In today’s constantly evolving cyber-threat landscape, your organization’s endpoints are more than simple workstations. They are digital connections to the online world, which is undeniably useful, but can become dangerous as well. Did you know that most cyber attackers enter your business infrastructure via your endpoints? This is why enterprise needs to be protected on all fronts. An EDR solution can help you achieve that.

But what is an EDR solution? How does it work? And, most importantly, what should you be looking at when considering one for your enterprise? Find out the answers to these questions and more in the following lines.

What is an EDR Solution?

Before defining the scope of an EDR solution, it is important to first understand what EDR means. To recap what my colleague Bianca has already explained in a past article, the acronym stands for endpoint detection and response. The term was coined in 2013 by former Gartner security analyst and VP and current Google security product strategist Anton Chuvakin.

Therefore, the notion refers to endpoint detection and response cybersecurity technologies. Their purpose is to continually monitor and react to potential threats or attacks, as well as mitigate them accordingly. As the name implies, an EDR solution is specifically designed to protect endpoints, which are remote computing devices that communicate with the company network. This occurs regardless of whether they are located within the online perimeter or outside it.

So…What Does an EDR Solution Do?

What an EDR solution does, in a nutshell, is deploy several layers of cybersecurity tools that monitor endpoint devices and gather data from them. The solutions then analyze the collected bits and pieces of information to reveal known cyber-threats and issues in the system, as well as predict potential ones through machine learning.

Every EDR solution has its own set of capabilities depending on what individual developers decide to integrate into it. However, common features that most products of this type share among them include:

  • online and offline endpoint monitoring,
  • real-time incident response,
  • increased user data transparency and visibility,
  • cyberattack and malicious incident detection,
  • blacklist and whitelist creation,
  • and integration with other cybersecurity solutions.

What to Look for in an EDR Solution

The aforementioned features are made possible by various components you should look for if you’re in the market for an EDR solution. I have narrowed it down to seven essential picks in the subsections below, so let’s have a better look at each and every one of them.

#1 Risk Mitigation

The first thing you should look for in an EDR solution is that of risk mitigation, particularly through incident prevention. This is where the notion of EPDR comes in. The acronym stands for endpoint prevention, detection, and response. Our very own Miriam Cihodariu wrote an excellent article about it a while back, so make sure to check it out.

The recommended course of action in today’s threat landscape comes in the form of DNS filtering. This practice consists of monitoring network and endpoint traffic at the level of the DNS and subsequently blocking queries that are identified as malicious. By denying access to infected domains and other potential digital dangers, your company will nail prevention right on the head.

#2 Artificial Intelligence

DNS filtering goes hand in hand with machine learning, which is why you should aim for your EDR solution to be artificial intelligence-driven. A strong AI component ensures that your defenses are both self-improving and self-actualizing by analyzing behaviors and detecting potential new threats on top of already known ones.

By incorporating artificial intelligence into your suite of cybersecurity tools, you can fill the gap left by the deficient reactive solutions of the past. Machine learning will provide your system with robust proactive protection against advanced forms of malware, securing your corporate infrastructure in the process.

#3 Application Control

No EDR solution is complete without application control, which is the way to go in terms of the aforementioned whitelisting and blacklisting features that you should expect. This layer of protection restricts the execution of unauthorized applications in your corporate network, which in turn prevents a wide array of cyber-threats from burrowing themselves deep into the system.

#4 Privileged Access Management

Privileged access management is the user-level counterpart to application control. By enforcing the principle of least privilege, a PAM solution will ensure that employees don’t have access to more internal resources than they need. This is convenient not only in the mitigation of insider threats but in the minimization of a potential cyberattack. Simply put, when admin rights are closely monitored and de-escalated upon threat detection, digital damages brought onto your organization won’t be as considerable.

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#5 Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management, or MDM for short, is a cybersecurity practice that has become essential in the modern workplace where BYOD is the norm. At this layer of an EDR solution, IT admins can securely manage employee mobile devices with access to confidential business data. An MDM tool not only stores information about said mobile devices but also outlines a list of apps that can be installed on them along with corresponding policies.

#6 Vulnerability Management

If you follow our blog regularly, then you already know that unpatched vulnerabilities are still one of the biggest security liabilities your company can have in the digital world. Unfortunately, many employees overlook this crucial aspect due to a lack of time and resources. For this reason, the EDR solution you implement must have proper vulnerability management tools that are complete with automated patching software.

#7 Optimized Performance

As you can infer from what I’ve presented thus far, a true EDR solution has several moving parts that enhance its efficiency. For illustrative purposes, think of it as a fortress with various layers of defense instead of as a simple shield. This can become quite heavy on your internal resources, which is why you must look for an EDR solution that has an optimized system performance.

#8 Cross-Compatibility

One final thing to consider when looking at an EDR solution is cross-compatibility. Do the aforementioned prevention, detection, and response components interact with each other, or are they static? Needless to say, the former is preferable, because it means that the various tools you use as part of the suite communicate data to one another. This leads to an optimized process and a holistic approach to cybersecurity overall.

Main Benefits of an EDR Solution

Now that we’ve established what an EDR solution is and what it does, it’s time to dive into why you should implement one. There are three main benefits I want to discuss in this context: improved operation efficiency, enhanced threat detection and transparency, and reduced costs and resource usage. Let’s have a more detailed look at each one, shall we?

a. Enhanced Threat Detection and Transparency

Your company’s endpoints are the main entry point for malicious code and other ill-intentioned third parties. What is more, the fact that not all endpoints are located within the organization’s online network perimeter makes threat detection all the more difficult to achieve. A holistic EDR solution is the best way to mitigate this risk.

An EDR solution enhances your endpoint transparency level, spotting and blocking threats sooner rather than later. Furthermore, it utilizes AI-driven behavioral analysis to stop the lateral movement of both known and unknown attack vectors. For this reason, it is considered a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

b. Improved Operational Efficiency

An EDR solution takes a layered approach to your network defense. It helps reduce lateral movement within the corporate environment, which means that it not only detects and prevents insider threats but other low and slow operations such as APTs as well. Such a tool thus allows your administrator to oversee the security of hundreds or even thousands of separate systems at a time, greatly improving your company’s operational efficiency.

c. Reduced Costs and Resource Usage

Last, but certainly not least, an EDR solution comes with financial benefits as well. By detecting and stopping threats early on, it will save your company a lot of time and money in terms of remediation. It’s always more cost and time-effective to prevent an attack rather than mitigate it after the fact. What is more, if you choose our Heimdal Security suite of products, you will have access to everything you need in the Unified Dashboard, which means that system resources won’t be too strained either.

Wrapping Up…

The Heimdal Security suite of products can come together to form the ideal EDR solution for your enterprise. Our proprietary DarkLayer Guard™ technology coupled with the VectorN Detection module covers the DNS filtering and machine learning capabilities of our Heimdal™ Threat Prevention Network and Endpoint.

Next on the list, Heimdal™ Privileged Access Management and the complementary Application Control handle access rights at user and application level, preventing both internal and external threats from escalating. Pair all these layers with Heimdal™ Patch & Asset Management and the MDM feature of our Heimdal™ Next-Gen Endpoint Antivirus, and you’ll get a holistic suite of endpoint detection and response solutions that covers all your bases.

Do you have an EDR solution in place as part of your company’s digital defense strategy? Are there any other benefits or features you think people should know about? Let me know in the comments below!

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