Cybersecurity must encompass every aspect of your network including any devices that connect to it. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) detects threats targeting end-users and/or machines, that if undetected can proliferate across your entire organization. Consider it the early warning system that allows your team to jump into action and mitigate the damage caused by an intruder.

A complete understanding of EDR solutions is key to giving your business the best chance of avoiding a devastating cyberattack. If you’re wondering, “what is EDR?” here’s what you need to know, along with the components that make up Endpoint Detection and Response.

EDR 101: What is EDR?

Many people are unaware of the true EDR meaning and what the EDR definition is. An EDR solution detects threats in cyberspace through constant monitoring of all endpoint devices and the data they produce, provides alerts of suspicious activity and automatically blocks threats in many instances.

Data analytics is a key part of flagging suspicious behavior while also providing context for the data generated. Automation, in many cases, can instantly block malicious activity.

Several aspects make up an EDR security tool, including:

  • Detecting suspicious activity
  • Incident data search
  • Validation of suspicious activity
  • Active threat hunting
  • Blocking malicious attacks

Your computer’s antivirus program is a form of prevention. Only when a virus slips through does your EDR solution come into force.

EDR Solutions: Key Components

When asking “what is EDR?” the simplest way to understand what a true security tool should consist of is by understanding its essential components and what it’s supposed to achieve.

Whenever examining different EDR tools, here are the four foundational principles you should be monitoring.

Detection

Any tool in this field will always have advanced detection capabilities. Your front-line defenses, such as your network’s firewall, will be breached at some point. This is just a reality of modern cyberspace.

What matters is whether your endpoint detection solution can detect the threat accurately enough. Malware has never been more sophisticated, which poses a huge challenge for organizations across the world.

Continuous file analysis is a feature that enables your security solution to detect threats early. By using existing data, machine learning, and advanced data analysis, your endpoint security solution is capable of not only detecting threats but also getting better at detecting them over time.

Containment

The containment functionality of EDR involves containing malicious files before they can test the boundaries of the segments of your network.

Network segmentation is an excellent form of defense and is considered a best practice, but all good EDR solutions are capable of stopping the lateral movement of malicious files early.

Ransomware is a perfect example of why EDR security is necessary. If ransomware manages to access encrypted information, you need a solution that can fully contain the ransomware to stop it from spreading throughout the rest of the network.

Investigation

After detecting and containing a malicious file, it’s time to investigate. If this is a new file, you have holes in your defensive ring that need to be fixed.

Why a file got through could be for any number of reasons, such as:

  • Threat intelligence is encountering the file for the first time.
  • A device is outdated.
  • An application is missing essential updates.

Dealing with a threat is one thing, but proper cybersecurity is about investigating and tightening your security for the future. It’s the greatest form of proactive action.

Endpoint security helps you to avoid experiencing the same problems going forward.

Sandboxing, for example, allows you to test and run simulations in a safe and secure environment. Your EDR security program will test and monitor a specific file without risking the rest of your network.

With sandboxing, your software’s threat intelligence level increases.

Elimination

Obviously, the most important component of all is to eliminate malicious files. Without an effective elimination function, your network can still be compromised.

But what are the big questions endpoint security needs to eliminate threats?

  • Where did this file come from?
  • What did this file interact with?
  • Did the file manage to replicate itself?

To answer these questions and prevent similar attacks in the future, data is the key. The more visibility and transparency an endpoint security solution has, the more effective it is.

The Benefits of EDR

Now that you know what is EDR and its essential components, why should you make it a part of your cybersecurity strategy?

Here are the main benefits of investing in this security solution:

  • Prevention – Prevention is the cornerstone of cybersecurity, but it’s never going to be completely effective. Endpoint security acts when a malicious file breaches your first layer of defense.
  • Avoid Silent Failure – Don’t let threats linger in your network for weeks. Without constant monitoring, attackers can enter and leave at will while infecting as much of your network as possible.
  • Improve Visibility – If a breach is discovered, going back months to find where the incident occurred and to assess the damage can be nearly impossible. The full monitoring capabilities of this security solution can track the attacker down and prevent them from returning.
  • Full Recall – Organizations lack not only the visibility but also the data to recall information quickly enough to neutralize the threat. Again, this is another benefit of endpoint security.
  • Threat Analysis – Even security teams with all the data in the world may not have the capabilities to properly test, monitor, and analyze malicious files. This can lead to problems resurfacing later, which is why endpoint security is the gold standard.
  • Reduce Remediation Costs – Ultimately, EDR security cuts down on the costs of remediation. Rather than spending weeks navigating a minefield of business disruption, fast-acting EDR mitigates these costs.

EDR Limitations

The weakness of many endpoint security solutions is that it is most effective against known threats. While the vast majority of companies will face known threats, an unknown threat can still play havoc. Many leading EDR solutions support Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn user behavior to identify activities that are outside of the normal usage pattern – providing the ability to more effectively identify and respond to unknown threats.

Another limitation is that to function effectively, endpoint security requires huge amounts of data. Without access to this data, it’s considerably less effective at doing its job.

This is why it is important to investigate different solutions carefully. Many of them vary in quality and making the wrong choice could lead to a data breach.

Overall, while incredibly effective at enhancing cybersecurity, don’t expect your EDR solution to act as a silver bullet.

Adopting EDR Solutions: Considerations

Any security team should consider EDR security to be a major asset. Although it does have its limitations, any good cybersecurity strategy is multilayered.

Let’s take a look at some of the main considerations of a good EDR solution.

Threat Database

EDR operates based on huge amounts of data. The more extensive a solution’s database the higher the chance of detecting a threat and acting accordingly. As previously mentioned, it’s a less effective option for unknown threats, but by reducing the number of unknown threats, your solution will perform to a higher standard.

Visibility

The beauty of this security solution is that it constantly monitors every endpoint across your network. Make sure you look at the visibility aspect when weighing up two different products.

Maximum visibility can allow for immediate detection and containment the moment a malicious file crosses your borders.

Integrated Threat Intelligence

An endpoint security and response solution must include integrated threat intelligence. Simply flagging up a suspicious file is not enough in the world of modern cybersecurity.

Threat intelligence provides context to these threats, such as who is attacking you and more detailed information about the specific type of attack.

Behavioral Protection

Silent failures are why most major data breaches occur. Signature-based methods, while useful, should never be relied on exclusively.

Endpoint security needs behavioral approaches that can search for the signs of an attack on your network. Being alerted to suspicious behavior can help you kill an attack before it happens.

Cloud-Based Solutions

Why is it so important to make sure your security solution is based in the cloud?

When it comes to EDR meaning, the truth is that a cloud-based solution is the only way to make sure there’s no impact on any of your network’s endpoints. Cloud-based EDR ensures real-time detection, containment, and investigation.

Response Speeds

Speed is of the essence with any cybersecurity program. An attack on your network that is stopped early doesn’t necessarily count as a breach. Remember, most attacks breach your perimeter and move through your systems before actually stealing any sensitive data.

You need a solution that can act at lightning speed to prevent an attacker from gaining a foothold.

Conclusion

Endpoint security is often considered to be an afterthought. While other forms of security will keep you safe from many attacks, EDR security protects you from the threats that manage to get through your preventative layers of defense.

Are you concerned about your network’s security arrangements? Fusion Connect are experts in building, managing, and securing the foundational technology infrastructure of your business. To learn more about Endpoint Detection and Response and SD-WAN solutions, contact Fusion Connect now.