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EDR vs. MDR Services: Which is Right for You?

Cybersecurity is a topic that keeps many business executives, managers, and IT directors up at night, and with good reason. The average cost of a breach in 2021 is estimated at $4.24 million! As information technology grows in sophistication, so do cyber threats. This week, for example, the Apache Log4j vulnerability has sent security teams into a frenzy. As you likely know by now, antivirus protection alone is not enough to avoid a data breach. But, choosing between different detection and response solutions can be overwhelming. Keep reading to learn if MDR services or EDR is a better fit for your needs.

RELATED: Log4J Exploit Detection (CVE-2021-44228)

A Security Comparison

Before we can fully delve into why you need EDR or MDR services, imagine your environment as a home filled with high-value artwork. To defend your home against burglars, installing a deadbolt on your front door is important, but it is not always enough. You also need to ensure that if someone breaks a window or finds another way into the house, you’ll know about the break-in quickly and have the power to defend yourself and your valuables.

The deadbolt is your antivirus – it will effectively stop casual passers-by from waltzing in and taking your property. If someone is determined and has the skills or software access needed, they could infect your network with malware and/or ransomware. You need to watch your endpoints (perimeter) continuously. In other words, there is a need for a solution that continuously monitors your endpoints, then detects & reports any possible malicious activity, and responds appropriately. At the two ends of this capability, there is EDR and MDR.

While these are outrightly not the same, there seems to be a competition concerning which is best. Perhaps, the right question should be: which is suitable for my business model? For instance, EDR solutions might better serve large corporations with skilled in-house security teams. At the same time, MDR services may be the fitting solution if you’re a small to medium-sized enterprise with little in-house cybersecurity expertise.

What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?

As the name suggests, endpoint detection and response is a software solution with capabilities and tools to continuously monitor endpoints for any suspicious activities. Basically, when the EDR solution detects an abnormal action or possible threat, the security team is immediately notified in order to take appropriate mitigation actions.

Key EDR Functionalities

  • Endpoint behavioral monitoring: Certain behaviors, particularly when combined together into a pattern, begin to indicate that an endpoint might be compromised. By remotely logging and analyzing endpoint behaviors, you’ll know if an endpoint is breached as quickly as possible.
  • Analysis: EDR tools can help the human analyst aggregate and analyze a large amount of gathered data, which is easier to interpret and get insights where there is a potential loophole within the system.

Typically, EDR solutions obtain data from system processes, endpoint interactions, and authentication points (e.g., user login attempts) to create a view of the whole system. However, all this work is of no importance until the organization’s IT experts or security operations center (SOC) looks at the alerts. Having a skilled in-house security team that can investigate and respond to alerts generated by the EDR tool is essential to the tool’s success. Therefore, an EDR solution is only ideal for organizations that already have a qualified, appropriate scale and the go-to security specialists who can evaluate and remediate any security threat within an allowable time.

Understanding MDR Services

Managed detection and response, or MDR, is a transformative information security approach that many organizations are adopting. And it’s not hard to see why.

While EDR is a tool, MDR is a service. In other words, MDR is an outsourced security solution that also includes most (if not all) aspects of EDR, hence the name MDR services. When you hire an MDR provider, they should proactively monitor and respond to threats within your IT environment, with human experts behind the wheel 24/7/365 to facilitate mitigation and recovery efforts. (Note: while we strongly recommend 24/7/365 monitoring, not every MDR company provides the same service. If you’re not sure if you receive off-hours support, ask your provider.)

MDR Benefits

  • Immediate response: Cybercriminals can strike any time. They especially love to do that when there is potentially no one around who can respond immediately. MDR services close this gap by employing real human experts who will respond to any security threat within your system on your behalf, even if it’s on the weekend or night when your SOC is not watching.
  • Threat hunting: The automated monitoring might miss some small cracks within your system. MDR significantly reduces this risk by using human intervention to proactively look at potential intrusion areas that the MDR’s automatic monitoring and reporting tools might have missed.

MDR security introduces round-the-clock availability of human expertise to respond to alerts, making it a more cutting-edge security solution. Therefore, it’s ideal for an enterprise that isn’t interested in investing in a full 24×7 team of experts, or one that has struggled to find talent in recent months and years. Small-medium-sized enterprises that require advanced IT security but lack or aren’t ready to dump a significant percentage of their revenue on building a costly in-house IT team are also perfect candidates.


Here we are! To be clear, the right solution for your company boils down to your specific needs and your current cybersecurity capabilities in terms of human resources with expertise in that area.

While both EDR and MDR generate automated security alerts, the organization’s internal SOC is responsible for responding to the warnings in the case of EDR. This can spell doom if the attacks come during the off-hours or the team has inadequate skills to correctly configure the EDR tool, investigate alerts, and respond to them within an acceptable period. Otherwise, what would be the essence of monitoring and detection if you lack people inside the perimeter who exactly know what to do once there is a threat or intrusion signal?

If you think you don’t have the human resources to handle the alerts, MDR security is the right solution for you. The MDR company has enough experts who watch your IT environment and quickly respond at a fraction of the fee it would cost to get the same service using an in-house team.

Ready to Advance Your Security?

At Infocyte, we help businesses make the right choice, giving them an upper hand against criminals who want to wreak havoc on their networks. Criminals deserve no coin as a ransom from your company. You should leave them with a reason why they should never attempt intruding on your systems by quashing their first attempted attack like a pro. If that is what you think you deserve, get in touch with us to enjoy our 24 x 7 x 365 monitoring, detection, and response service.