, as it is the principal tool for monitoring and detection in endpoints. Agents deployed on devices collect data that is centralized and analyzed.

MDR can be perceived as EDR-as-a-service. It manages endpoint security, focusing on supporting the security team in mitigation, removal, and remediation in case of an attack.

XDR protects more than endpoints, it extends across the infrastructure. This security solution enables a unified flow of collected and analyzed data that enhances threat visibility and response.


EDR – Inspects endpoints for threats that have bypassed other cybersecurity solutions like antivirus.

MDR – Its capabilities overlap the EDR solutions, adding 24/7 managed services to monitor, mitigate, remove, and remediate threats.

XDR – It integrates data from different security tools to improve visibility and reduce risks on the whole attack surface.


EDR – Non-stop endpoint monitoring, Analysis based on endpoint-level behavior (IOCs and IOAs), Threat database creation, Containment of the threats, and Remediation support.

MDR – EDR capabilities plus Threat hunting team, Managed threat investigation, Driven threat response, Managed remediation, Ranking threats and alerts, Hub for cybersecurity coordination and communication.

XDR – EDR capabilities plus Independent data analysis, response and threat hunting, Cloud data collecting, Machine-based investigation and scoring, Multiple domain data correlation, Creating threat summaries, Advanced detection, incident response and threat hunting.

Techniques, Tools, and Technologies

EDR – Software-based EDR solution

MDR – Endpoint protection platform (EPP)

XDR – Network analysis and visibility tool, Firewall, Email security solution, Identity and access management, and Cloud security solution.

Area of Visibility

EDR – Endpoints

MDR – Endpoints

XDR – Endpoints, network, cloud, users, email, data, and other assets.

Security Level

EDR – a core component of every cybersecurity strategy that can be used as a foundation for any advanced cyber solutions and capabilities.

MDR – combines the 24/7 monitoring and response capabilities of EDR with the skills of an expert team for threat hunting, analyzing, and response.

XDR – It offers the highest level of protection, and minimizes gaps in the organization’s security through EDR and integration of all tools and systems across the network architecture.

Which Solution Should You Choose?

Every detection and response solution can help your organization in its fight against cybercriminals.

But before choosing one of them, there are a few details that you should take into consideration:

  • An Endpoint Detection and Response solution can help you to better protect the organization’s devices offering more protection that an Antivirus solution.
  • You will need a security team able to react to EDR alerts and recommendations.
  • EDR is the right solution for you especially if you are just building your cybersecurity posture and you need a foundation.
  • Managed Detection and Response will bring more maturity into your cybersecurity strategy remediating threats faster, keeping you up to date with the latest threats on the Internet, and adding new skills to the mix.
  • MDR will also help you if you want more manpower in your infosec team without hiring new people.
  • An Extended Detection and Response platform is the answer if you are interested in busting your advanced threat detection.
  • XDR provides faster actions against threats – analysis, investigation, and detection -, and faster response time from one console.
  • The unified console of an XDR solution will also help with the alert fatigue caused by too many security agents and will save you money.

How Can Heimdal® Help?

Heimdal’s Endpoint Detection and Response provides unrivaled prevention, threat-hunting, and remediation functionalities by incorporating six solutions in a single easy-to-deploy and compact agent that will not slow down your systems and will save you significant time.

Our Extended Detection and Response solution will continuously check your communications systems, servers, endpoints, and connected devices for indicators of a cyberattack.

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Wrapping Up…

Given hybrid workplaces, complex IT infrastructure, and extremely complex threats, one-solution-fix-it-all is not a realistic cybersecurity plan for your company.

Instead, you can start by naming the needs of your company from a cybersecurity perspective. Once you identify how much coverage you need from your detect and response solution, what services would help you build a better cybersecurity posture, and what tools this requires, you can make a conscient choice about it.

EDR, MDR, and XDR are three endpoint security technologies designed to improve visibility, threat detection, and response among all company endpoints and infrastructure.

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Author Profile

Andreea Chebac

Digital Content Creator

Andreea is a digital content creator within Heimdal® with a great belief in the educational power of content. A literature-born cybersecurity enthusiast (through all those SF novels…), she loves to bring her ONG, cultural, and media background to this job.

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