Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a cybersecurity approach designed to account for threats across all devices connected to your network. To fully protect your sensitive data, EDR security solutions need to work in concert with your broader incident response infrastructure. This is especially true for compliance purposes.
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What is Endpoint Detection and Response?
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a systematic approach to monitoring all devices that connect to your networks, detecting threats and vulnerabilities on them, and setting response tactics in motion. EDR is generally not a directly protective layer in and of itself, but it produces threat intelligence that facilitates threat prevention, risk mitigation, and incident recovery.
There are three primary components to effective EDR cyber security:
- Using EDR methods to generate threat intelligence
- Implementing incident response on threats identified
- Optimizing EDR solutions for regulatory compliance needs
The best way to implement an EDR security program is to work with a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) committed to helping your organization secure all its data.
Endpoint Surveillance and Threat Intelligence
The primary function of EDR security is surveillance. Whatever methods are used, their goal is to monitor all endpoints to account for their access to your networks, activities engaged in on or through the devices, and potential threats to sensitive data on the networks they connect to.
This starts with accounting for all endpoints in your environment—but what are endpoints?
Endpoints are devices that connect to your network and that individuals can use to access resources on the network, whether or not those resources are hosted on the device itself.
Here are some of the most common examples of endpoints that could be targeted in an attack:
- Computers and workstations
- Smartphones and tablets
- Internet-of-Things (IOT) devices
- Network infrastructure
Simply put, any device that is able to connect to your networks could pose threats to sensitive data stored, transmitted, or otherwise connected to them. If that device were to fall under the control of a cybercriminal, it’d put every other device and resource on the network at risk.
That’s where EDR protection comes in—it monitors for all threats across all devices.
Your organization needs to monitor all activity on these endpoints and document abnormalities. Security updates need to be current, and any device that harbors vulnerabilities should be prevented from connecting to sensitive networks to the extent possible.
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Additional Considerations for Cloud Security
One area of cybersecurity that is especially critical for EDR is the cloud. EDR concerns all endpoints that connect to your networks and systems, both on-premise and virtually. If your personnel or clientele are able to access your networks remotely, then you need to account for risks inherent to the endpoints in their environments. You’ll need to implement segmentation controls, ensuring the isolation of sensitive data and authentication at all points of access.
If your organization works with vendors, suppliers, and other strategic partners, risks in their respective environments—including endpoints connected to their clouds—impact your security. Your EDR should include elements of third-party risk management (TPRM) to account for these.
Another option is implementing comprehensive cloud computing security measures that integrate endpoint detection and response tools with broader, network-wide monitoring.
Risk Mitigation and Incident Management
EDR solutions identify threats that materialize into attacks or other cybersecurity incidents. But, often, they do not set remediation into practice. For that, organizations need to have human, technical, or other resources ready to respond to an incident, quarantine it, eliminate it, and begin recovering any data that was lost, or otherwise impacted by the attack.
Effective incident management is a complex, cyclical process comprising:
- Real-time monitoring and identification of incidents as soon as they occur
- Immediate logging, documentation, and categorization of identified incidents
- Investigation and diagnosis of incidents, resulting in remediation action plans
- Assignment of incident remediation activities and escalation thereof, as needed
- Complete resolution of the incident, including elimination and assurance of safety
- Long-term customer satisfaction practices, including breach notification and support
EDR programs facilitate the first few steps in this process. But, to fully protect your organization, you’ll need mitigation and recovery processes to act on the threat intelligence generated.
EDR Security and Regulatory Compliance
Part of what makes endpoint security challenging is the number and variety of devices that could potentially come into contact with your network and any sensitive data on it. This is especially true if your organization is subject to data privacy regulations that require strict protections for particular classes of data. They need to be monitored wherever they exist.
For example, consider these regulations and the data they protect:
- PCI DSS – Information pertaining to credit cards and card transactions is known as cardholder data (CHD). The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) requires monitoring and assessment controls across all endpoints to prevent breaches.
- HIPAA – Records related to patients’ health conditions, treatment, and payment are all considered protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Endpoints with access to PHI need to be monitored carefully.
- GDPR – Personal information belonging to European Union residents is protected by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If eligible data is accessible from endpoints on your network, you need monitoring to ensure the data subjects’ rights are protected.
- CCPA – Similarly, personal information of or pertaining to California residents falls under California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) protection. You’ll need to monitor endpoints on the network to ensure personal data isn’t used in ways individuals haven’t consented to.
Note that these frameworks may apply to your organization even if you operate outside of the industry or location. For example, HIPAA protections extend beyond covered entities to select business associates. And restrictions like CCPA and GDPR apply irrespective of your location, as long as you process data pertaining to residents of California or the EU, respectively.
Endpoint detection and response tools will help you identify whether sensitive data exists on endpoints in your network and, if so, whether or not it’s adequately protected. Working with a regulatory compliance advisor will help you optimize your EDR tools for your specific regulatory context.
Managed Detection and Response (MDR)
Finally, it’s worth considering approaches to endpoint detection and response that integrate measures for threat monitoring, risk mitigation, and compliance management. Managed detection and response (MDR) programs administered by MSSPs cover all these bases.
MDR is one of the most effective approaches to EDR. It comprises four pillars:
- Threat Detection, monitoring for and identifying vulnerabilities and threats
- Root Cause Analysis, digging into and resolving the causes of these risks
- Incident Response, ensuring both short- and long-term continuity and recovery
- Regulatory Compliance, covering requirements across applicable frameworks
If your organization is considering EDR solutions, working with a quality MSSP—like RSI Security—will streamline and optimize prevention and mitigation across all endpoints.
Optimize Your EDR Security Today
To recap, endpoint detection and response is a systematic approach to monitoring all devices that connect to your networks. While it identifies threats to sensitive data, it typically needs to be paired with a comprehensive incident response program to fully protect your organization. And, in the most effective cases, it should take regulatory compliance matters into consideration.
RSI Security is an MSSP dedicated to optimizing EDR at organizations like yours. We believe that discipline creates freedom in cyberdefense. We’ll work with your organization to develop monitoring and mitigation infrastructure tailored to your unique IT and cybersecurity needs.
To learn more about how EDR security could work at your organization, contact us today!