Endpoint detection response

Endpoint detection response (EDR) tools provide an answer to the severe limitations of signature-based methods.

They continuously monitor end-user devices to detect and respond to cyber threats. The term was coined by Anton Chuvakin in 2013, with EDR tools becoming increasingly popular in 2014.

Before, most companies relied on classic antiviruses or signature-based solutions. What changed? In 2014, a Symantec executive explained in an interview in the New York Times that antivirus solutions were about 49% ineffective. That admission from one of the biggest companies in this sector led many to make the switch to EDR.

So, how exactly do EDR tools help?

✅ They can automatically detect stealthy attackers. By monitoring endpoints, they can detect an attack right as it happens, before it does any damage to your systems. This may not seem like a lot now, but back then it was a huge improvement compared to signature-based tools that scanned the system at pre-defined intervals.

✅ They apply behavioral analysis, which means they can detect zero-day threats and sophisticated attacks signature-based tools may miss.

✅ They have incident detection and response capabilities and can isolate compromised endpoints and facilitate quick remediation.

✅ They can be integrated with other security tools for even broader protection.

Despite all these benefits, EDR tools are slowly but surely being replaced with XDR tools. Here’s where EDR is failing.

❌ They only protect endpoint devices. Anything beyond that is past their visibility point. That means your network, cloud, and email are vulnerable if you only use EDR tools.

❌ Their threat-detection rules are static. While they can detect attacks in real time, they are still limited to a known set of rules, which leaves them vulnerable to newer attacks.

❌ They often send a high volume of low-fidelity alerts, which can overwhelm security teams, leaving real attacks undetected.

❌ They process and store large amounts of data. That comes with a need for increased storage capacity. But it also brings data privacy concerns, as you’ll need to make sure the processing is compliant with privacy regulations like the GDPR.

❌ EDR tools are expensive. From software licensing, to initial setup and maintenance, the costs of using EDR tools will add up quicker than you’d expect.

With all these downsides and blind spots, it is easy to see why we’re currently drifting away from EDR towards XDR. What makes XDR better and how can you use them? We’ll cover all that next time.

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