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In this article, you’ll learn what Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) security is, what it’s for, and most of all, how to choose the best EDR system.

What is EDR Security?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a security technology that detects and responds to malicious activity on endpoint devices such as laptops, servers, and mobile phones. EDR solutions provide real-time visibility into endpoint activity and allow security teams to quickly identify and respond to threats, even when they evade other security controls.

In an ever-changing digital landscape, EDR is a valuable tool for CISOS and IT security managers. Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and antivirus and firewalls are no longer sufficient to protect against targeted attacks and APTs – Advanced Persistent Threats. EDR solutions fill this gap by providing continuous monitoring, advanced threat detection and incident response capabilities.

A man wearing a suit and a shiled protecting a server room.

Why is an EDR important in a defensive security strategy?

Having an EDR is important for several reasons:

  • Advanced threat detection: EDR solutions use advanced algorithms and machine learning to detect malicious activity on endpoint devices. This includes identifying known and unknown malware, as well as identifying suspicious behavior that may indicate an attack.
  • Real-time visibility: They provide real-time visibility into endpoint activity, allowing security teams to quickly identify and respond to threats.
  • Incident response: They provide incident response capabilities, allowing security teams to quickly contain and remediate threats. This includes the ability to isolate infected devices, contain the threat, and take other actions to minimize the impact of an attack.
  • Compliance: They can help organizations comply with various regulations and standards, including HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOC 2, ISO 27001 and NIS2.

How does Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) work?

EDR solutions continuously monitor endpoints for signs of malicious activity. They collect and analyze data from a broad range of sources, such as system logs, network traffic, and sensors installed on endpoints. They use algorithms and machine learning to identify threats, as well as to flag suspicious behavior that suggests an attack.

Once a threat is detected, EDR solutions can take several actions to contain, minimize or remediate the threat – such as isolating infected devices. They also provide incident response capabilities, enabling security teams to investigate and respond to threats more quickly.

What is the difference between EDR and an antivirus?

Antivirus is designed to detect and remove malware after it has infiltrated the endpoint, while an EDR is designed to detect and respond to malicious activity before it can cause harm.

  • An antivirus is security software that detects and removes malware from endpoint devices. It scans files and checks for suspicious activity, and can quarantine or remove malware it finds. This is a traditional approach to endpoint security that has been around for decades.
  • EDR is a more advanced security technology that provides real-time visibility into endpoint activity. It allows security teams to identify and better respond to threats by identifying suspicious activity that may indicate an attack.

Some EDRs can integrate more or less advanced antivirus functions depending on the culture of the company that designs them (strong antivirus culture). Some consider that an antivirus is useless when an EDR is in place.

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What is the difference between EDR and XDR?

EDR is a solution that focuses primarily on endpoint security, whereas XDR is a broader solution that spans multiple environments and devices.

  • EDR, as the name implies, is a cybersecurity solution that focuses primarily on detecting and responding to threats on endpoints, such as laptops, smartphones and servers.
  • XDR (Extended Detection and Response) takes a more comprehensive approach to threat detection and response by covering more environments, such as clouds, networks and SaaS solutions. In addition, XDR tools use a wider range of threat detection techniques, including machine learning, behavioral analysis and threat intelligence.

What is the difference between EDR and MDR?

EDR focuses on detecting and responding to threats on endpoints, while MDR is a third-party service that detects and responds to threats across multiple environments and devices, typically offered as a managed service.

  • EDR solutions focus on identifying and addressing threats on endpoints.
  • MDR (Managed Detection and Response) is a service that outsources the detection and response aspects of an organization’s security operations to a managed security service provider (MSSP). MDR services typically include a combination of technology, threat intelligence and human expertise. MDR services can be offered as a standalone service or as an extension of an existing security infrastructure.

What is the difference between EDR and a VOC?

An EDR is an automated security control of endpoints, where a VOC (Vulnerability Operations Center) lends an offensive approach to identify and assess vulnerabilities across an organization’s IT environment. To put it another way, VOC is to offensive security what a SOC is to defensive security.

A Vulnerability Operations Center (VOC) such as Yogosha brings a two-fold approach to vulnerability detection, by enabling companies and their CISOs to:

  1. Oversee vulnerability management strategies through vulnerability reports and analytical dashboards. This allows a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the attack surface, sometimes across multiple entities within the same organization.
  2. Run multiple security testing operations (which are always human-powered and not automated like a vulnerability scanner would) such as:

Read also: What is a Vulnerability Operations Center (VOC)?

What are the criteria for choosing an EDR system?

When choosing your EDR solution, there are several key factors to consider to ensure that it’s effective and meets your organization’s needs:

  1. Detection capabilities: Your EDR system should have advanced threat detection capabilities, such as behavioral analysis and machine learning, to detect malware, malicious behavior and network anomalies. The system must also be able to detect and respond to threats at various stages of the attack lifecycle, including before, during and after execution.
  2. Ease of use: It should be easy to deploy and manage, with a user-friendly interface and clear, actionable alerts. A centralized management console should allow you to view the security status of all endpoints, configure policies, and investigate and respond to security incidents.
  3. Integration: The system should integrate well with other security tools, such as firewalls, antivirus software and incident response platforms. This allows you to create a holistic security ecosystem, and share threat intelligence between different systems. It should also support APIs for easy integration with other products.
  4. Scalability: It must be able to scale to meet your organization’s needs, both in terms of the number of endpoints it can protect and the number of security events it can handle. It should also be able to handle large volumes of data and to support distributed environments.
  5. Updates: It is important to ensure that the system is continually updated with the latest threat intelligence and malware signatures, as this improves its overall performance.
  6. Support and maintenance: The vendor should provide good technical support and regular software updates and patches to address potential vulnerabilities.
  7. Privacy and compliance: The EDR should meet the compliance and regulatory requirements applicable in your region, such as HIPAA or SOC 2. The manufacturer should have a clear data protection policy in place, and the EDR must be able to encrypt data and ensure that it is transmitted securely.
  8. Cost: The solution you choose must obviously fit within your budget and be cost-effective. Be aware of hidden costs, such as licensing, maintenance and support.

EDR Solutions reviews and ratings

In addition to these key criteria, it’s a good idea to look at the vendor’s reputation in the marketplace, and read reviews and testimonials to ensure you’re choosing a reliable and effective EDR system.

As always, Gartner and its Magic Quadrant are a solid starting point for your prospecting. Here’s Gartner’s EDR Solutions reviews and ratings.

Reddit is also a goldmine for gathering raw information from users, who are often in operational roles such as SysAdmin, with a hands-on perspective. Here are some Reddit links that might be helpful:

What are the main EDR solutions?

Here’s a list of the main EDR solutions available on the market:

In conclusion, Endpoint Detection and Response technology is a critical component of any security strategy. It provides advanced threat detection, real-time visibility and incident response capabilities, enabling security teams to quickly identify and respond to threats. EDR solutions can also help organizations comply with a variety of regulations and standards, making it an essential security brick to be protected in today’s digital landscape.

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