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 10 Reasons Endpoint Detection and Response Helps Stop Ransomware Better than Antivirus

 

Welcome to our “Understanding Cybersecurity” series of blogs! This series is focused on providing explanations of cybersecurity terms and concepts in layman’s terms. We want to demystify the world of cybersecurity, one topic at a time. Our team believes that a unified cybersecurity community is the best way to defeat cybercrime. One of the main issues we run into when speaking with organizations is the lack of a common vocabulary when it comes to cybersecurity. This series should help act as a reference point for both technical and non-technical readers.

Ransomware is a growing threat. It’s becoming harder and harder to prevent cybercriminals from successfully attacking endpoints, workstations, laptops, and servers. Organizations of all sizes and industries mostly have one thing in common – they all utilize computers. It is relatively uncommon for a device to have absolutely zero antivirus protection, so ransomware attackers have formulated strategies for contending with traditional anti-virus. Legacy protections that used to be effective are proving less efficient than ever before. Legacy Anti-Virus has become outclassed by modern exploits and attacks, struggling to maintain parity with the explosive growth in cybercriminal activity.

Cybersecurity is no longer a passive task accomplished by background updates and antivirus blocks. The new standard of serious endpoint protection is now a technology known as Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). EDR solutions are essentially conventional Antivirus with a suite of added features and capabilities. EDR is a critical concept to understand in the world of business and government. Actively managed cybersecurity solutions are key to preventing successful attacks. Fortunately, EDR solutions make it easy for an organization’s IT and cybersecurity team to actively prevent, detect, and respond to cybersecurity threats on all devices within an organization.

This post hopes to cover the 10 most critical concepts distinguishing EDR from conventional antivirus. We hope you can walk away with a better understanding regarding EDR and why it is critical for all organizations.

 

1)      Like Antivirus – But Upgraded

The elevator pitch for EDR – “It’s like AV but better.” While this is a gross oversimplification, it does get the point across. Lightweight resource usage, better detection engines, and cyber hunt capabilities all in one easy-to-deploy package. EDR does everything that AV does, and a whole lot more. It is a multi-faceted tool suite that enables IT and Cybersecurity professionals to perform serious threat mitigation across entire organizations. AV has a place in certain scenarios, but with the unprecedented spike in ransomware attacks our team is now recommending EDR as the new minimum endpoint protection.

 

2)      Centralized Administration and Reporting

EDR solutions allow for central administration of assets. A complete, holistic overview of the environment that is real-time, identifying endpoints at risk and suspicious activity. Reporting can be configured to track high-level metrics and parameters for executive visibility into the threat ecosystem. Compliance requirements have never been easier to prove.

 

3)      Advanced Prevention Engines

Conventional AV relies on pre-defined static threat databases and sometimes “behavioral” alerts that identify suspicious activity based on certain metrics. EDR takes these features and adds several additional detection and prevention engines, looking for things such as fileless malware and unusual command line activity.

 

4)      Current Threat Profiles

Instead of relying on static threat profiles, EDR solutions incorporate the latest Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures from ongoing attacks and vulnerabilities into the system. These enable an up-to-date detection engine that helps prevent even the most cutting-edge cybercriminal attacks. Staying current on indicators of compromise is a major security milestone.

 

5)      Granular Control of Profiles

Profile management and application exceptions can be one of the most difficult components of conventional antivirus. The profiles, groups, and settings available within EDR solutions is a critical component of their effectiveness and enables administrators to customize an environment to its needs. Exception management allows for admins to easily set up apps that need to function, reducing headaches for admins and users alike.

 

6)      Ransomware Rollback Capabilities

Some EDR solutions enable a “rollback” in the case that an endpoint is compromised. By enabling a hardened image on a device, EDR solutions can have a secure fallback state should an attack compromise the EDR defenses. Instant rollback of workstations and servers can drastically reduce recovery time from an attack and help reacquire sensitive files that may have been encrypted.

 

7)      Enhanced Automations – A Force Multiplier

Automation managed by an experienced, professional staff is the name of the game when it comes to serious cybersecurity. Smaller and smaller organizations are being actively targeted by attackers, necessitating an affordable and effective automation platform for threat prevention. EDR solutions have the capability to incorporate automations that act as a force multiplier.

 

8)      Active Hunting and Incident Response

One of the primary selling points of an EDR solution is the capability for experienced cybersecurity analysts to perform Active Threat Hunts and Incident Response. Conventional AV does not allow for easy searching, instead relying on scans and “known-bad” reports to find the bad actors. EDR platforms enable investigative capabilities far beyond those of AV, enabling deep hunting across an enterprise with the click of a button.

 

9)      EDR-as-a-Service - Analyst-Backed Response

There is no substitute for an actively managed, “defense-in-depth” cybersecurity stack with prevention, detection, and response components. By leveraging EDR-as-a-service, organizations without the resources for a dedicated cybersecurity team can utilize an experienced team to prosecute suspicious events and remediate active threats.

 

10)  Fileless Malware and Deep Visibility

Fileless malware is simply malware that doesn’t have an associated file on the device. These are generally associated with advanced attacks and the main gap in coverage for conventional AV. EDR maintains deep system visibility to monitor for attacks from all avenues. EDR has no problems monitoring the myriad of avenues that malicious actors try to attack through. Visibility is key in detection and prevention of modern threats.

 

When properly managed, conventional AV has a place in certain organizations. However, The Scarlett Cybersecurity team overwhelmingly recommends considering the benefits of the switch to EDR. EDR is a powerful new solution that is generally priced aggressively. As the new “minimum endpoint security” recommendation from our team, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of remaining protected in these dangerous times.

 

Speak with the Scarlett Cybersecurity team for more information regarding EDR and EDR-as-a-Service.

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