EDR, XDR vs MDR Security Services: What MSPs and MSSPs Need to Know

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Cybersecurity solutions are quickly becoming a staple in any managed service offering. In an increasingly competitive market, however, it can be difficult to make informed decisions about which solutions best fit client needs. This is especially true for “detection and response” solutions; endpoint detection and response (EDR), extended detection and response (XDR), managed detection and response (MDR), which one is right for a managed services business?

Spoiler alert: There is no easy answer. It might be right for your managed service provider (MSP) or managed security service provider (MSSP) business to offer one, two or all three solution types. It all depends on the depth of cybersecurity your organization is equipped to provide.

EDR vs. XDR vs. MDR

EDR, XDR and MDR refer to different types of cybersecurity solutions as opposed to distinct products or brands. For example, EDR solutions gather and analyze data from endpoints (user devices, servers, cloud workloads, etc.) to pinpoint security incidents and recommend remedial actions. XDR solutions represent an extension of this technology (hence the name), taking additional security layers such as email and networks into account to provide a more holistic view of an organization’s environment.

MDR, on the other hand, denotes either technology delivered as a managed service. Both EDR and XDR solutions can therefore be packaged and offered to clients as MDR.

Why would MSPs/MSSPs use MDR?

MSPs and MSSPs could both use MDR for its own purposes — leveraging an external partner to offload security activities such as incident triage or advanced threat response — or offer it to clients, taking on security monitoring and response for customers. An MSP or MSSP could also use an external partner to facilitate MDR delivery for clients by the same token.

Reasons why service providers might choose to use MDR include:

  • Talent shortages. Cybersecurity talent is hard to come by, making third-party resources both affordable and attractive by comparison.
  • Greater visibility. Even with a robust XDR solution, one security team can only investigate and respond to so many alerts; MDR helps security teams be more efficient despite a larger scope.
  • Scalability. As demand for cybersecurity services grow, managed solutions can make it easier for providers to serve more clients, without also increasing their risk.

Deciding whether or not to venture down the MDR path is purely up to you as a provider. If you’re an experienced MSSP with ample human resources and expertise delivering cybersecurity solutions for a range of businesses, maybe you already offer MDR — be it through EDR or XDR solutions — to clients. Maybe you offer standalone security solutions and simply aren’t interested in additionally managing them on behalf of clients.

Providers just breaking into the managed cybersecurity game, on the other hand, might see MDR as a leg up on the market. While you build the necessary infrastructure to support EDR or XDR services in-house, offering MDR through a partner can fill in clients’ security gaps in the meantime.

Solving the detection and response riddle

In addition to potentially providing MDR that MSPs and MSSPs can offer clients, an experienced cloud solutions partner can help navigate which type of detection and response would yield the greatest return for your business. Furthermore, the right partner can outfit your organization with training and enablement resources to help you build a stronger cybersecurity practice.


Explore Sherweb’s Partner Guide for more information about how a value-added cloud solutions partner can benefit your business. You can also check out their portfolio of cybersecurity solutions, hand-selected for MSP clients. Read more Sherweb guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.

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