EDR vs Antivirus: Which One Do You Need?

ArmourZero
5 min readSep 19, 2023

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In cybersecurity, we are already familiar with Antivirus. However, as the number and types of cyberattacks continue to increase, another solution called EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) has emerged. So, what sets Antivirus and EDR apart? How can we determine which one suits our needs, or which one is better for protecting our business and organisation? Let’s delve into each solution to gain a better understanding of which one is most suitable for your requirements.

What Is Antivirus?

Antivirus is a type of software used to prevent, scan, detect, and delete viruses from a computer. Another crucial function of antivirus software is the scanning feature, which routinely conducts full or quick scans on the device to ensure nothing is missed, and potential threats are not overlooked. When the protection software identifies a malicious file within the operating system, it typically either quarantines the file, rendering it harmless, or deletes it entirely to prevent any harm.

Is Antivirus Sufficient?

Antivirus employs various types of scans to identify malware on a computer system:

  • Signature Scan
    Detects new programs on the machine, reads their hash, and compares it to known malware signatures.
  • Heuristic Scan
    Identifies programs that exhibit abnormal behaviour, even if they don’t match a known malware signature. The antivirus program may run the suspicious program in a sandbox environment to assess if it exhibits malicious activity, such as file deletion, encryption, or the establishment of multiple processes.
  • Integrity Scan
    Detects changes to files on the machine, especially system files, which may indicate a malicious process.
  • Behavioural Analysis
    Advanced antivirus software employs machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) techniques to analyse processes and identify behaviours that deviate from normal operations or known malicious patterns, such as ransomware. This capability assists in identifying unknown, zero-day, or evasive malware that employs obfuscation techniques.

While antivirus remains an essential component of endpoint security, its ability to prevent advanced threats is limited. Advanced antivirus software can still struggle to detect zero-day or unknown threats.

New types of attacks may remain invisible to antivirus software — take, for instance, fileless attacks that run in memory without creating binaries in the file system, which many antivirus programs cannot effectively counter.

What is EDR?

Endpoint detection and response (EDR), also known as endpoint threat detection and response (ETDR), is an endpoint security solution that combines real-time continuous monitoring and the collection of endpoint data with rules-based automated response and analysis capabilities.

One of the most significant differences between EDR and Antivirus is EDR’s ability to detect signature-less threats and attacks. While antivirus (AV) excels at preventing known malware, hackers can target victims using fileless and signature-less methods.

Antivirus simply isn’t designed to catch these types of attacks. That’s why EDR solutions can identify the behaviours of these attacks, alert administrators, and empower them to take action. Furthermore, EDR can be particularly valuable for emerging threats that haven’t yet been discovered by the broader security community.

Endpoint Detection and Response Benefits

The primary benefits of an EDR security system include:

1. Comprehensive Data Collection and Monitoring

EDR solutions gather activity data from endpoints that may indicate a threat. This allows you to gain insight and a deep understanding of network anomalies and vulnerabilities, enabling you to develop better strategies for protecting your network from cybercriminals.

2. Detection of All Endpoint Threats

One of the most valuable aspects of EDR is its ability to detect all types of endpoint threats. This feature can assist your IT team in gaining a better understanding of the nature of a potential attack, analysing it, and preparing an appropriate response.

3. Real-Time Response

EDR enables you to monitor potential attacks and threats as they unfold within your network environment in real-time. You can identify suspicious and unauthorised activities on your network, pinpoint the root causes of threats, take action to remove or contain them, and notify security personnel.

4. Compatibility and Integration with Other Security Tools

Modern EDR systems have become highly sophisticated and are designed to be compatible and integrated with other security tools. This integrated approach provides excellent security for the network against potential cyber threats and attacks.

How Can EDR Complement Antivirus?

EDR solutions can be used to track, monitor, and analyse data on endpoints, enhancing the overall security of your environment. Typically, EDR tools do not replace traditional tools like antivirus and firewalls; instead, they work alongside them to provide enhanced security capabilities. EDR technology is increasingly becoming the preferred choice for enterprises seeking superior network security compared to traditional antivirus solutions.

EDR solutions offer numerous capabilities and advantages not found in traditional antivirus programs. They come equipped with various analytical tools that operate in the background, ensuring continuous monitoring and reporting of threats. However, it’s important to note that not all EDR solutions perform the same functions.

Traditional antivirus programs are more straightforward and have a narrower scope compared to modern EDR systems. Antivirus primarily serves as a single program with core functions like scanning, detecting, and removing viruses and various types of malware.

Endpoint Protection with EDR as-a-Service

ArmourZero doesn’t just provide Endpoint Antivirus Protection; it combines it with an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Service. Together, they form Endpoint Protection, Detection, and Response as a Service.

This comprehensive service includes real-time behaviour analysis, reputation assessment, and extensive data analysis using machine learning to automatically contextualise detections. This context includes factors such as risk levels, the importance of affected endpoints, and the current threat landscape.

Written by: Bernadetta Septarini (Content Marketing at ArmourZero)

Discover the power of EDR in enhancing your cybersecurity. Secure your organisation with ArmourZero’s comprehensive Endpoint Protection with EDR as-a-service. Don’t leave your network vulnerable — let us fortify your defences and stay ahead of evolving threats. Never too late for cost-effective cybersecurity! Contact us today to learn more and take your security to the next level.

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