Threat detection and response (D&R) solutions are an important part of the cybersecurity strategy of your company. This category of tools has evolved greatly through the years, as cybercrime tactics changed and threats become more sophisticated.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), which concentrates on endpoint activity, Network Detection and Response (NDR), which focuses on network activity, and Extended Detection and Response (XDR), which unfolds both EDR and NDR, are all available now.

Finding new and better ways to stop hackers is something that we all aim for, but you might find it challenging to choose the right solution for your business among all these options.

In this article, we will compare these similar but different technologies, showcase their benefits and explain why your company could find them useful as the volume and intensity of cyberattacks keeps on growing.

What Is EDR?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions work with endpoint data that they collect, correlate, and analyze from all devices where a software agent is deployed. Using those data an EDR can detect suspicious behavior at the endpoint level, helping security teams to identify and block threats, as well as to remediate problems, and restore affected systems.

More advanced EDR systems may use artificial intelligence (AI) to discover new threats by utilizing threat patterns based on suspicious behaviors and activity. Furthermore, security professionals can examine the collected endpoint data to identify possible points of compromise.

The main characteristics of an EDR solution are:

  • The capability of detecting security breaches
  • Responding to threats by removing or containing them
  • Restraining malware at the endpoint level
  • Investigating security incidents
  • Offering solutions for remediation
  • Real-time monitoring of the data that passes endpoints

EDR Benefits

The Endpoint Detection and Response solution is critical for your cybersecurity posture, as it allows you to better understand the risks that are out there and what attacks are targeting your endpoint devices (IoT devices, servers, laptops, desktops, cell phones, BYOD, and more).

It also gives you a better overview of the ever-growing number of endpoints that are connected to a network. EDR systems have a holistic approach to endpoint security and identify security incidents as they happen.

EDR can detect malicious activities previously missed by a firewall or antivirus by tracking changes on endpoints, like file tampering. And can assist in the forensics of an incident thanks to the data it collects from endpoints.

Because of refined cyberattacks and the raise of endpoints across a network that make it more vulnerable to cyberattacks, the implementation of EDR software has increased.

What Is NDR?

Network Detection and Response (NDR) solutions survey your network for known and unknown threats and suspicious activity, analyzing continuously the traffic from your network, creating a pattern of normal behavior. To detect abnormal traffic in the network, NDR solutions primarily use non-signature-based tools (machine learning or other analytical techniques), unlike legacy software that relies on signatures being categorized as malicious or not.

NDR alerts the security team if any suspicious behavior is detected and also offers you response functionalities in case of an incident occurs, assisting the IT specialist in mitigating malware.

More advanced NDR platforms can help you with reliable forensics capabilities, offering long-term data storage.  These data can be used by the security team when an indicator of compromise (IOC) is detected to explore compromised host communication, evaluate lateral movement, and decide if a data breach has taken place.

NDR Benefits

Using a NDR solution will significantly improve the visibility across your organization’s network, covering any blind spots. No-signature-based AI learning enables NDR to correctly identify more sophisticated, fileless, malware that exists out there. And its analytics and behavioral features will lead to more accurate threat alerts for known and unknown malware.

A quicker response from the IT team can be obtained with the help of NDR which sends an alert as fast as possible in the case of a relevant threat, enables rapid threat investigation across the entire network, thanks to its centralized data, and assists in mitigation.

NDR concentrates on analyzing packet data in network traffic, the most credible, accurate, and comprehensive source of information. NDR solutions improve security by providing network context and automating response to threats, allowing for greater collaboration between network and security teams and faster remediation.

What is XDR?

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions are unified platforms that are built for incident detection and response. XDR automatically collects and analyses data from multiple layers of security like email, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and networks.

This means that XDR helps your IT team to identify, investigate and mitigate threats across multiple layers of security, and not just focus on the end-point detection. XDR assists in the detection of malicious threats by performing AI analysis of both internal and external traffic to spot possible attacks.

It also can avoid attacks and detect zero-day vulnerabilities with the help of integrated threat intelligence, which includes information on known attack strategies, sources, and tools across a wide range of vectors.

The variety of data that XDR collects and offers contexts on can provide valuable insights for after-the-attack investigations. Like the entry point of an infection, what systems were affected, the origin of the attack, etc.

XDR Benefits

More data means more information that can help your security team to spot, investigate and respond to an incident in a shorter period of time. It also leads to a wider range of malware that can be detected by XDR: not only that it recognizes more numerous threats, but it also spots newer and more advanced ones.

Because XDR unifies multiple tool sets under one platform, it will make security software easier to handle, saving time for IT specialists and increasing overall productivity. Another benefit of having all your company’s cybersecurity tools in one place is the reduction of costs that comes from it.

Given all that, your systems will work easily because XDR is less heavy on them compared to separate security solutions, operating on different platforms.

EDR vs. NDR vs. XDR: Differences

As we said right at the start of this article, these three detection and response solutions have similarities but are different in essence.

Let’s break down the features that differentiate each solution:

Area of action

EDR – Secures all endpoint devices.

NDR – Focuses on the network and the traffic between devices.

XDR – Combines endpoints devices, with traffic, cloud, and applications.

Main purpose

EDR – It focuses on protecting endpoints from infiltration, monitoring devices’ activities, mitigating attacks, assessing vulnerabilities, sending alerts, and assisting in thereat response.

NDR – Assures visibility over network traffic, detects known and unknown threats, spots lateral movement, sends alerts, and assists in threat response.

XDR – Offers visibility at multiple levels (cloud, network, devices), detects threats, monitors activity, assesses vulnerabilities, sends alerts, assists in mitigation and response, and follows all the stages of an event.

Method of working

EDR – Detects malicious behavior using AI, signature-based threat hunting, analyses Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP), and detects Indicators of Compromise (IoC).

NDR – Follows Indicators of Attack (IoA), detects anomalies, user behavior and machine learning.

XDR – Uses AI to spot Indicators of Attack (IoA), Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs), detects anomalies and malicious behavior.


EDR – Can be bypassed by Advanced Persistent Threats (APT), ransomware, malicious scripts, and more.

NDR – Can be bypassed by Advanced Persistent Threats (APT), ransomware, malicious scripts, and more.

XDR – It can be challenging to integrate a certain XDR solution into your existing security suite.

Which D&R Solution Is Best for Your Organization?

EDR is monitoring, securing and mitigating problems at the endpoint level but it depends on the agent being diploid on every device and can’t work in cloud-based environments, for example. This is where XDR can help, being able to offer more comprehensive monitoring and data analysis from different streams, all in one unified platform. But both lack the context that network data can provide, and NDR can offer through real-time packet monitoring.

Most large organizations will need to combine EDR, NDR and XDR in their security strategy to obtain a robust and mature cybersecurity posture. Using them in layers will give your company real-time information about the ever-changing threat landscape.

Data from EDR and XDR are used more effectively and fast if they are put together with the NDR inputs. These systems, when used in conjunction, provide a comprehensive view of attacker actions and indicators of compromise, covering all the gaps on the attack surface.

How Can Heimdal® Help?

Heimdal’s Endpoint Detection and Response offers unrivaled prevention, threat-hunting, and remediation capabilities, combining six solutions in a single easy-to-deploy and compact agent that will not delay your systems and will help you save significant time.

The Network Detection and Response solution from Heimdal will provide A-Z protection regardless of device or operating system by utilizing machine learning on device-to-infrastructure interaction. It detects and prevents attacks that firewalls are unable to detect, as well as blocking malicious web content, preventing data leakage, and filters traffic locally in any environment.

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…

In today’s cybercrime landscape organizations require more versatile and advanced technology to detect threats in a variety of environments. That is why combining EDR, NDR and XDR can be the key to a solid backbone in your cybersecurity plan.

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