MDR vs. XDR: What’s the Difference?

MDR vs. XDR: Which one is right for your business? While both are powerful security solutions for businesses, they each have their own uses and benefits. This being said, it's important to fully understand where XDR ends and where MDR begins.

Let's break down the key differences between MDR and XDR, why companies decide to go with one over the other, and how each solution can benefit your business.

What Is XDR?

XDR (extended detection and response) is a dynamic platform managed by IT security specialists. This modern network security solution unites several tools for threat detection and response and data analytics across an organization’s networks, servers, cloud deployments, endpoints, and more.

The key components of XDR include:

  • Unified threat detection perspective: Easily combine data and capabilities to create a single point of view to monitor your enterprise.
  • Multiple security products: XDR combines threat detection, data analytics, and threat response tools and puts them in the hands of your in-house security team or an MDR service provider.
  • Machine learning: Modern XDR services harness machine learning to streamline incident detection using predefined or custom detection rule sets.

What Are the Benefits of XDR?

When leveraged by experienced IT professionals, XDR security can be a powerful, all-in-one network security tool

Here are the key benefits of an XDR platform:

  • Cover multiple security controls: XDR gathers state-of-the-art security controls to cover networks from multiple vectors.
  • Automate time-consuming tasks: Thanks to machine learning, XDR speeds up routine data entry and monitoring tasks.
  • Leverage in-house and MDR professionals: An XDR platform is available for both MDR service providers and an in-house security team. It doesn’t replace either of these strategies but equips them with dynamic tools and automated support.

What Is MDR?

MDR (managed detection and response) offers a managed alternative or supplement to your in-house threat detection and response. 

They key components of MDR include:

  • SIEM: Security Information and Event Management
  • IDS: Intrusion Detection System
  • EPP: Endpoint Protection Platform
  • NTA: Network traffic Analysis

MDR isn’t a specific technology but rather a complete 'managed' service offered by IT security specialists. In a sense, it is an XDR solution - and then some.

What Are the Benefits of MDR?

MDR providers offer a total security solution. They take the power of XDR tools and combine it with the expertise, automation, and comprehensive coverage that a full cybersecurity team can deliver. As a result, it eliminates the burden of successfully managing XDR tools via limited in-house IT resources.

The primary benefits of MDR services include: 

  • Decreased alert fatigue: IDC research has found that increased alert fatigue is becoming common among in-house security teams. Ultimately, this means that a significant number of alerts may never be addressed. MDR can help you avoid the effects of alert fatigue.
  • Continuous monitoring: MDR offers 24/7/365 monitoring and AI-driven analytics tools for state-of-the-art threat intelligence.
  • Complementary IT support: MDR providers reduce the total cost of ownership and maintain a more well-rounded monitoring and incident response network.
  • Specialized talent: By outsourcing specific services, you can receive expert cloud security, threat hunting, and other support.

XDR vs. MDR: Which One Is Right for Your Business?

When deciding between MDR and XDR security solutions, you'll need to determine what your business can successfully manage in-house.

The most important question you'll need to answer is: Do you need a tool or do you need a tool and a provider?

XDR offers state-of-the-art IT tools that help IT departments combat cyber threats. MDR, on the other hand, is a fully managed and automated XDR solution.

Let's break this down even further:

  • You want to leverage your in-house security team: Use the resources and talent you’re already committed to with an XDR solution. This tool, in the hands of your IT experts, can offer the complete cybersecurity coverage you're looking for.
  • You don’t have in-house professionals: If your small business doesn’t have anyone dedicated to monitoring and responding to security threats (or your IT department is stretched too thin), then an MDR solution may be right for you.
  • You want to be in control of your cybersecurity strategy: MDR solutions outsource the responsibility of network security to someone else. If this is not something your company wants moving forward, XDR is the right solution for you.

Are you ready to upgrade your security solution?

Whether you're looking to upgrade your security tools or your entire security strategy, we've got you covered. 

UncommonX provides our unified BOSS XDR platform for businesses that need keen, cutting-edge cybersecurity insights. We can also couple this with our advanced MDR solution to take full responsibility for the security of your network.

To learn more about how UncommonX can help your organization,contact our team of IT security experts today to request a demo of the BOSS XDR solution.


About the Author

At the center of our U.S.-based Security Operations Center (SOC) is a distinctly skilled team of security architects, engineers, analysts, and data scientists. Each is an expert in their respective field and dedicated to protecting our customers 24/7.