Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a term used to describe a category of security solutions that focus on identifying and responding to threats on devices such as laptops, desktops and servers. EDR solutions are designed to supplement traditional antivirus (AV) software by providing greater visibility into malware activity on endpoints and the ability to take action in real-time.
What is EDR in cyber security — and why is it so important? The growth of remote work and the "always-on" mentality have increased the number of devices that are potential entry points for attackers. In a world where employees are working from home, traveling or using public Wi-Fi networks, traditional AV software is no longer enough to protect endpoints. EDR solutions can help fill this security gap by providing visibility into malicious activity on devices, regardless of where they are located.
EDR solutions can be deployed as a standalone product or as part of a larger security suite. They are typically used to protect devices that are connected to the internet and contain sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or patient information. EDR solutions can also be used to protect corporate networks from attacks that originate from within the organization.
EDR solutions can also play a critical role in incident response (IR). When an attack is detected, EDR can help speed up the process of identifying the scope of the compromise and remediating it. This is particularly important in cases where traditional AV software has been bypassed or when the attack is not detectable by traditional means.
EDR solutions can also help organizations improve their overall security posture. By providing greater visibility into malicious activity on endpoints, EDR can help organizations identify vulnerabilities and patch them before they are exploited. This helps reduce the chances of a successful attack and improves the overall security of the organization.
There are a variety of EDR solutions on the market, and they can be divided into two categories: signature-based and behavior-based.
Most EDR suites will include both signature-based and behavior-based algorithms to some extent.
EDR solutions work by monitoring all activity on an endpoint and collecting data about the files that are accessed, the applications that are used and the network connections that are made. This data is then analyzed to look for signs of malicious activity.
EDR solutions can be configured to take action in real-time when they detect a threat. This can include automatically quarantining the infected device, sending an alert to the security team or shutting down the device.
Most EDR solutions today leverage machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to identify threats on a scale that a human interpreter simply wouldn't be able to.
EDR solutions offer considerable benefits over traditional AV software, including:
Ultimately, the above all lead to reduced costs associated with malware infections and data breaches. Not only is the world increasingly always on (and not only is the attack surface constantly growing), but threats are becoming more pervasive and cleverer.
Without an EDR solution in place, endpoints are vulnerable to a wide range of attacks, including:
Importantly, EDR solutions can help protect an organization against social engineering attacks, which are becoming increasingly pervasive, and which are difficult to defend against.
There are a few best practices that should be followed when implementing an EDR solution:
Primarily, organizations must work on both their top-down agility and their transparency and visibility throughout their security landscape. The more employees understand about their solutions, the better equipped they will be to support them internally.
EDR solutions can be expensive to deploy and maintain. However, the cost of not having an EDR solution in place is often much higher. Since organizations need to embed security in every layer of their infrastructure, transitioning to a new security solution can be disruptive and expensive.
Managed services providers can help. Security partners can help audit an organization, identify the best security tools for the organization, and ultimately aid in the transition. Contact R2 Unified Technologies to learn more.