Endpoint Detection & Response Beats Antivirus. But Is It Enough?

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Cybercrime used to be a problem only for large businesses, but those days are past. Small- and medium-sized businesses are attractive targets for cybercriminals, with SMBs accounting for 28% of data breaches (Verizon, 2020), possibly because 23% of SMBs don’t use any type of endpoint security tools. What’s more frightening is 32% of SMBs that do use endpoint protection, use free, consumer-grade software. (BullGuard, 2020)

2020 provided a “perfect storm” of circumstances which has increased the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks on businesses of all sizes: a slowing global economy, growing awareness of unprotected data and suspect cybersecurity practices, and the rise of the remote workforce.  

One technology used to mitigate cybercrime is Endpoint Detection and Response. But is it enough?

What is EDR?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a tool that is installed on an organization’s endpoints (laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, IoT devices) that continuously monitors behavioral data to detect and respond to security threats. EDR uses analytics to identify patterns and detect suspicious behavior, prevent malicious activity, and provide remediation to affected endpoints. Endpoint Detection and Response also collects and stores behavioral data for future analysis and reporting.

Why is EDR Important?

EDR provides a more complete awareness of the endpoints in your technology environment than traditional security tools such as antivirus. Endpoint Detection and Response detects and protects against advanced forms of malware, credential and login theft, phishing attempts, and other advanced persistent threats. Whereas antivirus tools protect against known malware signatures, EDR is designed to recognize unknown types of malware based on their behavior, and then make decisions to prevent malicious actions.

Limitations of Antivirus

Antivirus software is a security tool that relies on an always-growing database of malware signatures to provide protection, but this approach has several serious limitations:

  • New or emerging threats: Antivirus cannot detect or prevent threats that do not match an existing signature or zero-day attacks. Even a small change to well-known malware can go undetected. Endpoint Detection and Response can detect new or unknown threats as well as insider threats, whether malicious or accidental.
  • Inadequate insight: Antivirus is focused on prevention, and not on detection and investigation. EDR can detect unauthorized activity on your endpoints and within your network. EDR is also invaluable in forensic investigations and can show an attacker’s path of compromise, or “kill chain.”
  • Credential theft: Compromised logins cannot be detected by antivirus tools. Endpoint Detection and Response relies on behavioral analysis and can detect when a hacker logs in from a different location or at suspicious times of the day.
  • It’s not failsafe: Antivirus effectiveness has declined as cybercriminals have found new ways to compromise devices and systems, but many organizations still feel a false sense of security with the inadequate protection that antivirus provides.

Benefits of EDR

  • Data Collection: EDR continuously collects and analyzes data on all endpoints, which helps identify threats in real-time, and facilitates investigations and incident response.
  • Detects all endpoint threatsBecause EDR uses behavioral analytics instead of relying on known threat signatures, it can better identifypotential threats.
  • Real-time response: Endpoint Detection and Response provides real-time response to potential security threats and isolates endpoints for immediate recovery, to clean and block suspicious files, and to take forensic snapshots for later analysis.
  • Understand how safe you are: EDR helps create a clearer picture of the security status of an organization by identifying areas that may be vulnerable to attack and which endpoints are secure and uncompromised. Lack of visibility into security compromises is a large reason why many organizations struggle to understand the scope and impact of a cyber-attack.
  • Regulatory compliance: Endpoint Detection and Response also allows a business to report on its security compliance status for SOX, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.
  • Compatibility with other security tools: EDR works in concert with other security tools such as SIEM, firewalls, etc., to provide layered cybersecurity.

Considerations of EDR

Endpoint Detection and Response is not a one-and-done security tool; it is most effective when combined with other security strategies and managed by security experts.

  • EDR creates more data: More data means more analysis; and that requires trained security specialists, additional storage, time, and money.
  • Threats will still exist: No security tool provides 100% protection, not even EDR.
  • Will EDR cover everything?: EDR can be installed on servers and endpoints alike, but make sure it will work with all of your IoT devices or older operating systems. 

Endpoints Are Crucial – Make Sure They are Protected

Endpoints are a large attack vector, and with work-from-home and remote workforces increasing, Endpoint Detection and Response is crucial to limiting the security risk of an organization’s endpoints. It is a cybersecurity must-have for any company facing security threats – which is every company!

Fortress Security Risk Management is a global data protection company that helps organizations dramatically minimize their risk of disruption from unforeseen events like cyber-attacks and data breaches by providing industry-best EDR services, as well as other cybersecurity services from our 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC). Our goal is to help every client secure their future with the highest degree of security and the least amount of risk.