Managed XDR: The Ultimate Guide

What Is Managed XDR?

Managed Extended Detection and Response (Managed XDR) is the application of a managed services framework to XDR. It augments and optimizes threat detection, investigation, response, and hunting across a business’s entire ecosystem. Through Managed XDR, businesses are given the support and expertise necessary to address skill gaps and build a mature cybersecurity program. Through 24x7 monitoring and mitigation, it simultaneously helps businesses protect their assets while also eliminating many of the challenges associated with modern cybersecurity.

Managed XDR Benefits

The key benefits of Managed XDR include:

  • Holistic telemetry beyond the endpoints.
  • Around-the-clock coverage of a business’s full ecosystem.
  • Actionable threat intelligence.
  • Reduced total cost of ownership.
  • More efficient prioritization of alerts and notifications.

As noted in a report from the Information Systems Security Association and Enterprise Strategy Group ESG, the cybersecurity skills shortage has yet to improve. As threat actors become more numerous and more sophisticated, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) must be augmented with XDR. Yet many SMBs lack the funds and expertise to contend with the cost and complexity of such and undertaking.

Instead of attempting to navigate the unfamiliar waters on their own, Managed XDR provides a business with a team of seasoned experts to guide it. This in turn allows that business to plan and establish a mature and effective cybersecurity program at a significantly lower cost. It also helps address many of the problems common in Security Operations Centers (SOCs), including notification fatigue, lack of visibility, and challenges with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) setup.

Additional Managed XDR benefits:

  • Advanced threat identification and remediation
  • Access to deep security and threat prevention expertise
  • Automatic framework mapping

Managed XDR Features

Managed XDR combines the core features of XDR with:

  • Support from experienced analysts and security professionals
  • 24x7x365 monitoring.
  • AI-powered endpoint protection.
  • Continuous threat detection and hunting.
  • Incident/event management and response.
  • Notification management.
  • Compliance management.
  • Preauthorized and customizable analyst interactions and interventions.
  • Advanced orchestration.
  • Tailored response playbooks, triage, and filtering methods.
  • Organized, contextualized telemetry.

How Managed XDR Works

Managed XDR improves an organization’s security posture by:

  • Bridging cybersecurity skill and knowledge gaps.
  • Assessing networks and applications for vulnerabilities.
  • Enhancing incident handling and threat mitigation.
  • Optimizing existing infrastructure through new tools and integrations.

Managed XDR can also empower security and IT teams by:

  • Providing internal personnel with guidance and training.
  • Augmenting threat management through a combination of AI and human knowledge.
  • Offering advanced incident containment and digital forensics expertise.
  • Proactively identifying and mitigating attacks.
  • Reducing the workload and stress levels of security staff.

Managed XDR Use Cases

There are two primary use cases for Managed XDR, namely:

Augmenting Existing Security Teams

Most security teams, particularly those of small businesses (SMBs), are understaffed and overworked. They may be able to deploy XDR, but lack the resources to make the deployment effective. For these teams, Managed XDR acts as an extension of their SOC, providing them with the extra help they need so they can focus on impactful business priorities.

Protecting a Business that Lacks Dedicated Cybersecurity Experts

Many businesses don’t have a SO—or even a dedicated security professional. Traditionally, this meant offloading cybersecurity onto the IT department. Where XDR is concerned, this is at best untenable—at worst, risky and potentially disastrous. Through Managed XDR, businesses gain access to a reliable security team with the tools and expertise to address cyber threats and cyberattacks like ransomware and malware.

Managed XDR vs. MDR

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) has a great deal in common with Managed XDR. Both combine advanced telemetry with security expertise for the purposes of threat hunting and incident management. Both act as an extension of a business’s existing cybersecurity capabilities.

But Managed XDR differs in that it builds on (extends) the MDR framework by incorporating XDR visibility that spans the entire enterprise and all of its potential attack surfaces.


What is Managed XDR?

Managed XDR is Extended Detection and Response (XDR) delivered as a managed service.

What’s the difference between Managed XDR and MDR?

Managed XDR is the intersection of managed detection and response with XDR capabilities. The two service delivery frameworks otherwise have a great deal in common with one another. To put it another way, Managed XDR is to MDR what XDR is to EDR.

What challenges does Managed XDR address?

The cost and complexity of deploying an XDR solution can be overwhelming, especially for businesses with smaller security teams and budgets. Data orchestration and ingestion is a significant roadblock to network security which, alongside skill shortages, configuration, notification management, and resource constraints, can limit the effectiveness of product-only security solutions. Managed XDR addresses the security challenges of organizations lacking the staff or expertise to handle their security on their own.

Why is Managed XDR important?

As attack surfaces continue to expand, threats continue to grow more complex and threat actors more sophisticated. Traditional perimeter-focused defenses no longer provide adequate protection, particularly where hybrid work is concerned. While larger enterprises may not have a problem deploying XDR solutions, SMBs typically lack the resources to do so.

With threat actors focusing more intently than ever on SMBs, all organizations need enterprise-grade detection, response, and mitigation. Managed XDR makes this possible.

What is prevention-first cybersecurity?

Reactive cybersecurity measures provide attackers with far too wide a window to exploit their targets. A prevention-first approach to cybersecurity addresses this by stopping threats before they have the chance to execute. Typically, this involves leveraging predictive AI and automated monitoring.

XDR is an important foundation of prevention-first security, providing both visibility and capabilities. 

Companies of all sizes must now contend with a growing number of devices, each one representing a new addition to their attack surfaces. And they must do so while balancing skill gaps and resources shortages, all while hoping they don’t end up in an adversary’s crosshairs.  This is challenging enough for larger organizations, but for small and mid-sized businesses, it verges on impossible.

As a human-centric subscription-based 24x7x365 Managed XDR service, CylanceGUARD® provides the expertise and support businesses need. CylanceGUARD combines the comprehensive expertise embodied by BlackBerry Cybersecurity Services with AI-based Endpoint Protection (EPP) through CylancePROTECT®, continuous authentication and analytics through CylancePERSONA, and on-device threat detection and remediation through CylanceOPTICS®. In short, it provides businesses with everything they need to contend with a modern threat landscape—no matter what that landscape throws at them.