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Endpoint Detection and Response vs. Traditional Antivirus Software

Josh Moore
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Research has found that cyberattacks occur once every 39 seconds and cybercrime in the U.S. was estimated to have caused $6.9 billion in financial losses in 2021.

In today’s internet-connected world, a cyberattack could attempt to encrypt, destroy or steal your data. How will your organization defend itself against malware and hacking attempts?

In this article, we’ll discuss two popular methods used to thwart networked security attacks. They each search for cyberattacks using different means. Which is a better defense for your organization? Let’s take a closer look.

 RELATED ARTICLE: What is the Average Cost to Recover from a Cyberattack?

What is an Endpoint? 

An endpoint is a device, connected to a network that sends and receives electronic communications. Businesses commonly have a wide variety of devices that are classified as endpoints. Some of these include desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices, digital printers and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices including VoIP phones, sensors and HVAC controls.

As business technology has become more digital and interconnected, the number of endpoints in a typical business has also increased. And more endpoints means more opportunities for malware, viruses and hackers to enter a network. If a cybersecurity breach happens, businesses risk the possibility of having their data encrypted, held for ransom, or lost to the highest bidder on the dark web. 

What is an Antivirus Software Solution? 

In the early decades of the internet, hackers targeted endpoints to deploy viral malware in the hopes of snarling communications and slowing down business operations.

Antivirus software (AV) is the traditional frontline defense against cyberthreats. It can scan for threats, but it will only detect viruses that it is programmed to find. This works well for known viruses but will not detect new viruses until they are known, and the software is updated.

Therefore, this method could allow a newly created virus (zero day threat) to slip past the software, undetected. Once detected at multiple companies, the virus signature will be developed and added to the list of threats searched by the AV.    

What is EDR?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) was created to help protect endpoints better than traditional antivirus software by providing more responsive protection. EDR uses a proactive, layered approach in real time that includes the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to quickly detect and respond to threats. This is accomplished by scanning networked devices and searching for irregular patterns in disk, memory and CPU usage in addition to any unusual activity across the network. If any odd patterns are found, it may be a sign that a hacker has breached the system and is trying to move laterally across the network or elevate permissions. If an area of concern is identified, the EDR will quickly respond accordingly by isolating the endpoint and terminating suspicious processes and includes the ability to deploy automated remediation or removal of the identified threats. 

What’s the Difference between EDR and AV? 

The difference between AV and EDR is that AV is a reactive technology based on known virus signatures. This means that the AV software manufacturer has to already know that a particular virus has been found and a signature to prevent this virus has been developed and is ready to deploy, if needed.

With EDR, the software uses behavioral analysis to proactively search for abnormal activity within your system. EDR collects and analyzes data to determine possible threat patterns and will alert cybersecurity personnel within the organization if a threat is identified.

While there is some commonality between EDR and AV, studies have shown that EDR is a more comprehensive cybersecurity solution. EDR will catch threats that AV will not.

Featuring benefits not found in traditional AV solutions, EDR typically includes contextualized threat hunting, better security visibility with enhanced data analytics, streamlined incident reporting for rapid response to identified potential threats and the ability to create automated procedures for incident response. EDR is also designed to detect and prevent advanced cyberattack methods including fileless, zero-days and ransomware.

Should I use EDR and Antivirus? 

Typically an organization will choose to use either AV or EDR, not both. Being a more advanced and comprehensive solution, EDR’s proactive approach and advanced features provide superior cybersecurity coverage with multilayered, integrated endpoint protection.

Working with Elevity

Working with a trusted Technology Management partner such as Elevity can offer the peace of mind your organization is searching for in IT strategy and cybersecurity technology solutions. Elevity provides best in class, industry-leading solutions that evolve with your organization, keeping your strategic business goals, growth and security top of mind.

Looking to get a handle on your current cybersecurity preparedness to see where you may have opportunities to strengthen your cybersecurity posture?

Simply click the link below to take our complimentary Cybersecurity Risk Assessment. It only takes a few minutes to complete, and you’ll have a better idea about how your organization’s cybersecurity preparedness ranks and whether your systems are at risk.  

Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

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