Research Hub > What’s Best for My Organization: EDR, XDR, SIEM or EUBA?
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What’s Best for My Organization: EDR, XDR, SIEM or EUBA?

Understanding the differences between EDR, MDR, XDR, SIEM and EUBA is crucial for selecting the right tools for your security posture. Here's a breakdown of each and trends you should know about.

Managed security services providers (MSSP) are often asked a simple question. What is the difference between endpoint detection and response (EDR), extended detection and response (XDR), security information event management (SIEM), entity and user behavior analytics (EUBA), and managed detection and response (MDR), and which one is best?

While the question is easy to ask, it can be hard to answer — unless "it depends" counts.

Understanding the differences between EDR, MDR, XDR, SIEM and EUBA is crucial for selecting the right tools for your security posture. Below is a breakdown of each.

Endpoint detection and response (EDR)  
EDR technologies are platforms that focus on protecting endpoints — servers, laptops, desktops and mobile devices — from cybersecurity threats. EDR platforms monitor endpoint and network events for analysis, detection, investigation, reporting and alerting. EDR can include threat hunting, detection and response to advanced threats at the endpoint level. Most EDR solutions use behavioral analysis and machine learning to identify suspicious activities.

Extended detection and response (XDR)
XDR technologies are an evolution of EDR, designed to provide a more comprehensive security solution by integrating data from multiple security components — endpoints, networks, email, servers, cloud workloads and others — to improve threat detection and response. XDR platforms aggregate and correlate data from various sources to detect sophisticated attacks and offer automated response capabilities. XDR aims to extend detection and response capabilities across the entire IT ecosystem, providing a unified view and a more effective security posture.

Security information and event management (SIEM)  
SIEM technologies are designed for real-time visibility across the organization's information security attack surface, and they aggregate and analyze log data from security-relevant sources such as network devices, systems, applications and more. They specialize in data aggregation. 

Entity and user behavior analytics (EUBA)
EUBA technologies focus on detecting insider threats, compromised accounts and targeted cyberattacks by analyzing the behavior of users and entities such as hosts, applications and devices within an organization. EUBA systems use advanced analytics, including machine learning and statistical analysis, to establish baselines of normal activity and identify deviations that could indicate malicious or risky behavior. EUBA can be a standalone solution or part of other security platforms. It provides insights that help in the early detection of sophisticated, low-and-slow threats that other tools might miss.

Managed detection and response (MDR)
MDR services overlay monitoring and management on top of technologies like EDR, MDR, SIEM and EUBA. MSSPs use technology, established operational processes, and human expertise to detect, analyze and respond to threats. The services often extend beyond endpoints, including networks, cloud environments, firewalls, email, active directories and other IT systems. MDR is particularly beneficial for organizations that lack the resources or expertise to manage security operations in-house. It focuses on technology and the human element — expert analysts who can interpret and respond to complex threats. It combines expert staff with established runbooks, automation, orchestration, operational discipline and 24x7x365 coverage.

The Difference Between EDR, MDR, XDR, SIEM and EUBA

So, how are each of these tools different?

  • EDR targets endpoint security with detection and response capabilities.
  • XDR integrates data from multiple security components, including endpoints, networks and the cloud, for improved detection and response.
  •  SIEM aggregates and analyzes log data across the IT environment for security management, compliance and event correlation.
  • EUBA specifically analyzes user and entity behaviors to detect insider threats and compromised accounts.
  • MDR is a service provided by a technology vendor or an MSSP that manages and monitors these security technologies 24/7.

Which Security Tool Is Best for My Organization?

The question of which solution is "best" cannot be answered universally as it depends on your specific security requirements, existing security posture and the threats you are most concerned with.

Here are some best practices to help you explore the best option for your organization:

  • EDR is essential for organizations looking to protect their endpoints from advanced threats.
  • XDR offers a more integrated approach than EDR alone for comprehensive threat detection and response across all IT layers.
  • For compliance and broad security management, SIEM is invaluable for organizations that must correlate and analyze data from various sources for compliance reporting and security event management.
  • For insider threat detection and behavior analysis, EUBA adds a layer of security that focuses on detecting anomalies in user and entity behavior that other tools might miss. This is especially important if your threat landscape is at risk for compromised credentials. Companies with large cloud deployments or heavy reliance on software-as-a-service should implement EUBA.
  • For organizations without the staff or expertise to maximize security technology, MDRs or MSSPs provide external expertise and operational efficiencies.

Take an Integrated Approach to Cybersecurity

In practice, these solutions are not mutually exclusive and are often most effective when used together as part of a layered security strategy.

For example, a robust cybersecurity posture might include:

  • EDR for endpoint protection
  • XDR for broad detection and response capabilities
  • SIEM for log management and compliance
  • EUBA for behavioral analysis
  • MDR/MSSP services manage and optimize these technologies, providing additional benefits such as threat intelligence feeds, automation and orchestration, and mature ticketing systems.

The best choice depends on aligning the solution with your security needs, resources and threat landscape. It's also crucial to consider the integration capabilities of these solutions to ensure they can work cohesively to enhance your organization's overall security posture.

The Top 3 Cybersecurity Trends You Should Know About

Cybersecurity technologies are constantly changing and improving, making it challenging to find the perfect combination of security solutions. Here are three top trends that can be beneficial. However, new technology also brings new risks and complexity if it is not properly deployed and managed.

1.     XDR data lakes
The discussion around XDR data lakes potentially replacing SIEM systems is ongoing. Both technologies serve critical roles in security posture but approach data management, threat detection and response differently. The trend is to use both in a complementary manner, leveraging the strengths of each depending on the organization's unique security requirements, existing infrastructure and specific threat landscape. As cybersecurity threats evolve, so will the tools and technologies developed to combat them, leading to further integration and possibly new solutions that blend the benefits of SIEM and XDR.

2.     Observability and granularity of log ingestion
The observability and granularity in log ingestion allow organizations to understand and manage their IT environments deeply. Tools like Cribl provide detailed control over data, from ingestion to analysis, thereby enhancing operational efficiency, security and compliance. The flexibility to route logs to the best platform and archive them on cost-effective storage adds functionality with the potential for significant savings.

3.     Security automation, orchestration and response (SOAR)
SOAR enhances cybersecurity efficiency by automating threat detection and response processes, reducing response times, standardizing security tasks, improving team coordination and enabling a more proactive defense posture. It allows for more effective management of complex security environments, optimizing resources and enhancing overall security resilience. SOAR is most valuable in environments with a high level of maturity, selecting automation based on metrics, ticket close codes and incident volumes.

If you need help determining the best security solution for your organization, CDW’s Managed Security Services experts can assess your needs and recommend options tailored to your unique requirements. To learn more, visit our website or contact us at 800-800-4239.


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Robert McFarlane

Managed Svc Sol Sales Spec
Robert McFarlane joined CDW in 2018 and serves as MSSP practice lead focused on 24/7 operational support for key security technologies.