In today's cybersecurityCybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access, damage, or attack. It involves a range of strategies and technologies designed to safeguard digital assets from cyber threats like hacking, viruses, and data breaches. Cybersecurity measures are essential to prevent sensitive information from being stolen or tampered with, and to ensure the smooth functioning of digital systems. This field is increasingly important in our connected world, where a lot of personal, financial, and business activities are conducted online. landscape, two essential components stand out: Endpoint Detection and Response Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a cybersecurity technology that addresses the need for continuous monitoring and response to advanced threats. It focuses on endpoint devices like computers, mobile phones, and servers. EDR platforms provide real-time monitoring and data collection capabilities, as well as tools for analyzing, detecting, and responding to cyber threats. (EDR Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a cybersecurity technology that addresses the need for continuous monitoring and response to advanced threats. It focuses on endpoint devices like computers, mobile phones, and servers. EDR platforms provide real-time monitoring and data collection capabilities, as well as tools for analyzing, detecting, and responding to cyber threats. ) and Network Detection and Response Network Detection and Response (NDR) is a cybersecurity solution focused on monitoring and analyzing network traffic to detect and respond to suspicious activities and potential threats. NDR tools use advanced analytics, including AI and machine learning, to identify abnormal traffic patterns or behaviors that may indicate a security threat. (NDR Network Detection and Response (NDR) is a cybersecurity solution focused on monitoring and analyzing network traffic to detect and respond to suspicious activities and potential threats. NDR tools use advanced analytics, including AI and machine learning, to identify abnormal traffic patterns or behaviors that may indicate a security threat. ). While they might seem similar at a glance, they have distinct functionalities.
NDR focuses on detecting and counteracting threats on the networkA collection of interconnected computers, servers, and other devices that allow for the exchange and sharing of data and resources. Networks can be classified based on size, function, and access. Common types include Local Area Network (LAN), which connects devices in a localized area such as an office or home; Wide Area Network (WAN), which connects devices across large distances, possibly globally; and Virtual Private Network (VPN), which provides secure, encrypted connections over the internet. A network relies on standardized protocols, such as TCP/IP, to ensure uniform communication and data transfer between devices. . Given that most activities today, malicious or otherwise, traverse the network, NDR becomes a pivotal element of a comprehensive defense strategy. Although NDR can predict the applications a device runs by observing its ports and protocols, it remains oblivious to the actual program code within the device. For insights into the latter, an EDR solution is indispensable.
Conversely, EDR zeroes in on threats on individual endpoints – be it laptops, desktops, or smartphones. EDR software agents, compatible with various operating systemsA vital software that manages a computer's hardware and software resources, and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system acts as an intermediary between users and the computer hardware and is essential for the execution of application software. Examples include Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. , continuously monitor running processes In computing, a process is an instance of a computer program that is being executed. It contains the program code and its current activity. Each process has a unique process ID and maintains its own set of resources such as memory and processor state. A process can initiate sub-processes, creating a tree of processes. to detect anomalies within the device. However, EDR's visibility is confined to devices it's installed on, excluding a vast range of IoT A network of physical objects embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies, designed to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. These objects range from ordinary household items to sophisticated industrial tools. , OT Operational Technology refers to the hardware and software used to control industrial processes, particularly in industries such as manufacturing, energy, transportation, and utilities. OT is mainly used to monitor and control physical devices and processes. Unlike IT, which focuses on computing and information systems, OT deals with the direct control or monitoring of physical operations. , Consumer Electronics, Network Infrastructure, and Building Automation that can't support these software agents.
So, in broad terms, EDR is blind to the network and NDR is blind to the installed processes. Both approaches are important for organizations to deploy as part of their defense-in-depthDefense-in-depth is a cybersecurity strategy that layers multiple security controls and practices across an organization’s entire digital landscape. The idea is to create a multilayered defense system where, if one security measure fails, others are in place to thwart a potential breach or attack. This approach involves a combination of technological solutions (like firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems), physical security measures, and organizational policies (like user training and access controls). By implementing varied defensive strategies at different points, defense-in-depth aims to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information by ensuring there are no single points of failure in the security infrastructure. strategy. However, they each require different skill sets and as such, organizations need to be of sufficient security maturity. EDR typically involves a team of specialists who are trained in detecting and responding to endpoint threats. Whereas, NDR is typically handled by a team of specialists who are trained in detecting and responding to network threats.
Gartner refers to the necessity of combining these two as a ‘SOCA Security Operations Center (SOC) is a centralized unit that deals with security issues on an organizational and technical level. It's equipped with a team of security experts and sophisticated IT tools, tasked with continuously monitoring and analyzing an organization’s security posture. The primary goals of a SOC are to detect, analyze, respond to, report on, and prevent cybersecurity incidents. The SOC team uses a combination of technology solutions and processes to ensure that potential security incidents are identified quickly and dealt with effectively to minimize risk and protect the organization's assets. Triad’.
"...visibility requires both (NDR and EDR). If you are concerned about super-advanced threats disabling agents, using BIOSThe BIOS is a low-level software that starts up when a computer is turned on and initializes the hardware components, providing basic functions to boot the operating system. It is typically stored on a small memory chip on the motherboard.
A specification for the interface between the operating system and the platform firmware. It's the successor to the BIOS.
A rootkit is a type of malicious software designed to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, often at the deepest (root) level. Once installed, it allows attackers to remotely control the system, typically without detection by users or security programs. Rootkits are particularly dangerous because they can actively hide their existence and the existence of other malware, making detection and removal challenging. They can be used for a variety of nefarious purposes, including stealing personal information, monitoring user activity, or facilitating further attacks. Rootkits are known for their stealth and persistence, embedding deeply into an operating system to intercept and manipulate core system functions.
, you need to compensate with non-endpoint visibility, too.
— Gartner (Barros)
In the expansive digital realm of today's organizations, a mature cybersecurity approach is indispensable. This evolution is not just about deploying tools but understanding their place in the broader defense strategy.
EDR serves as the bedrock. Targeting individual devices, it's a starting point for organizations beginning their cybersecurity initiatives. Yet, its limited scope underscores the need for progression. A vast swath of the network remains untouched by EDR, emphasizing the significance of advancing to the next level.
As organizations aim to elevate their defense mechanisms, the role of NDR becomes central. It complements EDR, plugging its visibility gaps and ensuring comprehensive coverage of the network landscape. Further, NDR solutions with behavioral learning stand out, detecting inter-device pattern changes, regardless of whether they fall under EDR's domain.
In sum, it's a journey of understanding and action. Starting with EDR, organizations secure immediate and accessible assets. Integrating NDR ensures a more encompassing defense. It's about gauging where one stands in their organizational maturity and leveraging tools that best serve their evolving needs.