MDR and EDR – Why One Doesn’t Cancel Out The Other

Strong detection and response capabilities are pivotal for identifying and mitigating threats before they can cause significant damage. As attackers employ advanced tactics that often bypass perimeter defenses, the focus shifts to not only preventing breaches but also quickly detecting and responding to incidents that do occur.   

Managed detection and response (MDR) and endpoint detection and response (EDR) are two central approaches for providing detection and response functions. However, there’s a misconception that if you have MDR, you don’t need EDR (and vice versa). Here’s how combining MDR and EDR amplifies the capabilities of each to offer dynamic and resilient defense against a wide range of cyber threats.   

MDR and EDR: An Exciting Synergy  

Recent projections forecast the MDR market to grow annually by 23.3% through 2028. This huge anticipated growth reflects companies increasingly recognizing the need for outside help to deal with an onslaught of cyber threats amid continued talent shortages. But opting for an MDR service doesn’t mean you need to abandon EDR either; both can work together.   

As a brief reminder, EDR focuses on securing endpoints (such as computers and mobile devices) by continuously monitoring for malicious activities and anomalies. It provides automated response capabilities to isolate and mitigate threats at the device level. MDR, on the other hand, takes a service-oriented approach that encompasses a broader scope

beyond endpoints. MDR often includes 24/7 monitoring, threat detection and response across your IT environment (network, endpoints). It combines advanced technologies with human expertise, offering organizations access to security analysts and experts who proactively hunt for threats, analyze incidents and guide remediation efforts.   

Enriched and integrated data

EDR solutions collect vast amounts of telemetry data from individual endpoint systems, including process executions, network connections, registry changes and other events. MDR service providers can integrate this data to provide a richer dataset for threat detection and analysis. This kind of enrichment and integration works both ways—MDR can enrich the endpoint data with additional context, such as threat intelligence feeds, to identify complex attack patterns that may not be evident from endpoint telemetry alone. 

Better threat detection and analysis

Related to the previous point, integrating EDR data lets MDR services apply more sophisticated analytics and machine learning models to detect anomalies, patterns and behaviors indicative of advanced threats that single-point solutions might miss. On top of this, MDR services can correlate events across endpoints, networks and cloud environments to identify sophisticated multi-stage attacks (e.g., ransomware) that rely on lateral movement and other advanced tactics. 

Proactive threat hunting

Another reason MDR and EDR work so well together is that the granular visibility provided by EDR solutions facilitates proactive threat hunting by MDR services. This threat hunting uses human expertise to investigate suspicious behaviors and indicators of compromise (IoCs). Also, based on this threat hunting, MDR teams can develop and deploy custom detection rules across EDR solutions to identify specific threat vectors relevant to your organization’s unique environment. 

More efficient incident response and remediation

In the event of a detected threat, EDR solutions can automatically isolate affected endpoints, preventing the spread of malware or an attacker’s movement within the network. At the same time, MDR analysts can assess the broader impact of threats across the network and guide strategic response efforts. Detailed forensic data from EDR solutions provide MDR analysts with insights to investigate the root cause of an attack, understand attack vectors and better prevent similar future incidents.  

Expertise brings operational efficiency

MDR service providers can apply their expertise to filter out false positives generated by EDR systems. Reducing this problem ensures that your in-house security team focuses its efforts on genuine threats rather than getting bogged down by alert fatigue. This improves operational efficiency by preventing unnecessary investigations and allowing teams to concentrate on critical security tasks. 

Quick Tips for Smoother MDR and EDR Implementation 

  • Ensure your EDR solution and MDR can integrate seamlessly to share data and alerts without friction. 
  • Look for providers that tailor setup and configurations to your company’s specific needs, industry, regulatory requirements, threat landscape and IT environment. 
  • Prioritize scalability; both must be able to adapt to the growing number of endpoints and the expanding network perimeter, especially with the rise of remote work and cloud computing.  
  • Update incident response plans to reflect the integrated EDR and MDR operations so that there are clear roles, responsibilities, and procedures in place. 
  • Evaluate potential MDR service providers’ expertise and track record in terms of their experience integrating with EDR solutions and managing incidents across diverse environments. 

How Nuspire Helps

Nuspire helps you harness the power of combining MDR and EDR to create a more robust cybersecurity posture. Our MDR service gives you 24/7 monitoring from our expert team, who’ll help you thwart attacks in the cloud, on the network and on your endpoints.   

Learn more here.  

You can also download our latest MDR eBook, which shows you how to take advantage of recent advances in MDR solutions to drastically improve its effectiveness and precision in your environment.  

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