Thursday, February 22, 2024

EDR vs. NDR vs. XDR: Which Should You Use?

Datamation content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Endpoint detection and response (EDR), network detection and response (NDR), and extended detection and response (XDR) are closely related categories of threat detection technology. Each of these tools can detect and respond to cyberattacks originating from a variety of sources, but they vary in their sophistication. 

This guide will help you understand how these tools often complement one another within an overarching network security approach. 

  • EDR is best suited for organizations that need to oversee many endpoints, though it is rarely used as a standalone network security solution.
  • NDR is best used when packet inspection is important to an organization, as this tool provides more context versus EDR and XDR.
  • XDR is best used in larger network architectures that could benefit from a centralized, unified approach to threat detection.
For more information, also see: Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

Featured Partners: EDR Software

Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)

EDR, as the name implies, protects networks at each connected endpoint, reducing the risk of network breach and attacks that occur at these oft-targeted locations.These systems identify tangible changes at the endpoint level. In modern enterprise networks, there can be hundreds or even thousands of endpoints connected to networked devices, including IoT devices like sensors and communication devices deployed in the field. 

Advanced EDR systems utilize tools like machine learning and AI to uncover new threats and suspicious behavior and activity. 

EDR Pros

Better protection of endpoints improves organizations’ overall security postures. Bad actors frequently target endpoints, so more protection at these vulnerable network connections is an overall positive. As valuable as EDR tools are, however, most organizations will require additional network security tools as well. This is especially true with more employees working remotely and in hybrid setups.

XDR, outlined below, may provide the best solution for these situations. 

EDR Cons

One significant limitation of EDR is that the detection logs generated by these tools do not always trigger alerts. Organizations will need to perform periodic, manual reviews of endpoint data to prevent cyber attacks. Also, EDR on its own often cannot be deployed on all devices, including many BYOD and IoT devices or in environments like the public cloud. Threat actors seek out these gaps in visibility, looking for opportunities to exploit these vulnerabilities. 

EDR Deployment Methods

EDR is typically deployed in one of two environments: on premise and via the cloud. 

On premise deployment works best for relatively small organizations whose assets are all located in the same geography, especially those that want to keep their data within reach. However, this approach is limited in that EDR deployed on premise can’t support real-time behavioral analysis. Also, the updating process can become laborious and time-consuming. This is also the more expensive option. 

EDR deployed in the cloud offers several advantages over on premise deployment, including more scalability, integrity, flexibility and better overall manageability. However, cloud-based EDR may not offer the same level of security, especially related to industry regulations around data privacy. 

For more information, also see: What is Big Data Security?

EDR integrations

Top rated EDR vendors that provide EDR integration include:

EDR average price

EDR is usually priced per endpoint, per month, with fees starting around $10 per endpoint/per month. 

For more information, also see: Why Firewalls are Important for Network Security

Network Detection & Response (NDR)

NDR is unique to EDR and XDR in that it centers on the analysis of packet data located in network traffic versus endpoints or other data streams to uncover potential cyber threats. Packets contain a wealth of valuable information. 

NDR works by continuously monitoring and recording network traffic, in search of reliable patterns of expected network behavior. NDR uses that pattern to analyze packet data for anomalies of threats and then either alerts the security team or mitigates threats automatically.

Often, NDR solutions are packaged alongside other tools like security information and event management (SIEM) products and EDR, elevating the effectiveness of those cyber security tools by helping to reduce blind spots across a given network. 

NDR Pros

NDR increases security capabilities by equipping security teams with more network context and automated threat response. This contributes to better collaboration between network and security teams, and most important, quicker mitigation of threats and attacks. 

A key benefit of using NDR is the forensic information these systems can provide. Reports generated by NDR can help security determine how malware breached a network initially, information that can then be applied to mitigation solutions. 

NDR can uncover newer and more evolved malware, including polymorphic malware. It can also target so-called weaponized AI. 

NDR Cons

NDR does come with some limitations. First, these solutions can only analyze network logs — NDR cannot monitor or track endpoint events like process details, registry changes, or system commands. NDR is also unable to examine some cloud or identity data and some other sources of security information. 

These limitations underscore why NDR, like EDR, is not generally utilized as a stand alone security solution. It is a tool that can enhance an overarching security approach. 

NDR Deployment Methods

Like EDR, NDR can be deployed on premise and via cloud-based solutions, depending on organizational needs. 

On premise NDR deployment is better suited for organizations whose assets are all located in the same geography, especially those that want to keep their data within reach. Like EDR, updating NDR can become laborious and time-consuming and is the more expensive option versus cloud-based deployment. 

NDR can also be deployed in the cloud, which offers several advantages — more scalability, integrity, flexibility and better overall manageability. However, cloud-based NDR is, again, not as secure as on premise deployment and may not be well suited for organizations that need to adhere to various data privacy regulations. 

NDR integrations

Top rated NDR vendors that provide NDR integration include:

NDR Average Price

NDR is typically priced per user, per month, starting around $20 per user, per month for medium sized organizations. 

For more information, also see: What is Firewall as a Service? 

Extended Detection & Response (XDR)

Of the three threat detection approaches compared here, XDR is most advanced and, unsurprisingly, provides the most holistic protection against cyber attacks.

One way to think of XDR is that is, in many ways, an evolution of EDR and NDR that integrates network, application, and cloud data sources to respond quickly and effectively to threats, as they emerge. There are three main XDR platform categories:

  • Native XDR, which works exclusively with products from a single vendor.
  • Open XDR, which works with all vendors.
  • Hybrid XDR, which is capable of integrating data from some outside vendors, with limitations.

XDR Pros

XDR solutions are more proactive when it comes to threat detection and response. These platforms centralize visibility across multiple data streams, including endpoint data, network data, and cloud data. Used alongside tools like SIEM and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR), XDR is capable of addressing very complex threats. 

XDR Cons

While XDR is attractive to organizations seeking to centralize cyber security oversight across multiple data types, most will still want to tap into the context provided by tools like NDR. 

XDR solutions can be expensive, even beyond the actual platform and vendor agreement. Organizations may need to retrain employees or hire expert staff to run these tools because they are more complex to deploy and maintain. As the cyber threatscape evolves, XDR will need to be enhanced periodically as well, which will incur additional costs. 

XDR Deployment Methods

Like NDR and EDR, XDR can be deployed on premise, in the cloud, or via a hybrid arrangement. Most organizations investing in a solution like XDR will deploy into a hybrid environment. 

Top rated XDR vendors that provide XDR integration include:

XDR Average Price

Similar to NDR, XDR is usually priced per user (or license), per month, starting at around $60 per user/month. 

For more information, also see: How to Secure a Network: 9 Steps

Bottom line: EDR vs. NDR vs. XDR

While all three threat detection solutions do, in fact, work to detect threats, EDR, NDR, and XDR vary in their capabilities.

EDR can monitor and mitigate endpoint attacks, but is limited in scope. At the other end of the threat detection spectrum, XDR offers benefits like a more unified platform approach — however, XDR reporting often lacks the network context available through an NDR solution that offers real-time packet monitoring. 

Many large organizations need solutions that incorporate both network and endpoint data monitoring with other, overarching security tools in order to gain a true, real-time viewpoint of network behavior. A comprehensive enterprise security solution often includes NDR, EDR, XDR, SIEM, and SOAR. 

On a related topic, also see: Top Cybersecurity Software

Subscribe to Data Insider

Learn the latest news and best practices about data science, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, data security, and more.

Similar articles

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Data Insider for top news, trends & analysis

Latest Articles