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What’s the Difference Between EDR and MDR?

detection and response tools

Can’t keep your security acronyms straight? Cybersecurity tools sometimes sound like alphabet soup (…EDR, MDR, SIEM, SOC, AMTD, ZTNA…amiright?!).

Two of the most important detection and prevention tools you should have in your security stack are endpoint detection and response (EDR) and managed detection and response (MDR). Let us help explain what they are, how they differ – and most importantly, why you need BOTH to stay protected against today’s complex security threats.

What is EDR?

Endpoint detection and response is a security technology that monitors your organization’s endpoints, collecting data that it uses to detect and stop potential threats.

Endpoints include your organization’s workstations, laptops, and servers.

Not only will EDR tools trigger alerts for further analysis, but they also use machine learning capabilities to isolate and quarantine cyber threats before they cause damage to your other endpoints.

What is MDR?

Managed detection and response takes organizational security to the next level – using a robust combination of security monitoring, threat intelligence and analysis, SIEM logging and alerting, and real-time incident response to detect and prevent threats not only at the endpoint layer, but across your entire network.

MDR is a fully managed risk response solution that relies on an experienced Security Operations Center (SOC) to triage alerts and complete comprehensive forensic analysis and investigation on security threats.

EDR vs. MDR: Key Differences

While both EDR and MDR are threat detection and response solutions, they have distinct differences and benefits for today’s businesses.

Scale & Visibility

  • EDR is inherently limited, only monitoring and protecting your endpoints. Additionally, increasingly sophisticated threats have shown capacity to bypass conventional EDR solutions, requiring more advanced technology, such as automated moving target defense, to backfill security gaps.
  • MDR has complete visibility across your endpoints and broader network traffic. Plus, MDR tools can collect data from multiple sources, integrating with various firewalls and cloud applications and delivering more comprehensive visibility and protection across your security stack.

Threat Intelligence, Investigation and Response

  • EDR on its own can isolate and block threats, but unless managed by an MSSP, there is no human investigation and response included. EDR also does not have any proactive threat intelligence capabilities.
  • MDR services include 24×7 SOC incident Investigation, meaning a team of experienced and qualified security analysts are monitoring your environment around-the-clock and can react to threats in real time. Additionally, MDR features proactive threat intelligence, relying on AI and machine learning to seek out new and emerging threat patterns before they ever get close to touching your network.


Both EDR and MDR solutions require a certain level of management – experienced security resources to analyze and respond to the alerts generated by the tools.

  • Many EDR tools are just that – tools, or widgets, that don’t come with any management resources and would need oversight from an internal IT team or managed EDR provider who can handle the day-to-day alerting and threat response.
  • MDR is a fully managed service that includes 24×7 security monitoring and Security Operations (SOC). With MDR, an experienced MSSP can manage the deployment, onboarding, and continuous oversight of your security platform through a single pane of glass – freeing you and your team up to focus on other priorities.

EDR + MDR: Why You Need Both

Together, EDR and MDR deliver a powerful and complementary security experience that can better protect your organization against today’s most complex and deceptive cyber threats.

EDR – especially if augmented by automated moving target defense – is a necessary protection for your company’s endpoints. With MDR, you can stay in front of emerging threats, monitor the dark web for potential breach patterns, and ensure the effectiveness of your security tools with 24×7 monitoring and incident response to keep threats at bay without burdening your internal IT resources.

To learn more about how EDR and MDR can work together to protect your business, contact our sales team.

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