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Endpoint Solutions to Security Threats: The EDR vs EPP Debate

While both are powerful components of an endpoint security strategy, EPP and EDR are designed to address different use cases.

Data breaches continue to be a significant and costly threat for organizations in 2023. As of last year, the average cost of a breach had reached an all-time high, at US$4.35 million, representing a 2.6% increase from 2021 and a whopping 12.7% increase over 2020. As the stakes get higher, protecting endpoints from cyber threats is becoming more critical for organizations. 

In response to the methods and tools that malicious actors use to infiltrate and exploit systems, the security industry has developed various endpoint security solutions to detect, prevent, and remediate attacks. However, while many vendors offer endpoint security solutions that claim to provide comprehensive protection for businesses, choosing the right solution for your organization can be difficult without insights into the key features and benefits of each option. According to Gartner, there are two main categories of advanced endpoint security: Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). Understanding the differences between these approaches can help you determine which one is the best fit for your business needs.

In this blog, we'll explore the differences between EPP and EDR and help you understand which approach might be best for your organization's security needs. While both are powerful components of an endpoint security strategy, EPP and EDR are designed to address different use cases. EPP is a preventative measure that focuses on stopping known threats before they can cause harm to an organization. EDR, on the other hand, is a proactive solution that uses real-time monitoring and threat hunting to identify and respond to unknown and advanced threats.

Endpoint Protection Platform

An Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) is a comprehensive security solution that is designed to detect and block threats at the device level. EPP typically includes features such as antivirus, anti-malware, data encryption, personal firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and data loss prevention (DLP). The primary objective of an EPP is to prevent cyber threats from infiltrating and compromising endpoints, such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. 

Traditionally, EPP solutions relied on signature-based approaches to identify threats based on known file signatures. However, with the ever-increasing number of new threats, the latest EPP solutions have evolved to utilize a broader range of detection techniques. For example, some modern EPP solutions leverage behavioural analysis, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to detect and block threats that have never been seen before. These advanced detection techniques enable EPP to identify unknown threats that may bypass signature-based protection.

An Endpoint Protection Platform provides several key advantages for organizations by offering a multi-layered approach to security that can protect against a broad range of threats.

  1. Preventive Protection: EPPs offer a range of security features, including antivirus, anti-malware, and personal firewalls, which can detect and block known threats before they can compromise endpoints. By identifying and blocking threats at the earliest possible stage, EPP can prevent a majority of cyber-attacks. 
  2. Network and Email Protection: EPPs can provide network protection by blocking access to malicious domains, URLs, and IP addresses, preventing malware from communicating with command-and-control servers. It also offers email security, filtering out spam and malicious attachments, protecting endpoints from email-based attacks. 
  3. Device Control: EPPs can enforce policies to control the use of devices such as USB drives, printers, and cameras, reducing the risk of data leakage. 
  4. Patch Management: EPPs can assist with patch management, keeping endpoints up to date with the latest security patches and reducing the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited.
  5. Sandboxed Inspection: With integrated sandboxes, EPP solutions provide a safe environment for executing and inspecting suspicious content. This enables analysis of a file’s behavior to determine if it contains malicious content or functionality. 
  6. Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR): EPP solutions use CDR to remove malicious content from a file while retaining benign portions, providing a middle ground between blocking suspicious content entirely and allowing it to pass through unchecked.
  7. Behavioural Analysis: Advanced EPP solutions use behavioural analysis to block unknown or zero-day threats that may bypass traditional signature-based detection methods. This approach can detect malicious behavior that is not yet identified in a threat database.

In addition to the many security benefits, many EPP solutions also offer tangential benefits that translate into a more secure and productive work environment.

  1. Ease of Use: EPP solutions are designed to be user-friendly and easy to deploy, making it simple for even non-technical users to use and manage. This ease of use means that end-users can quickly access and configure endpoint security without the need for specialized technical skills. 
  2. Centralized Management: EPP solutions typically offer centralized management capabilities, enabling IT administrators to manage security policies, update definitions, and monitor endpoint activity from a single console. 
  3. Improved Productivity: With EPP, end-users can work with the peace of mind that their endpoints are secure, reducing the need to worry about cyber threats or the potential consequences of a breach. This can help boost productivity, enabling employees to focus on their work rather than worrying about security. 

Endpoint Detection and Response

An Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platform is an advanced form of endpoint security that can be considered the next layer of security after EPP. Unlike EPP, which is largely focused on signature-based detection of known threats, EDR is designed to detect and respond to sophisticated and stealthy threats that may evade traditional detection methods. EDR platforms combine next-gen antivirus capabilities with additional tools for real-time anomaly detection, forensic analysis, and endpoint remediation.

EDR enables an organization to identify threats that are undetected within their network. Some of its key detection capabilities are:

  1. Early and Advanced Threat Detection: EDR provides early and real-time detection and threat intelligence, including the ability to detect and respond to advanced threats such as fileless malware, zero-day exploits, and other sophisticated attacks that target vulnerabilities. EDR can identify suspicious activities and help contain threats before they can cause significant harm, and it offers real-time anomaly detection and alerting. 
  2. Threat Hunting: EDR solutions have threat hunting capabilities, enabling organizations to proactively search for threats on their endpoints. By identifying threats before they become a problem, organizations can prevent damage to their systems, reduce the risk of data loss, and improve overall security. Enhanced visibility is another key advantage of EDR for threat hunting. 
  3. Enhanced Visibility: EDR solutions record every file execution and modification, registry change, network connection, and binary execution across an organization’s endpoints. This ensures enhanced threat visibility beyond the scope of EPPs to better understand the attack surface and identify potential vulnerabilities that may otherwise go unnoticed. The data collected by EDR provides enhanced visibility into data collection, attack origin identification, endpoint isolation, and malicious process stopping. 

After an analyst has identified a potential threat, EDR solutions also offer support for incident response, including:

  1. Incident Response Capabilities: EDR provides incident response capabilities to manage security incidents in real-time, including identifying the scope of an attack, tracking its progress, providing insights into how to remediate the issue, containing and mitigating the damage caused by the incident, and recovering from the incident. Endpoint isolation and malicious process stopping are two key aspects of incident response that EDR can perform.
  2. Forensic Analysis: EDR provides forensic analysis capabilities, allowing organizations to conduct a detailed investigation into the cause of a security incident. This analysis can help determine the root cause of an attack, report on the scope of the damage, and prevent similar attacks in the future. The data collected by EDR can be used to provide an audit trail of endpoint activity for forensic analysis. 

Additionally, EDR can help organizations comply with regulations and security standards by providing a detailed audit trail of endpoint activity. This audit trail can help organizations demonstrate compliance with regulations and standards and reduce the risk of penalties for non-compliance. EDR solutions can also cater to specific compliance requirements such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR, and the data collected by EDR can be used to demonstrate compliance.

Closing the Gap with Evren

Unified Endpoint Security

As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is essential to understand the limitations of EPP in detecting and responding to advanced threats. EPP is effective at blocking known threats, but it may not be enough to defend against sophisticated attacks. This is where EDR comes into play, providing additional capabilities to detect, investigate, and respond to attacks. With the convergence of the two markets, enterprises are increasingly looking for all-in-one solutions that provide both active and passive endpoint protection. In response to this trend, some EPP providers have integrated basic EDR functionality into their solutions, while EDR providers have incorporated aspects of EPPs into their offerings too. However, for complete endpoint security, a single platform solution that combines EPP and EDR is necessary. 

This is where Evren comes in. An OS with complete endpoint security, Evren integrates the functions of EPP and EDR on a single platform to provide a comprehensive “best of both worlds” solution. Its OS management portal can be hosted on-premises or run on a major cloud service provider, storing all data encrypted and securely backed up. Multi-factor authentication is enforced, and SSL encryption is used for secure internet connections. Evren's comprehensive approach to cybersecurity combines real-time threat detection, prevention, and response. It offers multiple layers of protection to prevent attacks before they happen, through features such as full disk encryption, application sandboxing, URL filtering, log management, asset and certificate management, and remote device management. This protection is round the clock and end-to-end, and a patch management system is employed where all systems are kept up-to-date and free of known vulnerabilities. Finally, in the unlikely event of a breach, Evren has an internal Data Breach Response Policy and an Incident Response Plan to ensure timely action.

Endpoint security is crucial for any organization, and both EPP and EDR solutions play a significant role in this. EPP solutions are designed to prevent various types of cyber threats from compromising an organization's systems, while EDR solutions enable the detection and response to endpoint threats. By using a combined solution like Evren, you can implement a holistic, robust approach to endpoint security, which will offer multiple layers of protection against current and potential cyber threats. Moreover, as a single, integrated solution, Evren also helps you save on costs, by reducing the need to purchase and manage multiple security tools. 

To learn more about Evren and how it can enhance your organization's endpoint protection, watch an in-depth product tour. You can also schedule a consultation to explore how Evren can benefit your organization specifically, or try out a free trial to test the platform for yourself.