Even before the US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched the Shields Up cybersecurity awareness campaign, attacks were on the rise.  While high profile attacks on Colonial Pipeline, Toyota, and JBS grabbed the headlines, countless smaller companies also fell victim to a variety of cyberattacks. ClearNetworks Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions help organizations of all sizes to fend off attacks, even zero-day exploits.  Large enterprises, resource constrained municipalities, and nonprofit entities can all realize significant value from a managed EDR solution.

What is EDR?

The Endpoint in EDR consists of any device connected to a network.  While we commonly think first of our standard computers, such as laptops and desktop computers, in the modern organization, mobile phones, tablets, heart-rate-monitors, and security cameras can also be included in the category. The detection component of the term EDR describes how the solution identifies malicious software or users acting on the endpoint.  Unlike older technologies, modern EDR technology incorporates artificial intelligence and robust detection algorithms to even detect new attacks and malware based solely on their behavior. Lastly, the response aspect within EDR reveals that this security solution actively responds to both internal and external threats before they can infect a network.  An EDR solution continuously analyzes behavior on the endpoint and can immediately act upon known and recognized threats to isolate a device and prevent further infection of the network. EDRs also send alerts and technical data for further analysis so that early hints of malicious activity can be used by security professionals to analyze the big-picture health and activity of the organization as a whole.  EDRs also can allow security professionals to remotely access and remediate endpoint devices directly.

Advantages to EDR

Many companies still use standard antivirus and every user dreads the scanning notification from bloated antivirus that slows their computer down to a crawl that starts with the download of updated virus signatures.  Many organizations make the switch to EDR once they understand the value of the EDR advantages of:  Faster detection and remediation: 

  1. EDR uses fast continuous scanning to minimize endpoint impact and detect attacks as quickly as possible.  
  2. EDR does not need to wait for the software vendor to see the virus and process it first. Instead, EDR skips the wait and can act based upon the behavior of the malware directly.  
  3. Security teams need as much speed as possible to limit the damage an attack can cause and EDR accelerates detection and response through alerts, kill-chain information, and automated action.

Operational flexibility:  

  1. EDR can also delete or quarantine files, but also has the more dramatic option to quarantine the entire computer and the minimally disruptive option to send alerts regarding suspicious activity to a security team for further investigation.
  2. In addition to PCs and laptops, the lightweight agent for EDR solutions can be installed on mobile devices or even Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.

Improved endpoint protection: 

  1. EDR behavior-detecting algorithms catch more attacks faster. There is no wait for malware to be recognized by the antivirus company and no limitation to only inspect saved files.  
  2. Fileless malware and zero-day attacks can be detected and malicious actions that threaten to harm the network or endpoint can result in immediate EDR reactions.

Advanced incident response capabilities: 

  1. Antivirus provides only boolean reporting – malware is detected, or it is not.  EDR agents send continuous alerts and kill-chain information security teams use to see the full context of attacks throughout the organization.
  2. Incident response teams can remotely access the endpoint remotely for further investigation or actions.  
  3. Kill chain activity can be used to discover other devices under attack, advanced persistent threats, and other broader security issues invisible to antivirus. 

EDR Complexities

EDR solutions clearly provide better security than antivirus.  Unfortunately, unprepared organizations can find it difficult to realize the full value of EDR advantages if they are unprepared for the setup, staffing requirements, or managing alerts from the EDR solution.  

  • Setup: Without security professionals skilled with EDR deployment, organizations may find their EDR overreacting to false alarms, missing alerts, sending too many alerts, or improperly configured for the endpoint.  Installation requires expertise and internal security teams only have limited installation opportunities.
  • Staffing: EDR solutions require a security team with the time and resources to understand, analyze, investigate, and respond to alerts.  However, IT staffing is difficult and particularly challenging and expensive to retain experienced security professionals.
  • Alert Management: Accurate alerts sent to an inexperienced or understaffed security team only helps attackers.  Security teams must be capable of effectively and efficiently analyzing results to fully realize the value of EDR – or any security solution.

Organizations need to be honest with themselves about their resources and if they can effectively handle their security without assistance.  Even the largest enterprises with the largest budgets understand that outsourcing can provide advantages.

Managed EDR Simplicity

Opting to outsource EDR management offers organizations the opportunity to benefit from focus, expertise, scale, cost savings, and simplicity.  

  • Focus: Companies might hire security specialists, but those specialists have nothing to do with the mission of the business.  MSSPs focus 100% on security- all day, every day.  This focus means MSSPs hire and retain security experts more easily.  
  • Expertise: The dedicated focus of the MSP drives experience throughout the organization for installation, alert assessment, and incident response.  This expertise allows the MSSP to operate faster and with less mistakes.
  • Scale:  MSSPs manage the security for many different customers and many more endpoints than any single company.  An attack on any one customer provides information that will immediately be leveraged for the benefit of all other customers.  
  • Cost Savings: MSSPs enjoy the scale required to negotiate better rates for software licenses and infrastructure costs.  By spreading infrastructure, licensing, and labor costs overy many different customers, MSSPs can offer the highest expertise at a fraction of the cost for creating internal security resources.
  1. Simplicity: When outsourcing to an MSSP, an organization also outsources the management headaches as well.  The MSSP absorbs the complex accounting rules for the infrastructure, the management of technical teams, and the burden of maintenance and integration.

ClearNetwork Managed EDR

Some organizations worry that outsourcing means plugging into a generic solution and being forced to dance to their vendor’s requirements.  Others worry about fly-by-night vendors that will disappear once an attack begins or cheap products that promise a lot and deliver much less. ClearNetwork’s Managed CrowdStrike delivers all of the advantages of a Managed EDR solution along with 20+ years security expertise, gartner leading technology, and complementary security offerings.

  • 20+ Years Security Expertise: Our customers have enjoyed over 20 years of stellar customer service for managed IT security and rely on the decades of cumulative experience from our outstanding security team.  We treat our customers well and they continue to entrust their security needs to us.
  • Gartner Leading Technology: For our endpoint detection and response platform, we leverage Crowdstrike, a gartner leading EDR solution and one of the most technically advanced endpoint security products available.  Our customers get the advantage of Crowdstrike’s scale of 30 billion endpoint events per day as well as ClearNetwork’s customization for setup, alert monitoring, human response, and customer support.
  • Complementary Security Offerings: ClearNetworks delivers many other IT security options to our customers such as: 
    1. Penetration testing (including social engineering)
    2. Security awareness training
    3. Internal & external IT and application vulnerability assessments
    4. Managed firewalls and firewall configuration reviews
    5. Wireless penetration tests and security architecture reviews
    6. Security Operations Center (SOC) as a service
    7. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) as a service
    8. Incident response and remediation

While not all customers will need the full spectrum of ClearNetwork’s services, all of our customers benefit from our broad security background and immense expertise of our team’s capabilities.  Our knowledge and experience enables a tailored solution to satisfy our customers’ needs at a competitive price.

Taking the Next Step

Every organization wants to be secure.  Using a managed EDR solution helps companies to enjoy much stronger security than they can realize using internal resources or traditional antivirus.   For those wanting to explore technology details and how managed EDR might benefit their specific organization, reach out to ClearNetworks.  Our experts will explain the offering in the full context of current and future security needs and how to realize the most value from managed endpoint detection and response solutions.