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Cloud detection and response: CDR vs. EDR vs. NDR vs. XDR

Cloud detection and response is the latest detection and response abbreviation. Explore how it differs from endpoint, network and extended detection and response.

So many abbreviations, so little time.

The information security field has more abbreviations than ever, further highlighting the complexity and growth of the IT landscape as it expands between on-premises and cloud environments.

The detection and response category of tools has seen significant growth, with the emergence of endpoint detection and response (EDR), which focuses on workloads; network detection and response (NDR), which focuses on network activity; and extended detection and response (XDR), which evolves both EDR and NDR and includes SIEM.

Now up to bat is cloud detection and response (CDR), which shifts gears into the cloud.

How CDR differs from EDR, NDR and XDR

CDR includes some elements of EDR, NDR and XDR, but with a cloud twist. The most significant difference between CDR and the other three is reliance on the cloud fabric itself, which provides a guardrail of automated software-based security control application.

One of the hallmarks of CDR is automation through cloud provider services and APIs. CDR also focuses on large-scale event processing and automated risk analysis through machine learning and analytics.

The following are other key differences between CDR and other detection and response options:

  • Comprehensive focus. CDR encompasses all aspects of cloud security visibility to facilitate detection and response across an interconnected cloud fabric. To this end, CDR is most similar to XDR, which incorporates EDR and NDR with SIEM to provide a more thorough range of detection and response capabilities and controls. CDR includes cloud workloads of all types -- VMs, containers and serverless -- as well as cloud networking, storage nodes and more.
  • Automated detection and response. The cloud, as a software-defined infrastructure, has many APIs available and opportunities to automate both detection and response capabilities. CDR continuously evaluates network traffic and workload events, sending alerts to a central console. CDR can trigger automated response actions to quarantine workloads, adapt network access controls, isolate assets and network zones, and even tear down and rebuild workloads from approved images.
  • Cloud-centric risk monitoring and reporting. The cloud offers innumerable configuration options and controls, which can easily be misconfigured and attacked. CDR continuously evaluates the configuration of the cloud itself -- beyond just assets deployed there -- to provide up-to-date reporting on risks that stem from poorly configured services and assets.
  • Cloud-specific workload protection. In traditional data centers, EDR primarily focuses on physical and virtual endpoints and servers. In the cloud, workloads can be VMs, containers or serverless, meaning attack surfaces and patterns are likely to differ from traditional on-premises infrastructure models. CDR tools can accommodate these workload models to detect cloud-specific attack patterns such as identity and access management privilege escalation, abuse of cloud APIs and more.
  • Cloud big data processing. One common challenge with cloud event management is the sheer quantity of data produced and how to manage and sift through it. Using machine learning models, CDR platforms and services should be capable of culling less relevant data and correlating the most important information to provide insights into cloud attacks. Given the velocity of cloud changes and deployments, any CDR service should be capable of rapid analysis and alerting, too.

In many ways, CDR reflects a combination of other detection and response services, but cloud is a different environment that demands a different level of focus on visibility and API-driven automation. Accordingly, those are the key differences in CDR versus EDR, NDR and XDR.

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