MDR vs Managed XDR: What's the Difference?

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Managed XDR (Managed Extended Detection and Response) are both cybersecurity services that pair endpoint security technologies with human expertise. Both provide organizations tools and personnel for the purposes of threat hunting and incident management. Both act to augment an organization’s existing cybersecurity capabilities.

But Managed XDR differs from MDR in that it extends the MDR framework by incorporating Extended Detection and Response (XDR) visibility spanning the entire enterprise—and all its potential attack surfaces.

What Is MDR?

MDR operations are specialized security services that allow an organization to outsource the management of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) products installed across their network domain. According to Gartner, MDR provides real-time threat hunting to detect malicious activity on individual endpoints, actively mitigate identified threats, and push alerts for further investigation to the MDR service provider’s SOC. MDR gives an organization access to security experts that specialize in threat hunting, analysis, and response, and alleviate it from the burden of complex and critical security operations.
Managed XDR is a security service that partners an organization with a team of specialized security focused experts and provides the same benefits as MDR to alleviate the burden on internal IT teams, and access specialized security expertise. Managed XDR services employ XDR technologies and capabilities—cohesive real-time threat detection and response across all endpoints on a network domain, or even cross-domain. Because XDR solutions communicate contextual threat awareness to adjacent systems, security updates and adjustments can be immediately deployed to protect against similar and coordinated attacks.

How Is Managed XDR Different from MDR?

Both Managed XDR and MDR are based on the EDR approach to endpoint security—providing endpoint security beyond traditional scanning of incoming content to continuously monitor endpoints for indicators of compromise (IOC). Both Managed MXDR and MDR proactively mobilize defenses to neutralize identified threats and push alerts to SOC team members for further investigation.

Managed XDR and MDR are also similar in that they are outsourced security services that transfer responsibility for network security to a team of security experts that specialize in threat detection and response.

However, Managed XDR programs also benefit from the advanced capabilities of XDR’s approach to extended security. Specifically, Managed XDR includes the ability to correlate security telemetry data across the network and can deploy a cohesive real-time response to identified threats across the whole network environment.

What’s Better: MDR or Managed XDR?

As threat actors become more pervasive and sophisticated, Endpoint Security solutions have expanded their reach beyond protecting individual endpoints to real-time orchestration of security measures by updating and adjusting security awareness for an organization’s entire digital environment. While MDR and Managed XDR both take advantage of access to professional knowledge and skills, Managed XDR’s advantage over MDR is that it can quickly apply threat intelligence across the entire network, immediately increasing security on all endpoints. This has the effect of preventing coordinated cyber-attacks from gaining a foothold on the network and reducing dwell time by proactively scanning for related IOC.

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.