What is EDR? A Guide on Endpoint Detection and Response

It seems like everyday the cybersecurity threats increase, and unfortunately, that’s basically true. In fact, attacks seem to have increased by 15% in the recent year, and cyber criminals can penetrate 93% of company networks. The threats aren’t going away, and they get more sophisticated with time.

With the growing level of security threats, it’s important to protect your network with equally increasing layers of security. One crucial area to protect your network is by defending your endpoints—particularly weak points in a security network. A great way to protect your endpoints is to use Endpoint Detection and Response or EDR. What is EDR? Read on to learn more about EDR, how it works, how to choose a solution, and why it matters.

What Is EDR?

What is EDR? Endpoint Detection and Response or EDR is an integrated security solution to protect user-end devices with features such as continuous monitoring, expert management, and response orchestration. Essentially, EDR is a security solution designed to protect devices like laptops, desktops, and mobile devices from breaches that would allow an attacker into the network.

EDR providers can provide a team of experts around-the-clock to monitor a network for emerging threats that other solutions may miss—since EDR is carefully designed for specific threats. Once threats are detected, EDR also includes response orchestration to mitigate and eradicate a threat before it can develop into a full attack. At its core, EDR is a security solution designed specifically to protect network endpoints that can be integrated with existing security solutions.

How Does EDR Work?

What does EDR look like in practice? EDR providers or an EDR solution will use a variety of tools to perform continuous monitoring of your endpoint devices. Depending on your company’s needs, these devices could be anything from employee laptops to IoT and cloud workloads to the servers themselves. From the monitoring, security professionals (or AI or a combination of both) then alert analysts of any potential threats, any abnormalities, or any worrying pattern. EDR solutions also gather telemetry data that can help contextual information and tell a story analysts might not have noticed otherwise.

Once analysts receive alerts, they can determine a response. Maybe the alert isn’t anything unusual—just an employee who forgot their password. But if it is potentially malicious, EDR then moves into the response orchestration phase. A good EDR solution will have multiple responses available to adapt to the specific situation and threat at hand. From there, hopefully the threat is eradicated, and your EDR provider helps you prepare to avoid similar threats in the future.

What Are the Primary Functions of EDR?

EDR solutions can come in several shapes and sizes, but in general, there are a few primary functions of any EDR solution:

  • Continuous monitoring for potential threats
  • Collecting activity data on endpoint devices
  • Analyzing data for patterns
  • Alerting appropriate teams about potential threats
  • Notify security personnel
  • Automatically respond to identified threats
  • Use forensic tools to identify threats

All together, these primary functions of EDR create a solid solution for protecting your endpoints and your network.

What to Look for When Choosing an EDR Solution

The primary functions of an EDR solution are the bare minimum you need to find in a solution. If a solution is missing a primary function, it’s not going to adequately protect your network. But there are other considerations for choosing an EDR solution. Here’s how to handle EDR solution selection.

You also want to consider integration or how easy it would be to get started with a solution and have it work in tandem with your current security tools and protocols. Choosing an EDR solution is looking for the highest amount of protection with the least amount of investment.

Some EDR solutions come with higher levels of protection that could be valuable in certain situations. Consider some of these areas of protection:

  • Endpoint visibility. This feature allows you to view your endpoints at any time and view activity—even as someone attempts to breach your network.
  • Threat database. A database can be a valuable feature that allows you to have context for patterns and anomalies that can be incredibly powerful for making security decisions.
  • Behavioral protection. If you rely only on compromise alerts, you’re allowing other data breaches to occur. Instead, if you analyze behavior, you can find indicators before an attack occurs.
  • Fast response. When it comes to security, time is of the essence. If you don’t have a quick and immediate response, it could be too late. A great EDR solution can provide you with a response that prevents a breach before it occurs to keep data as secure as possible.
  • Cloud-based solution. More and more aspects of business are migrating to the cloud, and it could be key to be able to protect your operations on the cloud with a cloud-based EDR solution.

What Is the Difference between EDR and Antivirus?

Many people wonder if EDR is no different from advanced antivirus or anti-malware solutions. But EDR and antivirus aren’t the same. Antivirus is typically a single security program that performs the role of scanning, detecting, and removing viruses. Antivirus is limited to protecting against viruses, not all malware, and generally only against known viruses. In addition, antivirus is generally outdated and can’t anticipate new attacks—like EDR can help you do. EDR tools extend beyond this to include all potential threats and to involve active expert management of the network, not just virus scanning. EDR also provides a quick and effective response to the threat, which is something antivirus software can’t do.

So how does EDR differ from anti-malware? Anti-malware is a single program that scans, detects, and removes malware. Anti-malware is often more extensive than antivirus because it can detect more forms of malicious software. But antimalware also fails to provide continuous detection, orchestrated responses, and expertise on unknown threats. An attacker can circumvent anti-malware with a targeted or unknown attack, but managed EDR tools can detect these and respond quickly.

Why Is EDR Important?

At the end of the day, why does EDR matter so much for protecting a network? These are a couple of crucial reasons why EDR matters so much:

  • Prevention isn’t enough. While prevention is one of the best solutions, it can’t stop everything. You also need quick responses to protect your network, and EDR provides prevention and response.
  • Most organizations lack adequate endpoint protection. Endpoints are naturally weak spots in a network, and it’s hard to adequately protect them with typical security solutions. But EDR is created to do exactly that, and it can protect endpoints in a way no other solutions can.
  • Remediating an attack can be costly and difficult. If a breach does happen and there’s no immediate response, remediating can be a protracted and costly process. Instead, using EDR allows you to work with prevention and remediation solutions to avoid extensive remediation.

The Bottom Line

EDR is an important way to protect your endpoints from the ever-increasing amount of security threats. Choosing an EDR solution that allows your team the tools and protection you need can be key to protecting your network from breaches. The threat stops here. Learn more about what Ontinue ION MXDR service can do for your company.