Understanding Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?

EDR solutions are endpoint security tools designed to proactively detect potential attacks on endpoints. An endpoint can be a desktop, a laptop, a mobile, or any devices connected to the network. EDR technology helps you gain visibility into endpoint activity. This level of visibility can help you analyze threats, and respond to breaches, which will inevitably happen.

EDR tools continuously monitor endpoints and can quickly respond to cyber threats. Ideally, an EDR solution should provide capabilities for data exploration, threat hunting, detection of suspicious activity, forensic investigation tools like searching incident data, alerts prioritization, and response features that help stop attacks.

To increase coverage, you can combine EDR with an Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) solution, which is designed to block malware and prevent other malicious activity on the endpoint. EPP technology is preventative in nature while EDR technology is proactive. Together, EDR and EPP can help protect and respond to endpoint threats on the network and on endpoint devices.

Related content: read our guide to endpoint protection platforms.

Why is EDR Security Important?

An EDR solution keeps track of all endpoints connected to the corporate network, proactively looks for threats, and initiates responses. Here are several benefits of using EDR technology:

Continuous visibility across endpoints—EDR solutions continuously monitor and hunt for threats. You can use this information to block threats and analyze past and ongoing attacks. You can automate many processes and keep your team productive while maintaining visibility at all times.

  • Detection of unknown threats—traditional antivirus and firewalls are designed to detect known threats, usually using signature-based detection. An EDR solution can actively look for unknown threats and help you block and stop advanced attacks. Typically this is achieved through the use of behavior analysis capabilities powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Fast incident response—once the EDR solution detects a security event, it starts containing the threat. The solution isolates any affected endpoints, quickly responding to the event. Meanwhile, the security admin or team receives notifications and can respond quickly. The initial automated response is critical to prevent an event from escalating.
  • Efficient cyber forensics—EDR tools provide forensic capabilities, including visualizations. The solution continuously collects data and generates reports—of each step in the killer chain.

How EDR Works

To achieve real-time visibility and initiate proactive detection and response, EDR security solutions use several mechanisms, including:

  • Collection of data—generated at the endpoint level, including communications, process execution, and user logins.
  • Recording data—including real-time data logs containing information about security incidents.
  • A detection engine—that performs behavioral analysis. These insights are used to establish a baseline of normal activity and identify anomalies that represent malicious behavior.

The above three tasks are performed on a continuous basis to ensure real-time visibility and response. When threats are detected, the EDR solution performs automated responses while alerting relevant stakeholders.

What to Look for in an EDR Solution

Here are several important capabilities to look for in an EDR solution:

  • Incident triaging flow—an EDR solution can help prevent alert fatigue, by automatically triaging suspicious events. This helps security teams prioritize their investigations.
  • Threat hunting—can help proactively search for threats and potential intrusions.
  • Data aggregation and enrichment—is needed to provide context, and context helps EDR solutions and security teams differentiate between false positives and real threats.
  • Integrated response—enables teams to quickly review evidence and immediately respond to security events.
  • Multiple response options—enable teams and technologies to appropriately respond to an event. For example, responses should include capabilities for eradication and quarantine.

Endpoint Detection and Response Best Practices

Here are several best practices to consider when implementing EDR in your organization.

Integrate with Other Tools

EDR solutions are designed to protect endpoints—this does not provide complete security coverage for all digital assets in your organization. EDR should work as a component in your information security strategy, combined alongside other tools such as patch management, antivirus, firewalls, encryption, and DNS protection.

Ideally, an EDR solution should integrate with your existing Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution. A SIEM monitors and provides alerts when network-wide issues are detected. You can use SIEM to centralize various security processes and the collection of logs. Centralization can help you quickly respond to events and analyze data.

Use Network Segmentation

While some EDR solutions isolate endpoints when responding to threats, they do not replace network segmentation. Here are some examples:

  • A segmented network—lets you restrict endpoints to specific services and data repositories. This can significantly reduce data loss risks and the level of damage a successful attack might accomplish.
  • Ethernet Switch Paths (ESPs)—can help you further protect the network. ESPs let you hide the structure of the network, ensuring attackers cannot easily move between segments of the network.

Choosing a Vendor Based on Your Organization’s Specific Requirements

The features and cost of an EDR solution can vary between vendors. Before choosing an EDR tool, make the time to research multiple vendors and find the one that suits the needs of your organization. Here are some questions to consider:

Can you integrate the EDR solution with your existing operating systems (OS) and applications?

  • Does the solution offer integration with third-party security tools?

Integration is critical to ensure your security strategy works smoothly. However, there are many other considerations. Model your question according to your existing circumstances and requirements, and choose the appropriate tool.

Be Aware that EDR Solutions Require Human Talent

EDR solutions, when deployed across large networks covering many endpoints, can generate thousands or even tens of thousands of alerts on a daily basis. To effectively respond to alerts, you need to set up a prioritization strategy that reduces the amount of false positives and ensures your team remains productive.

There are many systems that can reduce false positives, but you also need security analysts that can analyze the data generated by the system. You can hire your own in-house staff or hire external service providers.

Endpoint Security with Hysolate

Hysolate Workspace increases your endpoint security with a fully isolated and secured VM that sits on your users’ Windows10 endpoint, so your team can work productively on their host operating system, while keeping access to your company’s data secured and protected in the Hysolate OS.

Workspace is deployed and scaled in minutes on user endpoints, and is managed from the cloud, so you can customize policies for each team and their needs. Unlike cloud-based traditional VDI or DaaS solutions, Workspace provides a great native user experience, with no lag or latency issues, even when using communication and productivity applications like Slack and Zoom. Hysolate reduces management time and resources, compared to other traditional EDR solutions, by isolating all risky activities from corporate data, while allowing teams to get their jobs done.

To find out more about how Hysolate can help secure your endpoint devices, while your team can work productively, request a demo here.