Endpoint Security: EDR vs XDR vs MDR

Endpoint Security

As cyberattacks escalate and remote work booms, safeguarding endpoints like desktops and laptops is crucial. Learn how endpoint detection and response (EDR), extended detection and response (XDR), and managed detection and response (MDR) help businesses armor up.

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With the increase in remote workers over the past several years and the rocketing complexity of cyberattacks, organizations are being forced to improve their endpoint security posture. In this post, we’ll explore endpoint security and solutions like endpoint detection and response (EDR), extended detection and response (XDR), and managed detection and response (MDR). 

Endpoint security, at its core, revolves around protecting endpoints on the corporate network.  This includes devices like desktops, laptops, and smartphones. Endpoint security includes the tools and processes put in use to monitor, detect, and mitigate threats targeting these endpoints. 


Endpoint detection and response (EDR) focuses on monitoring and protecting individual endpoints within an organization’s network. EDR solutions collect telemetry data from endpoints and provide real-time visibility into activities on these endpoints. They also detect and respond to any anomalous behavior.

Additionally, EDR solutions collect extensive data about endpoint activities, including process execution, file changes, network connections, and more. EDR solutions also leverage behavioral analysis, signature-based detection, and machine learning to identify known and unknown threats. A drawback of endpoint detection and response is that its scope focuses on the endpoint. This means it may not provide any insight into threats that are occurring in other areas of the organization’s network.

Endpoint detection and response is a valuable tool for protecting endpoints. But its limited scope can leave organizations vulnerable to threats that target other attack vectors, like email.


Extended detection and response (XDR) is another option for endpoint security. It is an evolution of EDR that takes a broader and more holistic approach to threat detection and response.   

XDR extends beyond endpoint protection to include multiple security layers, including collecting data from networks, email, cloud services, and endpoints. Its primary objective is to provide a unified and correlated view of threats across the entire organization.  

By correlating information from different sources, XDR improves threat detection and response, helping organizations reduce the time to detect and remediate threats.  

XDR solutions are designed to work seamlessly with existing security tools and infrastructure. This reduces the need for additional investments and helps simplify the organization’s security stack.

A drawback of extended detection and response solutions are higher costs and complexity compared to traditional EDR solutions.


Managed detection and response (MDR) takes a slightly different approach to endpoint security compared to EDR and XDR. 

MDR is not a standalone technology, but rather a service offered by third-party cybersecurity providers. Organizations that use MDR services essentially trust a team of security professionals with the responsibility of continuously monitoring their environment for threats. This includes responding to incidents and improving the organization’s overall security posture.

MDR services can augment an organization’s internal security capabilities by outsourcing threat detection, analysis, and response functions to third party experts. MDR providers use technology solutions like EDR and/or XDR—coupled with human expertise—to proactively hunt for threats, investigate security incidents, and facilitate response actions.

Managed detection and response relieves organizations of the burden of managing security operations internally and provides access to specialized skills and resources. 

One concern with using managed detection and response is the reliance on external vendors, because this raises concerns regarding data privacy, compliance, and the potential for communication gaps between the organization and the MDR provider.

MDR services are beneficial for organizations that lack the in-house expertise and resources to effectively manage and monitor their security infrastructure. By outsourcing these responsibilities to MDR providers, organizations can improve their security posture and respond more effectively to emerging threats.

What Organizations Need to Consider

When it comes to selecting the appropriate security approach for an organization, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. 

Some of the items organizations consider when exploring endpoint security include identifying the scope of endpoint protection that is needed, available internal security resources, how well will the endpoint security solution integrate into the organization’s business operations and infrastructure, what risk is introduced with the solution, compliance requirements, and budget limitations.

Determining the appropriate endpoint security for an organization is complex work and requires cybersecurity professionals with strong technical skills. If you are interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, Flatiron’s Cybersecurity Engineering Bootcamp can help you build the technical skills needed to land work in the field and help organizations protect against emerging threats.

Interested in seeing the types of projects you could work on if you enroll at Flatiron? Check out our Final Project Showcase.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of February 28, 2024. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

About Ken Underhill

Ken has over 20 years of IT and cybersecurity experience and holds a graduate degree in cybersecurity. He's also the bestselling author of the book Hack the Cybersecurity Interview.

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