Industry Insights with Adam Mansour

Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) , Managed Detection & Response (MDR) , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development

MDR vs Managed EDR: The Two Meanings of Managed

Look Beyond the Endpoints
MDR vs Managed EDR: The Two Meanings of Managed

The path towards setting up managed cybersecurity services isn’t always clear or straightforward. Choosing the best option for your organization is a crucial decision.

See Also: AI-Driven Strategies for Effective Cyber Incident Recovery

Here’s some information about Managed EDR services provided by Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), and how they compare to the broader services offered by MDR.

What is Managed EDR?

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is an agent or application that runs on each endpoint in an organization. It curates log data from the endpoint and enables response actions. As the name implies, however, Managed EDR focuses only on the endpoint—where only a fraction of compromises occurs.

What is MDR?

Managed detection and response (MDR) looks beyond the endpoint to cover vectors across the network,cloud and (in some cases) mobile devices. With MDR in place to cover monitoring and response, organizations can proactively implement hardening efforts such as vulnerability prioritization, visibility, and machine-learning-enabled counters for ransomware.

While Managed EDR can help in many endpoint scenarios, it’s important to be aware that going beyond the endpoint with these additional scenarios allows MDR and extended detection and response (XDR) to offer broader cybersecurity coverage.

Managing Technology, or Managing Threats?

Managed EDR and MDR represent distinct approaches to security, and “managed” in each case means something different.

Managed EDR:

  • MSSPs focus on managing technology and keeping your systems running and up to date. Their solutions often include next-gen firewalls (replacing intrusion-prevention systems and URL filters, including those in cloud-based firewalls) and other prevention-focused tools that keep threats out of your environment.
  • MSSPs offering Managed EDR may take an approach that requires more input and action from your team, especially when you’re looking for specific outcomes.
  • MSSP contracts and service level agreements (SLAs) are usually task-based and may include clauses about response times to questions or alerts and about hardware replacement and/or ownership. MSSP contracts and SLAs may also limit the number of changes available or the ability to add or remove devices.
  • MSSPs shine if you’re looking for a partner to assist with setup and configuration of key services. They are also ideal for ensuring that your technologies are current and that they work without interruption.


  • MDR is a managed-outcome service focused on threats by helping IT and security leaders detect, contain, and respond to attacks. MDR services are proactive, pairing threat intelligence with threat hunting and other capabilities as they monitor clients’ environments for signs of attacks. When threats are detected, MDR services contain and mitigate the threat with an appropriate level of action.
  • MDR uses standardized workflows and procedures, reducing the demands on your team.
  • MDR shines when you’re not sure which technologies to implement. Looking for a service that can offer a robust, always-on response to threats across your endpoints, mobile devices, networks, and cloud services? MDR is an excellent choice.

Choosing the Right Cybersecurity Solution

Even though MSSPs often manage EDR for customers, their focus is on keeping the technology updated and working, and they are less likely to see the compromises and gaps that exist beyond the endpoint. And when MSSPs do uncover threats, they don’t take direct action, instead alerting the customer to a potential compromise.

MDR, on the other hand, treats the EDR sensor as just one of many sources of data. It then combines this information with other sources, such as cloud, network, or even XDR, to build a more holistic picture of the threat landscape. At ActZero, we believe that EDR truly comes into its own as part of a broader system, enabling the detection of and response to threats across multiple vectors.

To find the MDR service that best meets your organization’s needs, look for the best detection and response capabilities, as well as a service that won’t slow your systems down with needless alerts. Wondering how to choose the best cybersecurity option for your organization? Our latest eBook, MDR or MSSP for Cybersecurity, covers other traditional MSSP use cases including Managed SIEM, Managed Firewall, Managed IAM, and more.

About the Author

Adam Mansour

Adam Mansour

Chief Security Officer, ActZero

Mansour has over 15 years of experience in the cybersecurity sector. As chief security officer of ActZero, he drives the company's virtual chief information security officer and technology integration programs. His experience spans endpoint, network and cloud systems security; audits and architecture; building and managing SOCs; software development and resellership; healthcare, education, defense and financial organizations; and global enterprises of all sizes. Most recently, he served as VCISO at ActZero. Prior to that, Mansour was the founder and CTO of IntelliGO Networks (acquired by ActZero) and developed its proprietary MDR software. He also had key roles in managed security services for SIEM, NGFW and penetration testing performed by the company.

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