Tag Archive for: XDR

Decoding the Differences: MDR, XDR, and MEDR

As technology continues to advance and the threat landscape continues to evolve, many organizations are looking for a cybersecurity partner to help them stay protected. However, with so many different solutions on the market, it is crucial for organizations to stay informed and understand the different options available.

MDR, XDR, and MEDR are three commonly used acronyms in the cybersecurity industry – yet each describes different approaches to detecting and responding to cyberthreats. Despite the similar-sounding acronyms, there are important differences between these solutions. Before you select which is right for you, it is essential to understand what each one offers, so you can make an informed decisions about which approach is best for your organization.

What is Managed Detection and Response

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) MDR is a service providing an outcome. This comprehensive security solution utilizing a combination of vendor tools integrated with customer security tools and monitored by the providers Security Operations Center (SOC) security analysts and security engineers. MDR service providers give organizations with real-time visibility and control over their security posture, allowing them to quickly detect, respond to, and prevent cyber-attacks.

Benefits of MDR include:

  • Advanced threat detection: MDR leverages cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and behavioral analytics to identify potential security threats in real-time.
  • Rapid incident response: In the event of a security incident, MDR provides organizations with a dedicated team of security experts who can quickly assess the situation, contain the threat, and minimize the damage.
  • Managed security services: MDR services are delivered and managed by security experts, taking the burden of security management off the organization and freeing up valuable resources.
  • Real-time visibility and control: MDR provides organizations with real-time visibility into their security posture, enabling them to quickly identify and address potential threats.
  • Customized security solutions: MDR services can be tailored to meet the specific security needs of an organization, ensuring that their security posture is aligned with their overall business goals.

MDR is ideal for organizations of all sizes and industries and can be used to address a variety of security needs, including meeting compliance requirements, reducing the risk of a data breach, improving your overall security posture and streamlining security management to free up valuable resources internally.

What is Extended Detection and Response

Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is a security tool or platform that collects a set of logs and security events from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive view of an organization’s security posture. Paired with a set of basic use cases for threat detection, it can perform automated or centralized manual response action through integration with a set of endpoint protection / detection platforms, perimeter firewalls, or other security controls

An XDR platform is often considered a “SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) lite” with response automation capabilities. Often it is focused on a single vendor set of security tools for log collection, threat discovery, and automation to perform response actions. If the platform supports a broad number of vendors, it is often referred to as an Open XDR. MDR providers can leverage most major XDR tools. XDR capabilities have more recently been incorporated into SOAR (Security Orchestration and Automated Response) platforms.

Benefits of XDR include:

  • Rapid detection of threats: XDR enables organizations to detect and respond to security incidents in real-time.
  • Better visibility: By integrating data from multiple sources, XDR provides a more complete picture of an organization’s security posture
  • Advanced capabilities: XDR also provides advanced analytics and threat intelligence, allowing organizations to quickly identify and respond to emerging threats
  • Cost effectiveness: XDR tools may provide a more cost-effective solution for organizations, as it integrates multiple security solutions into one platform

However, it’s important to note that XDR solutions can be complex and require a significant investment in time and resources to implement and manage. Organizations must also have a strong security posture and expertise in place to effectively use XDR to detect and respond to security incidents. However, by integrating data from multiple sources and providing real-time detection and response capabilities, XDR can provide organizations with a comprehensive view of their security posture and enables them to respond to security incidents more effectively.

What is Managed Endpoint Detection and Response

Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) is an endpoint protection platform that can respond to compromises by performing actions like isolating an endpoint from the network, blocking a process, or removing artifacts by using a central EDR console. This solution is designed to monitor and detect threats on endpoint devices in real-time. There are also MEDR as a Service, which is often provided by an MDR provider that will manage the EDR platform rules, monitor and investigate advanced threats, and perform response actions to contain and remediate threats or compromises.

Benefits of MEDR include:

  • Real-time threat detection: MEDR monitors endpoint devices in real-time and can quickly detect and respond to threats before they become a problem.
  • Automated response: MEDR solutions can be programmed to automatically respond to security incidents, reducing the need for manual intervention and speeding up the response time.
  • Centralized management: MEDR solutions provide centralized management, making it easier to track and manage security incidents across multiple devices.
  • Cost savings: MEDR solutions can reduce costs by automating many manual processes and reducing the need for a large security team.

With the high number of endpoints in most organizations, having an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platform in place is critical to defend against a wide range of cyber threats, such as malware, ransomware, and advanced persistent threats (APTs). MEDR is particularly useful for large enterprises that have a large number of endpoint devices and require a centralized solution to manage security incidents. Having an MEDR solution, or MEDR as a Service, allows large organizations to better protect themselves with automated remediations against high fidelity threats.

What’s the Difference?

In conclusion, MDR, XDR, and MEDR are all valuable security solutions that can help organizations detect and respond to security threats. The best solution will depend on the specific security needs of an organization. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each solution and choose the solution that best meets the organization’s specific security needs.

As cyber threats continue to evolve, it’s increasingly important for organizations to understand the various security solutions that are available to help protect against these threats. MDR, XDR, and MEDR are all valuable solutions that can help organizations detect and respond to security incidents, but they each have different strengths and weaknesses. By understanding these solutions and choosing the best one for their specific needs, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

Proficio offers a wide range of cybersecurity services to help your organization stay better protected. To learn how Proficio can help you, contact us.

Proficio Extends Industry Leading XDR Offering with Push-Button Threat Response

CARLSBAD   August 17, 2022 – Proficio, a leading Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service provider, today announced the addition of an innovative new feature to their threat response offering. Proficio’s Active Defense offering now includes automated response and a new push-button response feature. These capabilities work with clients’ existing security tools to contain attacks at the perimeter, endpoint, cloud, and identity layer.

Active Defense XDR, was developed to provide an added layer of protection by instantly containing high-fidelity threats without human intervention. With the addition of the push-button feature, Proficio clients can now respond even quicker to potential threats – taking action at the click of a button, either within the Proficio Incident Case Management ITSM portal or on their workstation, tablet or mobile phone. Depending on the attack vector and use cases that trigger a response, the new push-button approach allows for threat responders within Proficio’s SOC team or a client’s security team to undertake further validation before taking an action like isolating an endpoint or suspending a user account.

“Proficio has always been known for our innovation and was the first in our category to truly offer the “response” capability that is a critical part of Managed Detection and Response (MDR),” says Brad Taylor, CEO of Proficio. “Many of our clients do not have a staff on 24/7, which is why they partner with Proficio. With these new capabilities, we have taken our response capabilities to a new level and given our clients even more peace of mind that their networks are protected around the clock.”

Proficio continues to invest in their MDR capabilities, adding enhancements including data enrichment of alert notifications, so Proficio’s SOC team can more efficiently respond to alerts and provide quick actions for critical threats. With Proficio’s robust service offering, which includes Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM), Identity Threat Detection and Response, and Managed Infrastructure Services, their clients have access to a full-service cybersecurity solution that can be customized to fit their security and compliance needs.

About Proficio

Founded in 2010, Proficio is an award-winning managed detection and response (MDR) service provider. We help prevent cybersecurity breaches by performing and enabling responses to attacks, compromises, and policy violations. We have been recognized in Gartner’s Market Guide for MDR services annually since 2017. Our team of experts provides 24/7 security monitoring and alerting from global security operations centers (SOCs) in San Diego, Barcelona, and Singapore.  www.proficio.com

Kim Maibaum

The Cybersecurity Acronym Overload

What is the difference between an MSSP and an MDR service provider (and everything in between)?

As any industry evolves, it is common for new categories of products and services to proliferate. In the case of cybersecurity services, many of the new services have been introduced to respond to the evolving threat landscape or to support new technologies – but in some respects, it’s also become a way for vendors to differentiate themselves.

So, it is not surprising that questions like, “what is the difference between an MSSP and an MDR service provider,” and “what is a SOC-as-a-Service provider” are some of the top managed security services Google searches.

As a co-founder of Proficio I have a unique perspective on how this proliferation of labels came about and what the future holds.

People, Process and Technology

These three pillars are the building blocks of a security operations. People, process, and technology are the threads that run through MSSP, MSS, SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS), MDR, and XDR services. However, many organizations are constrained by a limited budget to achieve desirable cybersecurity outcomes which is why the managed security services industry exists.

Let’s quickly put some context around each:

People: Cybersecurity-Skills-Gap

The difficulty of hiring and retaining cybersecurity experts is one of the primary motivations behind outsourcing security operations to service providers. People challenges are due in part to the cyber skills gap and in part a function of scale. Large organizations are better able to staff a 24/7 SOC (requires a minimum team of 10 to 12 people) and train their teams on technologies like AI, next-generation endpoint software, and cloud infrastructures. Medium-sized organizations (and smaller) are often not be big enough to dedicate headcount to specialist roles like SIEM Administrator, Content Developer, Incident Responder, or Data Scientist.


Process is the glue that ensures consistent and effective action. Process encompasses the definition of roles and responsibilities, workflow, policies and procedures, and more. The time and effort needed to harden and document processes is frequently underestimated. Look back in time at some of the largest security breaches and you will find process issues in many cases. The 2013 data breach of the retail giant Target is a prime example. While multiple issues related to this breach, the fact that Target’s SOC did not respond to FireEye alerts resulted in the breach being undetected. How an indicator of compromise is investigated and remediated is fundamentally a process issue.


Technology is the third building block supporting security operations. Building and managing a technology stack for cybersecurity is challenging and doubly difficult for organizations with limited resources. The complexity of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software is often sufficient reason for businesses to turn to managed service providers. SIEM systems collect event logs from an organization’s network, endpoints, cloud infrastructure and security tools. Log data is analyzed and alerts are generated for further investigation and remediation. However, the quality of security alerts is only as good as the data ingested by the system, alongside the rules and use cases used to filter and prioritize the alerts. While there are tips to maximizing the value of your SIEM, time erodes the efficacy of a SIEM; products and log formats will change, new threats make old rules irrelevant, and the experts that originally set up the SIEM often move on to greener pastures.

What is a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)?

The role of an MSSP starts with log management, as collecting and retaining logs is a requirement for compliance mandates like PCI and HIPAA. But before centralized log management, the event data collected from each security device was siloed. As a result, if a firewall engineer saw an alert for a port scan and a Windows administrator saw failed login attempts followed by a successful login, they may not realize that the same host is involved in both events. Minimally, an MSSP is responsible for alerting their clients to threats and suspicious events with the goal of reducing the risk of a security breach. MSSPs offer a wide range of capabilities including vulnerability management, incident response, and pen testing.

According to Wikipedia, “the roots of MSSPs are in the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the mid to late 1990s. Initially, ISP(s) would sell customers a firewall appliance, as customer premises equipment (CPE), and for an additional fee would manage the customer-owned firewall.” Today, MSSPs continue to manage security products such as firewalls, IDS/IPS, and WAFs on behalf of their clients. The management of security devices typically includes making configuration changes, patching, tuning, and health and performance monitoring. Managed Security Services (MSS) has been used to connote both device management and the security monitoring functions offered by MSSPs.

The terms fully managed and co-managed describe the service models used by MSSPs. Fully managed applies where security technologies, like SIEM software, are owned and operated by the MSSP and used for the benefit of their clients who are users of security information. A co-managed approach provides the client more control, for example a SIEM owned by the client where the MSSP and the client share administrative responsibilities.

What is SOC-as-a-Service? Difference-between-MSSP-and-MDR

The term SOC-as-a-Service was created “to describe how clients benefit from 24/7 monitoring and the same advanced threat detection technology that is used in sophisticated SOCs serving large enterprises and governments.” In 2010, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) was already a significant industry with adoption being driven by the advantages of an on-demand, subscription model with no dependency on the existing IT infrastructure.

SOC-as-a-Service or SOCaaS is a logical extension of the SaaS where SIEM software is delivered as a service, and instead of staffing up an in-house SOC, multiple clients share the capabilities of a 24/7 SOC responsible for threat detection, altering, and response.

The goal for many SOC-as-a-Service providers, like Proficio, is to provide businesses the same quality of service that a large enterprise receives in-house, at an affordable price. This requires a true partnership with clients and the flexibility to act as an extension of their IT security team.

So how does SOC-as-a-Service differ from the offerings of an MSSP and what sort of business should use it? SOC-as-a-Service focuses on fully managed cloud-based services which are ideal for small to medium-sized organizations. Vendors providing SOC-as-a-Service are less likely to work with client-owned SIEMs and manage security devices, but this is not an absolute rule.

While SOCaaS providers offer many of the same capabilities as MSSPs, they are less likely to manage security devices and may not support as broad a set of log sources.

What is the difference between an MSSP and an MDR service provider?

MDR service providers offer more advanced threat detection and response capabilities than MSSPs. Key capabilities to expect from MDRs include:

When Gartner issued their first Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services, they categorized MSSPs as being more focused on monitoring perimeter security and lacking threat detection capabilities for the cloud and endpoints. Gartner also posited that MSSPs are more focused on meeting compliance requirements than MDRs. Fewer MDRs manage security devices – a service offered by many MSSPs.

MDRs must continue to adapt to new challenges to meet the demands of a Next-Generation MDR Service Provider.

What is an XDR Service

XDR is a new evolution of MDR, that includes threat detection and response capabilities. The X stands for eXtended capabilities, that go beyond EDR. XDR integrates multiple security control points (endpoint, network, cloud, email, authentication) to automate threat detection and response. The concept of XDR has been promoted by leading industry analysts (notably Gartner) and is starting to be adopted, and perhaps hyped, by vendors.

You might ask, how is XDR different from SOAR? Both approaches apply use cases to log data to trigger automation and orchestrations. However, XDR will have broader integration among security controls using native APIs. For example, where an event might result in SOAR triggering containment of an endpoint and even orchestrating a remediation workflow, XDR could also automate responses from other layers of security such as blacklisting the source of malware at the perimeter.

One challenge for prospective users of XDR is they risk being locked into a single vendor solution. Most enterprises have multiple existing security vendors and unless they are already budgeted for a broad refresh, adopting this approach may be a protracted and expensive process.

Proficio and others are addressing the shortfall of XDR with Open XDR. Like XDR, Open XDR  integrates multiple layers of security while also supporting more than one vendor for each control point to provide customers with more flexibility and security.

What Does it All Mean? MSSP and MDR business person question marks

When you think to yourself, “what is the difference between an MSSP and an MDR service provider?”, it’s obvious there is no clear-cut answer. There continues to be some fluidity around the labels used to describe the providers of managed security services or security tools. Buyers of these services need to assess if the core capabilities of a prospective partner complement their existing capabilities and align with their goals.


Here are 5 areas to explore:

  1. Compliance

If your organization must adhere to one or more compliance mandates, validate the service achieves that goal. Can your MSSP or MDR retain logs for the required period? Does your MSSP or MDR support industry specific requirements such as file integrity monitoring in the case of PCI? These are important criteria to discuss before selecting a partner.

  1. Threat Discovery

Effective threat detection is a precondition to protecting your organization from damaging cyberattacks. Understand how the provider uses threat intelligence, security analytics, and automation for cost effective threat discovery and what expert human resources are applied to event investigations and threat hunting. Determine what is important for you and realistic within your budget.

  1. Response Automation

The ability to rapidly contain a threat is a good reason to select a specific MDR service provider. Some MDR providers support third party SOAR products and others offer automated response using native capabilities in their threat management platform. But don’t assume anything – you should always validate that the MDR provider supports your preferred endpoint and firewall vendors. Before implementing, it is also important to check that you have organizational buy in to automating changes to endpoints or network configurations.

  1. Technology Stack

Whichever label your vendor uses to describe their services, they will come to you with a predefined technology stack. This will affect how well your existing and planned technologies integrate with your provider. For example, your provider may support one or several SIEM vendors or they may have developed their own threat management platform. Ask if your vendor requires you to install a hardware sensor or add endpoint agents; these requirements can create network clutter and negatively impact performance and compactivity. Not all vendors are able to parse data from critical points of telemetry in your environment or support automation and orchestration for your existing security products.

  1. Control

Ask yourself how much control you need of the infrastructure and data involved in security operations. Do you want to use your own SIEM or do you prefer a platform hosted by your managed security service provider? Will this change in the future? Do you need to own the log data that has been collected? How important is it to have the ability to do granular searching and run reports with the providers system? Conventional wisdom is organizations are willing to devolve control to reduce cost and complexity, but this should be a conscious decision.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a cybersecurity partner is a major decision. Proficio has been acting an extension of our clients’ team to help them achieve their cybersecurity goals for over 10 years. If you’re currently using, or considering using, an MDR Service Provider, download our MDR Checklist to ensure you’re getting an effective service. Tune into our video podcast series called Cyber Chats to hear industry experts discuss cybersecurity issues and best practices. If there’s anything more we can do to help, please let us know.