What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?
The acronym EDR stands for Endpoint Detection and Response. It is a concept and technical solution to protect and defend against cyber threats from endpoints such as PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones or servers. EDR represents a further development of protection solutions such as virus scanners or endpoint protection.
Alternatively, the term Endpoint Threat Detection and Response (ETDR) is used. EDR solutions continuously monitor the behavior of endpoints. Events and activities such as user logins, file accesses, registry accesses, network transactions, or memory accesses are collected and analyzed for suspicious behavior in real-time.
Advanced methods such as machine learning and artificial intelligence are used for analysis. Conspicuous behavior of end devices indicates, for example, malware infestation, a phishing attack, or the intrusion of an attacker. So unlike anti-virus software, cyber threats are detected not just by simply scanning files for virus signatures, but also by looking at the behavior of endpoints.
When suspicious behavior is identified, Endpoint Detection and Response provides automated responses to defend against it, such as isolating the endpoints. EDR solutions from numerous companies are available on the market. Among the providers are Cisco, McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, or F-Secure.
Functions and components of EDR solutions
The basic functions of an EDR solution are:
- Monitoring and collecting the activities and events of the endpoints in real-time
- Aggregate and analyze the data using advanced techniques and algorithms in real-time
- Identify suspicious behavior and detect threats
- Automated response to combat and defend against the threats.
Monitoring and collecting activities and events usually take place with software agents installed on endpoints. They collect data from various processes and analyze it directly on the end device or transfer it to a central database. The analysis of the data takes place with the help of advanced methods such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The data collected and analyzed include, for example, user logins, file accesses, registry accesses, network transactions, or memory accesses. Predefined rules, matching with cyber threat knowledge bases, or self-generated knowledge using artificial intelligence can be used to identify suspicious behavior.
Based on behavioral anomalies, the EDR solution offers automated response options for defending against and combating the threat, such as separating the end devices from the network. At the same time, IT security managers and users are informed about the security incident.
Differentiation from XDR (Extended Detection and Response)
Extended Detection and Response, abbreviated XDR, is a further development and extension of the EDR concept. The term was coined by Palo Alto Networks and Gartner analysts, among others, in 2018. In contrast to EDR, XDR looks not only at the behavior of the end devices but also at the behavior of the entire IT infrastructure for threat detection and prevention.
XDR collects data and analyzes the behavior of all IT layers and applications, and includes network components such as routers and switches, physical and virtual servers, databases, or cloud services. Instead of looking at security only from the perspective of endpoint behavior, a holistic view of IT security and potential cyber threats emerges by looking at all components involved.
Like EDR, XDR does not just work reactively but automatically takes active measures to prevent threats. The goal of XDR is to raise the security level of the IT infrastructure and protect against cyber threats, data breaches, and data loss.