EDR explained: Why it matters and its best capabilities
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is fast becoming a favourite threat defence tool of the professional cybersecurity community.
The solution – often deployed as part of a Security Operations Centre approach but still crucial in traditional security software stacks – continuously monitors end-user devices to detect any activity deemed harmful to a business, and where necessary, stepping in to help mitigate an incoming attack.
Here, we explain exactly why EDR is so important, who should consider using it, and its best capabilities for boosting business resiliency.
- What is Endpoint Detection and Response in a Nutshell?
- How do EDR Solutions Work?
- Why is EDR Becoming so Important and Who Should Use it?
- What are the Consequences of not using EDR in your Technology Stack?
- Examples of how EDR Improves Business Security and Resiliency
What is Endpoint Detection and Response in a Nutshell?
EDR is a security solution designed to protect IT infrastructure and the data it houses from cyberthreats originating from endpoint devices.
EDR works by continuously monitoring the activity on endpoint devices (e.g., laptops, tablets, and smartphones) and identifying, responding to, and potentially containing suspicious activity that risks business continuity, data or finances.
By continuously monitoring and responding to threats, EDR solutions can help organisations to maintain a strong security posture and reduce the risk of cyberthreats impacting their digital infrastructure and business operations.
However, EDR has a broader use than responding to immediate cyberthreats. Insightful reporting and investigation capabilities enable IT leaders to learn more about their security posture – understanding how to contain endpoint risks that would otherwise remain unmasked, and ways to use security resource more efficiently.
How do EDR Solutions Work?
EDR solutions use a combination of machine learning algorithms, behavioural analysis, and other techniques to detect and respond to threats in real-time. They can help organisations manage, mitigate, and minimise a wide range of threats, including ransomware, spyware, advanced persistent threats (APTs), SQL injections and other types of malicious software.
EDR software can respond automatically in certain scenarios, such as deploying certain patches or isolating threatened devices from networks.
However, it is also an invaluable tool for notifying security analysts, IT managers and other skilled personnel of an endpoint-originated threat. At this point, these individuals step in manually diffuse a threat. Notifications are usually provided as alerts in a triage system, where priority is given to the threats most damaging to an organisation.
EDR is typically deployed on relevant devices as a software client and managed by an internal or outsourced security team. EDR can also be included under the “SIEM” category of a Security Operations Centre (SOC) but is very much an independent solution adding unique value to IT security stacks.
Why is EDR Becoming so Important and Who Should Use it?
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is becoming increasingly important as the volume and complexity of cyberthreats continue to grow. Simply put, EDR solutions are fundamental in detecting and resolving advanced threats.
EDR solutions can help IT teams – internal, outsourced or ideally within a SOC – detect and respond to cyberthreats in real-time, ideally getting “ahead” of the threat and neutralising it before endpoints or connected IT infrastructure are harmed, and data is irretrievably lost.
And there’s a growing argument for the criticality of EDR, with several factors contributing to its importance:
- The rise of advanced threats: Advanced Persistent Threats (ATPs) that are built to hide in systems and remain undetected by antimalware software, potentially for up to months at a time. ATPs are sophisticated and rarely interested in the endpoint they initially target – it’s about buying time before executing maximum damage.
- The increased use of mobile devices: Hybrid working means that more mobile phone users are undertaking business activities. The risk here is twofold. Despite being an endpoint, mobiles are under-protected compared to laptops or desktops. And secondly, users tend to drop their guard due to the casual familiarity of smartphones. This vigilance void presents an irresistible opportunity for threat actors.
- The growing complexity of cyberthreats: Threats are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect, which makes it more challenging for traditional security solutions to protect against them. And not just ATPs! From incredibly convincing email domain spoofing to subtle drive-by-downloads, endpoint risks are rising and can be the ideal trojan horse for malicious intent.
EDR solutions are widely accessible, and every organisation concerned about security (and that should be all of us!) can use this important software effectively. When delivered via a Managed Services Provider like Sentis, EDR solutions can be configured and scaled to suit your needs – whether managing a sprawling network or focusing on a few mission-critical users.
What are the Consequences of not using EDR in your Technology Stack?
Security software is getting more powerful across the board, but there’s no replacement for EDR. It is the only solution dedicated to combatting endpoint attacks; without it, your business exposes a huge element of its threat surface.
Without EDR, it’s unlikely your business will know about an endpoint-originated attack before it’s too late. I.e., ransomware has cascaded throughout your network, a host of end-user devices are brought offline, or customer financial data has been scraped over time using discreet spyware.
This delayed response and intelligence can seriously impair an organisation’s ability to come out of a cyberattack unscathed, with its IT infrastructure and data intact. But, by recording and storing end-user device activity at the endpoint layer in real-time, and deploying automated or priority response, it’s you in control, not the threat actor.
Examples of how EDR Improves Business Security and Resiliency
We often talk about cyberattackers entering via the “back door” – hidden vulnerabilities in obscure corners of your IT infrastructure. As a result, a lot of security resiliency focus goes into weeding out and sealing these vulnerabilities.
However, attacks via the “front door” – your endpoint devices- are just as common and worrisome. EDR solutions are the equivalent defence measure for these more exposed threat inroads, and can improve business security and resiliency in several ways. For example:
- Decreased downtime by reducing attack incidence frequency
- Faster threat response by consolidating endpoint activity
- More efficient use of resources by using a triage alert approach
- Tighter compliance by logging events and proving defence measures
- Strong customer relationships by evidencing a commitment to endpoint best practice
- Higher productivity by minimising threat-related downtime and maximising endpoint availability
- Heightened awareness of current threats by learning from real-time threat intelligence
We recommend integrating your EDR solution within a SOC model to minimise functionality duplication and maximise efficiency and effectiveness. Click here to learn what a SOC is, how it works, and why it’s the best cybersecurity approach available.
There are a number of common benefits that businesses can gain by using Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions. By continuously monitoring and responding to threats, EDR solutions can help businesses maintain a strong security posture, making it more difficult for attackers to compromise IT infrastructure and cause harm.
Sentis Managed Solutions Provides EDR Solutions
Are you considering adding EDR to your security stack or want to confirm your current threat detection and response is working to best effect?
Sentis Managed Solutions would love to hear from you. We’re a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) delivering a complete range of specialist threat detection and response solutions, EDR included. We also offer a free, no-obligation security audit – so you can confirm what’s working well and what needs reinforcement before committing.
Learn more about our audits here or browse our threat detection solutions here.