XDR vs. EDR vs. NDR: A Comparison
Exploring the Differences: Extended Detection & Response, Endpoint, and Network Compared
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 changes and threats become more sophisticated.
Extended Detection & Response (XDR), which unfolds both EDR and NDR, Endpoint Detection & Response, which concentrates on endpoint activity, and Network Detection & Response, which focuses on network activity, 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 XDR?
Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions are unified platforms that are built to detect and respond to incidents. 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, such as revealing the entry point of an infection, identifying the affected systems, determining the attack’s origin, and more.
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 recognize 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 come 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.
Lacking the appropriate XDR solution could leave you exposed to significant cyber threats. The positive side is that you have a multitude of excellent XDR tools that you can choose from.
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 this 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.
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, 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 rise 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 when it detects any suspicious behavior and also provides response functionalities in the event of an incident, assisting IT specialists 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.
Using an 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. Its analytics and behavioral features will lead to more accurate threat alerts for known and unknown malware.
Network Detection & Response helps the IT team achieve a faster response by promptly sending alerts in the event of a relevant threat, facilitating swift threat investigation across the entire network through its centralized data, and aiding 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.
XDR vs. EDR vs. NDR: 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
- XDR – Combines endpoint devices, traffic, cloud, and applications, delivering a holistic security approach;
- EDR – Secures all endpoint devices, providing a robust defense at the device level;
- NDR – Focuses on the network and the traffic between devices, offering insights into network-level threats and anomalies.
- 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;
- 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.
Method of working
- 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 – 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 – It can be challenging to integrate a certain XDR solution into your existing security suite;
- 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.
Which D&R Solution Is Best for Your Organization?
EDR actively monitors, secures, and mitigates problems at the endpoint level, relying on the deployment of an agent on every device and unable to operate effectively 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.
Most large organizations will need to combine EDR, and NDR, by choosing an XDR solution as part of their security strategy to obtain a robust and mature cybersecurity posture.
How Can Heimdal® Help?
Our Extended Detection and Response platform offers comprehensive, unified security coverage. This seamless integration facilitates total visibility throughout your entire IT infrastructure, resulting in swifter and more precise identification and handling of threats.
Heimdal’s Endpoint Detection and Response offers unrivaled prevention, threat-hunting, and remediation capabilities. With advanced detection algorithms and proactive incident response abilities, it provides robust protection for your endpoints, ensuring timely threat mitigation and minimizing potential damage.
With its distinctive threat-hunting capabilities and comprehensive visibility across your entire network, Heimdal®’s Threat Prevention Network, a DNS-based solution, can help you strengthen your network perimeter security.
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, and NDR into XDR can be the key to a solid backbone in your cybersecurity plan.
- End-to-end consolidated cybersecurity;
- Complete visibility across your entire IT infrastructure;
- Faster and more accurate threat detection and response;
- Efficient one-click automated and assisted actioning