Comparing Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) with traditional Antivirus (AV) solutions

Category: News
Published: 19th December 2023

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Who Wins the Threat Scavenger Hunt?

What is EDR?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions hunt for and mitigate threats, like ransomware, which may have infiltrated end-user devices on a network. They continually monitor endpoint devices in real-time, identifying any irregular user activity and notifying IT security teams if this is detected. This is done via behavioural analysis to identify suspicious or malicious activities that may not match known threat signatures.

What is Antivirus software?

AV software has been a trusted cyber security solution for over 30 years. It was designed to protect against malware, hackers, and cybercriminals. It identifies, blocks, and protects against any external threats which may infiltrate networks. Antivirus software scans foreign devices at a given point in time to look for and block viruses via signature detection and heuristic analysis. If your device gets infected, antivirus software will help you remove it.

EDR over AV legacy systems.

Antivirus software is installed directly on a system to protect it from malicious actors. It provides limited scope into system networks whereas EDR actively detects and prevents these threats whilst providing visibility. EDRs vastly expand the traditional capabilities of AV solutions.

They provide continuous visibility into endpoint activity which allows IT security teams the ability to respond to threats that a traditional AV software can’t. Anti-virus programs are signature-based, which means they cannot detect malware containing an unknown signature. Additionally, they cannot prevent complex attacks like memory-resistant malware, designed to cover their tracks and block attempted removal. In contract, EDR solutions go much further and can detect unknown threats.

EDRs integrate AI intelligence into your security infrastructure in conjunction with machine learning to detect and respond to unknown threats. This means that the response automatically updates to deal with new, complex malware threats.

An EDR solution provides a response function which automatically contains endpoints on the network. It ensures swift resolution and prevents repeat attacks, which provides a much more effective remediation service.

Detects malware via behavioural analytics, anomaly detection, and heuristicsDetects malware via signatures
Automatic incident responseLimited incident response
Proactive threat huntingReactive threat hunting
Integrates with network infrastructureStandalone solution
Detects known and unknown malwareDetects known malware
Continuous monitoringPeriodic monitoring
Advanced behavioural analysisLimited behavioural analysis

Modern cyber security threats require modern solutions.

By implementing an EDR solution into your security posture, you will dramatically reduce your risk. This risk reduction increases even further when you combine it with other cyber security solutions.

At Red Helix, we advocate an extended detection & response service where EDR is combined with Network Detection & Response (NDR) and both are integrated with a Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) system. With this multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, you can vastly increase the visibility you have over your entire IT Infrastructure.

Managing this enhanced visibility via your SIEM to efficiently manage and raise alerts for your security team will allow you to protect your company from all angles.

When finding the right solution for your company, it is important to look towards the future of the tech landscape. An integrated solution as described here is something that you must consider when choosing how to secure your company against threats, as the focus shifts towards proactive hunting and remediation.