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The Evolution from Antivirus to EDR in Cybersecurity

At the beginning of the 21st century, antivirus software was the most reliable source of protection against known threats and viruses. Every computer had an antivirus program installed on it, and it was quite enough to protect the computers from various threats like viruses, worms, and the early versions of malware.

But a lot has changed since then, our computers have become more powerful, and we started using them more often in our everyday activities. Not only for browsing the websites for news or playing games and watching videos. We were provided with digital banking, online shopping, working from home, etc. This, of course, was the moment that cybercriminals didn't miss the opportunity to create more complex and sophisticated advanced threats and attacks.

With the main purpose of penetrating our computers, stealing sensitive information, and causing damage to the systems, all with the main goal of gaining financial benefits and using the stolen information for criminal purposes.

Through all these years, it was obvious that the antivirus software was struggling to prevent these threats, and on the stage emerged the EDR solutions, with all the tools and benefits that they provide, like constant monitoring, threat detection, threat hunting, and instant response. It was proven that EDR is actually able to identify malware and stop these threats on time before things get out of control.

The era of EDR began, and constant upgrades and additional security measures and tools were added to it in order to become as secure and reliable as we know it today. Endpoint detection and response, or EDR, is software designed to automatically protect an organization's end users, endpoint devices, and IT assets against cyber threats that get past antivirus software and other traditional security tools.

Almost anything connected to an organization's network should be considered an endpoint. But what are the risks of having multiple endpoints? Nowadays, organizations of all sizes have more endpoints than ever. Between people having multiple devices and the need to access network resources while working from anywhere, there is an increased security risk. Simply put, adding additional points of access means adding more ways attackers can find their way in.

EDR collects data continuously from all endpoints on the network: desktop and laptop computers, servers, mobile devices, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and more. It analyzes this data in real-time for evidence of known or suspected cyber threats and can respond automatically to prevent or minimize damage from threats it identifies. All these features provide every client with peace of mind that they are protected in the best way possible and that the chance of becoming a victim of a cyberattack is minimized.

Understanding Antivirus and Endpoint Security - What are the Main Differences

In the digital world we live in, it is very important to understand correctly the massive upgrade that endpoint security is compared to traditional antivirus software. Both of them are synonyms of protection, security, and reliability, created with the main purpose of providing peace of mind to their users. But what are the main differences between these two? If you want to know the answer, keep reading, we will describe it in the following paragraphs.

What is antivirus software, and how does it work?

An antivirus program is software used to prevent, scan, detect, and delete viruses from a computer. After installation, the antivirus software typically operates in the background to continuously protect your computer against virus attacks.

This type of protection program is designed to keep your files and hardware secure and safe from harmful malicious software, like viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware. Additionally, they provide security features such as firewalls and the capability to block certain untrusted websites because, through them, malicious files and links can be opened by mistake and, furthermore, infiltrate your computer.

What is Endpoint Detection and Response, and how does it work?

EDR steps in, offering a dynamic response to the ever-changing threat landscape. EDR goes beyond its traditional scope by incorporating endpoint detection and response capabilities.

Security analysts and teams increasingly turn to EDR solutions to address the challenges posed by the newer and meaner known and unknown threats. These solutions employ advanced technologies, such as behavioral analysis, constant monitoring, threat hunting, and machine learning, to detect and mitigate emerging and evolving threats, that may try to penetrate and slip through our protection system. This proactive approach enhances overall endpoint protection, providing a layer of defense against new and evolving forms or malicious files.

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Endpoint protection, as offered by EDR antivirus, extends beyond the conventional focus on malware. It encompasses a broader scope of vulnerabilities and potential risks. These types of solutions empower security teams by providing real-time monitoring and visibility into endpoint activities, allowing for rapid identification of suspicious behavior or unauthorized access, and intercepting them in their early stages.

As opposed to traditional antivirus, which mainly relies on signature-based detection, EDR antivirus solutions offer enhanced response capabilities. If a security incident occurs, EDR enables security teams to investigate, contain, and remediate the threat promptly. This level of responsiveness is crucial in dealing with unknown threats that may slip through our security systems.

Furthermore, the synergy between traditional antivirus and EDR is increasingly becoming a standard in comprehensive security strategies. Security software that combines the strengths of both approaches ensures a well-rounded defense against the diverse and sophisticated threats faced by organizations.

By leveraging the strengths of EDR tools alongside traditional antivirus measures, security teams can fortify their defenses and stay ahead of the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats. The combination of these two security measures leads to the best results in protecting your computers, networks, and the important information stored there.

Antivirus vs EDR: A Comprehensive Comparison

The comparison between EDR (endpoint detection and response) and traditional antivirus programs becomes a pivotal aspect of crafting a powerful defense strategy against potential threats. Understanding the differences and comparisons between these security solutions is crucial in creating a proper security strategy for organizations against both known and unknown security incidents.

The traditional antivirus system is a decentralized security system, relying on signature-based detection to identify and eliminate known malware threats. They are concentrated on detecting well-established viruses, worms, and Trojans, providing a solid foundation to protect against potential threats with recognized malware signatures.

However, antivirus programs struggle with the task of preventing unknown threats and malicious processes that use new approaches and tactics to evade detection by antivirus solutions and attack your systems. In this context, it becomes clear that another security layer should be applied in order to stop these new and advanced threats.

On the other hand, EDR solutions provide more comprehensive protection solutions. Focused on real-time monitoring and analysis of our endpoint activities, EDR is adept at detecting both known and unknown threats. This is accomplished by using technologies like behavioral analysis, threat hunting, and machine learning, which always set you one step ahead of these destructive advanced threats.

An endpoint security solution has the ability to detect potential security incidents before they spread to all your endpoints, offering a proactive defense against a broader spectrum of threats beyond conventional malware and other known threats.

The distinction in EDR ability to detect threats is particularly evident when considering potential security incidents that have not happened yet but may face them anytime. While traditional antivirus programs may succeed at preventing known threats, EDR solutions shine in their capacity to respond swiftly to unknown and more sophisticated attacks.

This real-time responsiveness is vital in minimizing the impact of potential security incidents and the time between detection and response, providing a more agile defense against every single threat.

When evaluating the abilities to deal with all the cyber attacks, traditional antivirus programs primarily address the known malware signatures and threats, offering foundational protection against recognized dangers, but this doesn't mean the same for the unknown ones.

On the other hand, endpoint protection platforms provide a more comprehensive security posture by encompassing advanced capabilities such as threat hunting and forensic analysis. This broader approach enables organizations to proactively detect and respond to potential security incidents before they escalate. In this letter, it really makes EDR solutions a lifesaving option for you and your business.

The integration of both EDR and antivirus into a successful and powerful security strategy is crucial. Traditional antivirus software serves as a reliable shield against known threats, forming the basic level of defense. EDR solutions complement this by actively responding to potential security incidents, whether they involve known or unknown threats.

The combination of these security solutions ensures a robust defense mechanism, taking your security protection to a whole new level and boosting its ability to deal with any type of threat that may be faced on a daily basis.

The choice between EDR and antivirus is not a binary decision but a strategic one that involves integrating both solutions into a comprehensive security framework. As organizations face the challenges of potential threats, the combined strength of traditional antivirus and EDR provides a dynamic defense against any type of cyber threat.

Combining these two security tools really makes a great difference and provides you with peace of mind that if an unexpected scenario happens, you will be prepared to avoid any catastrophic consequences.

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How EDR Complements Antivirus Solutions in Cyber Defense

As we mentioned above, an antivirus program is not capable of providing you with the necessary protection, but when you add EDR solutions, it really changes the frame and takes your cybersecurity to a whole new level.

There are a few reasons behind this claim:

Automation and visibility

EDR constantly collects and analyzes data. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. EDR converts that data into actionable intelligence and provides complete visibility into devices within a corporate network and their operating systems.

This means data patterns and suspicious activity can be isolated quickly and provide security teams with fast and accurate assessments of any anomalous behavior indicating a potential threat on the centralized security radar. This cuts down on detection time and diminishes the need to rely on highly skilled security specialists, who are expensive to hire and would mean additional financial expenses for your business organization.

In today's digital world, where unknown malware and threats are prevalent, it is crucial for your organization to invest in a powerful security solution, like an endpoint protection tool. This will ensure that you have the necessary level of security to protect you from new and unknown threats.

Security approach

This is another aspect that we have to keep in mind. Antivirus systems are reactive, so this tool only acts when there is a threat. On the other hand, endpoint protection platforms are proactive, so they can detect and stop threats that try to gain access to your devices and systems with new approaches and tactics.

Response method

The response process is another difference between traditional antivirus and EDR solutions. An antivirus program takes action when a threat has already entered the system before it starts to perform malicious actions, usually by preventing its execution, deleting the file, and any traces it may have left on the way, all in an automated way.

The difference here is that EDR responds in an automated way with actions like blocking execution and isolating endpoints to prevent malware from spreading and causing any damage, giving the security team time to investigate the potential threat, its impact, and how to recover from it.

Response time

Antivirus programs offer automated responses. Their ability to detect threats is limited to those that are already known. On the other hand, EDR systems excel at detecting unfamiliar threats that might otherwise go unnoticed. The speed of detection and response relies on the automated detection capabilities, visibility, containment, and automated remediation offered by EDR systems.

Detection

It is one of the most obvious upgrades that EDR provides because antivirus systems rely on static threat signatures and patterns, limiting their ability to detect threats. But EDR takes a behavior-based approach by constantly monitoring network endpoints in real time. This allows it to identify and respond to both known and unknown threats by flagging any suspicious behavior, making EDR a real game-changer in the world of cyber security.

The truth is that EDR enhances your antivirus protection because it provides processes that traditional antivirus software can't offer and fills the gaps in your other security measures too. Thus, you will be able to face any cyber threat without worrying about the consequences because EDR doesn't give the cyber attack the chance or time to spread and cause damage.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in EDR: A Leap Over Antivirus

As we discussed above, we know that traditional security solutions face challenges in keeping up with the increasing complexity of cyber threats. However, thanks to AI, EDR tools have the ability to overcome these limitations and elevate cyber protection to a whole new level, providing the best protection and results possible.

The power of AI greatly enhances threat detection capabilities. Unlike rule-based systems that rely on predefined criteria, these technologies learn from real-world data. The latest incidents are continuously adapting and evolving to detect both threats and those that were previously unknown.

In the realm of EDR security tools, where timely response is fundamental, AI shines and positions you one step ahead of all known and still unknown cyber threats. By swiftly identifying and categorizing them, these technologies enable security teams to respond promptly to these attacks. Whether it's suspicious behavior in the systems or a sophisticated attack vector, AI and ML provide a dynamic security mechanism.

It is important to not only identify suspicious activities but also comprehend the context and intention behind them. These sophisticated tools play a key role in improving the accuracy of threat assessment, minimizing false alerts, and enabling security teams to concentrate on genuine risks by effectively managing threat detection. So we can definitely say that AI has a huge impact on EDR, making it a lot more efficient and powerful tool when dealing with the advanced threats that stalk us every day.

Antivirus and EDR Working Hand in Hand

As we already mentioned earlier, antivirus software and EDR differ in all stages. The truth is that the combination of them provides an incredible level of security. You won't need to be worried anymore about new malicious activity, wondering if such an attack can cause a security breach, because the capabilities of malware detection in EDR are simply the best, delivering astonishingly advanced protection.

Also, the response system gives you the chance to react to these threats before they spread and cause serious damage to your systems and networks. The constant monitoring reduces the cases of false positive alerts for malicious attacks or any other type of cyber threat and enhances the security functions of your cybersecurity solutions by miles.

The cooperation between antivirus and EDR software is apparent in their objective of strengthening the security stance of organizations. Conventional antivirus acts as a barrier, stopping recognized threats from infiltrating your computer or network system. On the other hand, EDR acts as a wall for all the new and unknown attacks, actively inspecting for indications of compromise, suspicious activities, and potential security breaches.

In conclusion, we can confirm that the synergy between antivirus and EDR is fundamental. By working hand in hand, these security solutions provide a layered defense mechanism that is essential in the face of emerging threats orchestrated by sophisticated threat actors.

Advanced Threat Detection - The Edge of EDR Over Antivirus

EDR is a powerful security solution that provides the best approaches and techniques to intercept potential known and unknown threats before they have penetrated the systems and networks of our business organizations and caused any serious damage.

One of the most remarkable tools that EDR uses is advanced threat detection because it involves constant monitoring and data gathering from endpoints to identify and address threats in real-time and provides information about actions at the endpoints, including details about attempted cyberattacks.

As we already know, the threats that we are exposed to every day are becoming more complex and destructive day by day, and cybercriminals work tirelessly to reach their goal of penetrating a system as fast and unnoticed as possible. In order to gain access to sensitive information and then benefit from it. So the need for a dynamic and powerful solution to intercept these attacks has become crucial.

And this is the moment where EDR's advanced threat detection shines like a diamond because it uses a variety of approaches and techniques assisted by AI that are able to identify these mean and destructive attacks in their early stages.

Because, as we all know, time is a key aspect when it comes to dealing with a cyberattack. EDR handles these attacks with ease. This level of advanced threat detection is crucial in identifying and mitigating risks before they escalate into full-blown security incidents. We can definitely say that if you want to be one step ahead of cybercriminals, it is mandatory to start using EDR solutions provided with advanced threat detection capabilities.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to enhance your cybersecurity expertise and maximize protection for your MSP business. Enroll in our comprehensive “MSP Academy: What is EDR?” training course today and gain a thorough understanding of endpoint detection and response. Learn how to monitor, detect, investigate and respond to potential threats on endpoint devices while gaining enhanced visibility and response capabilities. With insights into the evolutionary context of cybersecurity and best practices for implementation and integration, this course will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to fortify your overall cybersecurity posture. Don't wait; enroll now, watch a 25-minute module, pass the exam and claim your Credly badge. Enroll now!

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About Acronis

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 1,800 employees in 45 locations. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.

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