Cybersecurity solutions have evolved from a basic investigation and discovery technology to behavioral analysis solutions that enable real-time detection and response. However, if they are to be truly effective, they must also protect against anomalous behavior that may seem harmless on its own, but after gaining a bigger picture by correlating and contextualizing detections, turns out to be an incident that needs to be responded to as soon as possible.
The term "detection and response" encompasses technologies that seek to provide higher visibility, greater identification capability, and more efficient response to threats across a wide attack surface. As EDR and XDR sound similar, confusion can arise.
EDR vs XDR
The main difference between the two solutions is that XDR is the natural evolution of EDR, as it extends its capabilities. An in-depth look reveals other key differences outlined below:
1- Data collection:
EDR collects telemetry that can include specific types and volume of activities occurring on an endpoint and any it communicates with, both inside and outside an organization. As well as the types of data and files transiting to and from that endpoint. XDR, on the other hand, collects data from more sources. It complements the telemetry from the EDR solution by cross-referencing it with other sources such as network traffic or identity activity, correlating that data and presenting a broader context.
2- Data analysis:
In the case of EDR, endpoint data is sent to an EDR analysis engine that detects anomalous behavior and maps it to indicators of attack (IoAs), indicating that known types of malicious activity may be present. By collecting other data from the environment, XDR is able to identify the nature and source of any malicious activity it detects with an important level of confidence, thereby reducing false positives and increasing reliability and accuracy.
3- Threat detection and response:
EDR technology uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and advanced file analysis to analyze device behavior and identify advanced threats and malware. It also has automatic response mechanisms with actions such as sending security alerts, isolating the machine from the network, and removing or terminating potential threats. Meanwhile, XDR technology, through the use of cross-domain and correlation of monitored activities from different security products, provides threat context, scores, and detects malicious scenarios that could be indicators of compromise (IoC), reducing mean time to detection (MTTD) and containing the threat impact, severity, and scope quickly. XDR also enables a cross-domain orchestrated response natively, such as joint endpoint and network response, isolating endpoints and blocking the external IP address associated with the incident.
EDR or XDR: which one suits your customers' needs better?
While it is true that EDR and XDR cover common use cases, they are different and address specific needs. When considering adopting or recommending one of these solutions for their customers, MSPs should assess their customers' current situation and capabilities to offer the option that best suits their needs. Items to evaluate include:
- IT infrastructure: The first step is to determine which assets need to be protected. The XDR solution is ideal for midsize companies with limited staff and a shortage of automated tools, which means they have to spend a long time manually sorting detections, managing alerts, and accessing multiple consoles to gather this information and contextualize it so they know how to act when faced with a threat.
- Required safety knowledge: EDR and XDR solutions require some expertise to deploy and manage them effectively, as well as experience in security and threat hunting. If the company uses managed services, this may not be as relevant, as they have the qualified staff to implement any of these technologies. MSPs who are advising companies on which solutions to adopt need to make a recommendation based on the customer's needs, awareness of cyberattacks and how many staff and which infrastructure the enterprise deploys.
Based on these key criteria, MSPs can guide organizations in the implementation of solutions and services. At WatchGuard we make our Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and XDR tools available to our partners with WatchGuard ThreatSync so that they can either use them to provide value-added services or recommend them to end customers, because while both solutions provide a high degree of automation in detection and response, ThreatSync goes a step further by extending these capabilities, orchestrating detection and response across multiple security solutions.
To learn more about our extended detection and response (XDR) technology, please visit our blog: