What is the difference between EPP and EDR? Do they complement each other or they should be used separately? 

As the systems’ names suggest, both Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) and Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) are aimed at protection of endpoints. So, what is an endpoint – basically, endpoint is any protected device (smartphone/laptop and any other device), which is the part of the corporate system. Definitely, ensuring of appropriate level of endpoint devices’ protection is of crucial importance.

Now let’s focus on the peculiarities of each system.

First of all, we’ll talk about EPP class systems. EPP systems are often considered to be the tool, which counters a threat at the very early stage. The threats which EPP deals with include, but isn’t limited to:
    Fileless attacks
•    Zero-day vulnerabilities.

EPPs often contain the following tools which ensure the protection of an endpoint: 
•    Antivirus
    Firewall which protects the endpoint
•    Data encryption

Let’s now focus on EDR class solutions. EDRs are solutions which are aimed at detection and examination of malicious activity on endpoints, which include workstations, servers, IoT devices etc. The EDR term was coined in 2013 by Gartner analyst to describe emerging platforms that enable deep investigation of suspicious activity. 

The basic difference between EDR and EPP systems is that EDRs are aimed at dealing with more sophisticated threats and targeted attacks. EPPs basically deal with the more typical threats. At the same time, it is important to understand that EDRs cannot totally replace EPPs, as these solutions functionality isn’t alike. 

Another typical EDR peculiarity is that it protects a device in the network than the network perimeter.  

So, why the implementation of EDR systems is important? Basically, the answer is that threats are becoming more and more sophisticated. EPP systems are very useful and efficiently deal with a number of risks, but methods for conducting attacks continue to evolve and there are numerous threats which EPPs are simply incapable of dealing with. And that is why EDR systems are helpful.

In response to the permanently sophisticating information security threats EDR systems offer the following technology and techniques to mitigate risks.

First of all, one of the core system’s operational principle is proceeding of large troves of data gathered from each endpoint within the infrastructure. The agents, installed on endpoint devices collect data about processes executed, communication and logins.

It is quite typical for these solutions to implement specific behavioral analytics techniques. This means, that the solution monitors the endpoint’s activity, and tracks anomalies. When suspicious anomalies are detected, the system notifies about the probability of risk occurrence. This helps to trace the ongoing activity and respond to the risks arising just in time.

In other words, apart from many other solutions, EDR systems are especially useful when an incident is in progress and aftermath. The highly detailed information, provided by EDR platforms enables information security officers to detect, how, despite the protection measures implemented an incident happened. What’s even more important, real-time alerts from an EDR solution help organizations to prevent major data security incidents and mitigate their consequences. If an incident happens, solution’s capabilities help to conduct an investigation and mitigate the consequences of the incident.

The time has come to address the most important question – which solution is better to choose? This is a complicated question and a few issues should be mentioned in this regard. Earlier we’ve examined the most significant peculiarities of each solution and provided a description of their functionality. However, it may not be obvious, which one is more useful.  

In fact, the best option is to combine both solutions. Still, if it is required to choose a single solution we recommend to keep the following in mind. Implementation of EPP solutions is, indisputably, of crucial importance. It helps to protect an organization against intrusion attacks. EPP systems are on the first line of defense when it comes to an attack. Although EPP systems are not a panacea, such tools take a hit and help to cope with numerous risks. In turn, EDR systems’ analytical capabilities help to trace even more sophisticated attacks, especially infamous Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and prevent a data incident just in time, provide advanced analytics and investigative functionality. 

When it comes to cybersecurity, it is important to implement a complex approach. This is, indisputably, an ambitious and quite complicated task to deal with. Nevertheless, if one doesn’t invest enough efforts and money in the implementation of such approach, risks posed increase significantly. It is the same with the choice between EPP and EDR solutions. Although their functionality may seen a bit similar in some regards and that EDR seems to be more advanced tool, both of them are very important in ensuring an organization’s information security. It is important to stress, that their functionality isn’t enough and EDR system doesn’t deal with EPP system tasks. So, it is better not to oppose these solutions in EPP vs EDR logic, but, instead, combine them and benefit from both solutions simultaneous usage.

We always recommend to implement advanced protective solutions, which functionality complements each other and enables information security experts to prevent threats. At the same time, software itself isn’t sufficient, so it is advised to educate employees in information security related issues; organize seminars and explain how to counter threats in details; occasionally simulate attacks on organization to monitor, whether everyone understands, how to counter infosec threats.

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