Threats are an ever-present concern when it comes to a business’s network security, and how you manage these threats is determined by the network security choices you make. And one common question that we get at Abacus is whether a business should choose EDR or antivirus, or more specifically, EPP. To understand which would work best for your business and network, it’s important to understand the main difference between these two options.
So what is the key difference between EDR solutions and antivirus (or EPP)? The main difference between these two is how they detect and manage threats, whether as a preventative or responsive measure.
Endpoint Protection Platforms or EPP (which includes antivirus, data encryption, personal firewalls, and more) prevent security threats through preventative measures while Endpoint Detection and Response or EDR solutions detect and respond to cyber threats that bypass first-layer security measures.
Learn more about EDR, EPP, and which solution your business needs below.
Why Maintaining Your Network Security Is More Important Than Ever
The strength of your business’s network security determines your business’s reliability and overall safety for all information that passes through your network, from sensitive personally identifiable information to crucial passwords and financial information.
As the world becomes increasingly digital-first, network security threats become more and more prevalent, with hackers looking for opportunities around every corner. Unprotected networks or networks with outdated network security are easy targets, and the only thing standing between your vulnerable network and a successful hacking attempt is just a matter of time.
With over 4,000 daily ransomware attacks, malware in one out of every 131 emails, and 56% of internet traffic populated by bots, spammers, and impersonators, keeping your network safe without proper network security can be an impossible task. And customers are unwilling to continue working with businesses that have been digitally infiltrated, so a single successful hack into your network can cost your business years of growth.
Understanding Your Options: EPP and EDR
What is Antivirus (EPP)?
EPP, or Endpoint Protection Platforms, are systems that are built to prevent traditional and known attacks such as malware, fileless attacks, zero-day vulnerabilities, ransomware, and more. These systems include antivirus software, as well as data encryption, anti-malware, and personal firewalls.
Essentially, it is best to think of EPP as your first line of defense,your initial filter that keeps out all the obvious and known threats lurking about. EPP runs off real time signature based detection, meaning it has a database of the signatures of malicious threats and blocks anything with those signatures from entering the system. Signature based detection security tools utilize several additional capabilities, such as:
- Blacklisting and whitelisting: Blocking access to any URLs, ports, or IP addresses that are known threats
- Sandboxing: Before files are run on the network, sandboxing allows EPP to run the files virtually, testing it first for any malicious activity
- ML static analysis: Analyzes binaries before process execution to search for any known malicious attributes
- Behavioral analysis: Only present in modern EPP, behavioral analysis allows antivirus technology to identify abnormal behavior in recently-added processes
Benefits of Antivirus
- Locked Down Security: If your team doesn’t have IT staff around all the time, it might make sense to opt for the locked down features of antivirus security tools. This means that the program requires zero intervention from the user; no updates or changes can be made without permissions from your IT management.
- Quick Threat Detection: Threats are detected and solutions are offered in real-time.
- 24/7 Security Solutions: Monitoring is automatic and 24/7, meaning no intervention is required by an end user.
- Single Software Management: Your antivirus software can be the single platform for management, solution deployment, definition updates, and threat reports.
- Cost: Antivirus is generally much more affordable than EDR solutions, making it better for small businesses with lesser endpoint security needs.
What is EDR, or Endpoint Detection and Response?
EDR, or Endpoint Detection and Response, is a newer type of endpoint security technology first coined in 2013. It focuses on threats attacking endpoint devices on a network, providing network security teams with immediate information on the type of threat or attack occurring. EDR provides endpoint security teams with visibility into remote endpoints, which is near impossible to have without EDR security tools.
With EDR detecting and responding to endpoint attacks immediately, it can protect the network by quarantining the endpoint device, run automatic responses and block any processes moving between the device and the overall network.
Benefits of EDR
- Trace Back: Security staff will receive information on any other network devices or endpoints that may also be affected by the threat.
- Automated Response: EDR solutions can be configured to deploy certain automated responses when detecting threats, such as blocking processes or network access to endpoint devices and other actions that can mitigate the threat.
- Alerts and Reports: Security teams are notified in real-time, providing them with all the context and information needed to respond to the malicious activity.
- Threat Intelligence: EDR can identify the breached endpoint’s unique IoCs, or Indicators of Compromise, to pinpoint the exact threat and technique being used by the attacker.
The Differences Between Antivirus and EDR
|Antivirus||Endpoint Detection and Response EDR|
|First layer of cybersecurity for detecting threats||Advanced layer for breaches that have already happened for containment and mitigation|
|No active supervision required||Network staff required for maximum effectiveness|
|Passive detection with prevention of suspicious incidents||Active detection of malicious incidents|
|No detailed visibility into the exact effects of the threat||Provides event data regarding breached endpoints across the network|
|Prevents known threats and other unknown threats with similar signatures||Immediate responses to known and unknown advanced threats that sneak by first layers of security through any endpoint|
Does Your Business Need Antivirus or EDR?
When deciding between antivirus (or EPP) or Endpoint Detection and Response EDR for your network endpoint security needs, it generally comes down to your business’s available resources and whether or not you can utilize an EDR security solution to its fullest extent.
Small businesses without in-house IT departments might prefer to opt for comprehensive antivirus solutions, as they lack the on-staff network security staff to properly complement EDR functionality. But businesses with the existing IT staff and solutions would find their network security greatly improved with an EDR security solution right for them.
The average IT department deals with thousands of endpoint doors, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, servers, and every smart device connected to the network, such as digital assistants and smart watches. One survey found that almost half of all IT teams manage anywhere from 5,0000 to 500,000 endpoints connected to their network. And every single endpoint is another door into a possible network breach.
If new and unique endpoints are a major part of your business’s network, then EDR might not only be a recommended solution, but a must-have. Smaller businesses that can control every endpoint with ease may find their endpoint security needs satisfied with a strong antivirus solution or EPP.
Solve Your Security Problems with Abacus Today
At Abacus, we provide all our clients with the Abacus Advantage: the personal care and support of a team of IT specialists to help your business with all your IT issues and needs. We can help assess your endpoint security situation and recommend the optimal solution for you, whether you need antivirus, EDR, or both to maximize your endpoint security.
Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT services. At Abacus, you can count on us.