Traditional Antivirus vs Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)

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Traditional antivirus software has been around for decades but still struggles to keep up with the changing nature of malware attacks.

Endpoint Detection and Response, or EDR, is a modern type of software that provides immediate protection against malware. In this guide we’ll compare what an antivirus can do against what EDR can do, and help you understand the strengths and limitations of each.

How Does A Traditional Antivirus Program Work?

The first thing that happens when you run an antivirus program on your computer is that it scans all the files on your hard drive. This takes some time, but usually not too much — especially if the antivirus program is running on a powerful PC and you have few files stored on it.

During this initial scan, the antivirus software looks for suspicious code in each file (these are known as “signatures”). If it finds any suspicious signatures, it flags those files as potentially infected and saves them for further analysis.

Once all the files have been scanned, the antivirus program goes through an analysis phase where it tries to determine whether or not these flagged files are indeed infected with malware. In some cases, this requires sending a copy of each suspicious file to a remote server where it can be studied by experts who know what they’re doing. If a virus has been detected, then steps can be taken to clean up your computer from any damage that may have been caused.

How Is An EDR Program Different?

One of the biggest differences between an EDR solution and antivirus is that EDR solutions are behavior-based, which means they use a set of rules to determine when something looks out of the ordinary. EDRs are designed to detect malware on endpoints and provide an immediate, automated response. This allows security teams to quickly isolate and remediate threats before they cause damage, with minimal impact on users’ productivity.

EDR is more of a proactive approach in contrast to the reactive approach of antivirus. EDR does not rely on signature matching to find threats and it is able to prevent damage to your system before it occurs. Antivirus software can only remove threats after they have penetrated your system, and only if they are known threats.

Do I Need Both?

The fact is that antivirus is no longer enough. Most EDR platforms also include antivirus capabilities, and can effectively replace managed antivirus solutions.

Antivirus is designed to detect and block known malware – but as we all know, malware is constantly evolving and changing its form every day. In fact, hundreds of thousands of new malware variants are discovered every single day! This means that traditional antivirus solutions are constantly playing catch-up, trying to detect new attacks before they cause damage. And yet despite their best efforts, traditional AV solutions still struggle to keep up with the pace of cyberattacks – especially when it comes to zero-day attacks (attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in software before the developer has a chance to patch it).

Top Picks For EDR Software

  1. SonicWall Capture Client powered by SentinelOne (our top pick)

    SonicWall Capture ATP is a cloud-based, multi-engine sandbox that revolutionizes advanced threat detection. Included with Capture ATP, SonicWall’s patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection™ (RTDMI) blocks zero-day and unknown threats at the gateway — even those that hide via encryption or don’t exhibit malicious behavior.

  2. CrowdStrike Falcon

    Falcon Insight serves as the core EDR module in the Crowdstrike Falcon platform. Falcon Insight provides supreme company endpoint protection by continuously monitoring endpoint activity to catch intelligent threats as they emerge. The event data pulled from company endpoints are then streamed to the Falcon platform where security teams can engage with the threat as well as hunt for new network threats with the necessary information.

  3. Cynet 360 AutoXDR™

    The Cynet 360 AutoXDR™ platform provides extended detection and response capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats. For each identified threat it triggers an automated investigation flow that reveals the attack’s scope and root cause, as well as applies automated remediation. A 24/7 Managed Detection & Response (MDR) team continuously monitors and optimizes this process to maintain top quality and precision.


Ultimately, EDR can help you to take a more proactive approach to security than any traditional antivirus solution ever could. It doesn’t rely on constantly updating database files to protect your business; instead, it searches for threats right on the endpoint and allows you to take immediate action. As EDR solutions continue to grow in popularity and adaptability, it’s likely that they’ll become the norm in both enterprise and small business environments around the world.

Step Up Your IT Game.

If you’re trying to run a business but you don’t want to deal with the IT part, that’s where we come in! Shartega IT is a managed IT service provider (MSP) that can provide you with the IT essentials you need from day one at a flat-rate monthly subscription price. Our services include a 24/7 help desk team, network monitoring, hardware and software procurement, breach detection, cloud backups, and more. To learn more or schedule a meeting with us, click below.

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