EDR vs. SIEM: How they differ and why you need both
In the past, antivirus and firewalls were a solid first line of defense tactic, but things have changed. Cybercriminals are more sophisticated and are working harder to tap into networks and reach data centers to hold companies for ransom. This is why a layered approach to security is so important.
Think of your data center like the king or queen inside a castle—you want to protect them at all costs. In this situation, your first line of defense is an outer wall to keep enemies at bay. This is your firewall and antivirus.
But what happens if the bad guys get over the wall? Thankfully, you’ve taken the time to build multiple layers of protection—a moat, draw bridge, knights, and maybe even a dragon. Because everything within the fortress—especially the leaders—must be protected by any means necessary.
MSPs need to start thinking about their security and clients’ security in a similar fashion. An effective cybersecurity strategy requires a layered approach that does more than keep the enemies at bay. And this layered approach works best when it comes to implementing endpoint detection and response tools (EDR) and security information and event management (SIEM).
When it comes to EDR and SIEM, there’s no such thing as EDR vs. SIEM. Let’s dig deeper into why a cohesive security tech stack works better with EDR and SIEM implemented.
What EDR software is and why it is important
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools gather and analyze security threat-related information from computer workstations and other endpoints to find security breaches as they happen. Working proactively, EDR facilitates faster responses to identified or potential threats.
Endpoints serve as gateways to a network—think underground tunnels into the castle or the keys to the backdoor. These are your hardware devices, such as desktops, smartphones, and servers. All of these are prone to vulnerabilities that malicious actors target relentlessly in hopes of infiltrating the network.
EDR tools can provide MSPs with the following benefits:
- Improved compliance – Laws like HIPAA and regulations like GDPR impose stringent compliance standards on various industries. EDR can help you stay ahead of data security and remediate any potential threats. You’ll also be able to quickly spot any unauthorized access for your clients and provide them with in-depth reports to show compliance auditors.
- Improved network visibility – EDR tools continuously monitor system endpoints. You can identify and act on threats in real time, quickly identify ransomware and malware attacks, and determine their source while protecting the business. Your clients will also gain a new level of visibility into applications running on endpoint machines, as well as user activity.
- Less risk – The continuous monitoring and in-depth reporting EDR provides puts your clients at less cybersecurity risk. You can identify vulnerabilities and fix them before hackers can take advantage. New insight into user behavior will also enable your clients to prevent a potential insider attack. You can also leverage EDR reporting to assess your client’s current cybersecurity positioning and take steps to improve their protection.
- Lower costs – Your clients will save money on responding to security incidents. EDR will help you quickly define and remediate threats. It also enables you to proactively deal with threats before they happen, thanks to the detailed information and reporting these tools provide. Clients will also spend less dealing with cybersecurity issues that occur and significantly reduce their risk of a potentially costly data breach.
- Stronger cybersecurity positioning – EDR helps reduce false positives and identifies real threats quickly and easily. You’ll be able to prioritize incoming threats accordingly and rapidly respond to the most mission-critical threats. EDR reporting will also give you the insights necessary to continually improve your client’s cybersecurity positioning, strengthening your reputation while reducing your client’s risk and improving their cybersecurity posture.
An EDR system can vary greatly depending on the vendor and implementation but can benefit from vendor-driven analysis. Other key advantages include using rollback capabilities, the ability to query endpoint data quickly, and containing threats at the endpoint.
Use cases for EDR software
Now, the concept of EDR makes sense. You understand what it does and why it might be useful. But, if you’re still on the fence, look at these real-world use cases.
Securing the supply chain
In 2022, the number of supply chain attacks surpassed malware attacks by 40%. These attacks affected 10 million people in total and 1,743 entities.
Organizations that collaborate with other businesses or vendors outside their network must be ever-vigilant of their digital infrastructure. Since EDR monitors and reports on user behavior and applications, it enables you to securely integrate your operations with other vendors and supporting partners.
Adherence to industry compliance
In certain industries, violation of compliance standards can be incredibly costly. PCI compliance and certain financial legislation require strict data and system management, and the penalties for violating these standards can be costly.
Now, none of these regulatory bodies mandate the use of EDR. However, implementing EDR in your client’s system can help prevent compliance incidents via continuous endpoint and user behavior monitoring.
Often, when a compliance incident does occur, insufficient details and reporting are submitted to the regulatory auditors. EDR would also help provide an informative, insightful report in the event of a compliance issue.
Cyber insurance provides businesses with financial benefits in the event of a cybersecurity attack. Part of your role is helping your clients navigate obtaining a cyber insurance policy. The organizations providing this insurance look kindly upon businesses with EDR protocols in place. EDR helps reduce a business’s risk, making these companies much more attractive to potential insurers.
What is SIEM and why is it important?
SIEM detects, prevents, and helps detect cyberattacks while centralizing and correlating data from the security event logs from devices within your network. By collecting log and event data from network devices, systems, and applications and services generated, SIEM can bring all the information into one platform. This gives security teams greater visibility into what’s happening with all the elements in the IT ecosystems through a “single pane of glass.”
With all of this information easily accessible, this gives your team a leg-up in the battle against cybercrime because you can conduct strategic detection, analyze event data, enrich logs, meet compliance requirements, and accept data from many sources in the network. These are your eyes and ears that proactively protect your fortress.
Some key benefits of SIEM solutions for MSPs are:
- Automatic threat detection – Modern SIEM platforms leverage AI to identify known and unknown cyberthreats. Identifying these threats is typically a manual process, so SIEM can exponentially increase your cybersecurity effectiveness and free your team to focus on higher-priority tasks with this technology.
- Customization – Most SIEM platforms allow you to design what works for you. MSPs or IT techs can create a custom dashboard, putting the information they need daily at their fingertips.
- Real-time monitoring – SIEM allows MSPs to track their clients’ networks and user activity in real time, allowing them to be proactive and get ahead of cybersecurity threats.
- Optimized management – Unified dashboards allow MSPs to monitor multiple networks or IT environments from one place, streamlining your internal operations and supporting scalability.
- More efficiency – SIEM applications increase your cybersecurity efficiency in several ways. When you start using SIEM, the number of false positives in your clients’ systems will start to decrease. SIEM will also boost the speed of your disaster detection and recovery by aiding in proactive identification.
Use cases for SIEM software
You can also use SIEM to shield your clients from insider threats. The platform’s features enable MSPs to monitor employee activity. You can track when user permissions are escalated for critical data or when an employee moves laterally within the company system (a popular method of perpetrating insider threats).
MSPs can also protect their clients’ data through SIEM’s ability to detect many cyberattacks. SIEM platforms can see brute force attacks and PowerShell attacks, enabling MSPs to provide a robust, layered approach to their clients’ cybersecurity.
EDR vs SIEM: what sets them apart
Both EDR and SIEM are necessary to deliver the layered cybersecurity protection today’s evolving threat landscape requires. Ultimately, EDR and SIEM serve different purposes.
Some key differences between these two platforms are:
- Data management – EDR tools collect data directly from the source since they continuously monitor applications and user behavior at system endpoints. SIEM, on the other hand, relies on other tools (like EDR) to gather and synthesize data into cybersecurity intel and potential responses.
- Focus area – SIEM tools focus on protecting and providing visibility for an organization’s entire network, while EDR tools focus on system endpoints (user terminals).
- Threat response capabilities – EDR tools can support incident response. In fact, certain EDR tools can launch automatic incident response based on protocols you can predefine within the platform. SIEM platforms work best for incident identification but don’t have much response capability.
Why EDR and SIEM work better together
The layered approach works best when it comes to evaluating SIEM vs. EDR. An EDR can detect, block, contain, and remediate the threats targeting your clients’ endpoints faster. It also analyzes and investigates these threats and rolls back to “safe” versions if needed. In tandem, SIEM technology helps protect your clients more effectively by providing complete visibility into an organization’s IT infrastructure by collecting data from multiple sources for analysis. This enables security teams to catch events when prevention measures fail.
As an example, EDR solutions are often limited in their ability to detect and deflect highly sophisticated file-less malware. This malware is dangerous, as it exploits vulnerabilities that can give attackers administrative control and the ability to gather data to use in future attacks—like a highly targeted phishing attack.
The file-less malware threat is just one reason more MSPs are starting to leverage advanced SIEM and EDR platforms together. This type of malware doesn’t require any files to be downloaded onto your machine. It uses software apps you use every day to directly infect the memory of your computer, not just the hard drive.
This file-less format can be extremely challenging for cybersecurity systems to detect. Adding these layers of advanced defenses to their security technology stack can help MSPs develop a complete picture of the threats targeting their clients in real time and catch advanced threats that may have otherwise gone undetected.
EDR and SIEM can also work together or resolve each other’s blind spots, when implemented properly. EDR continuously monitors and reports on endpoint activity, providing a constant stream of information about what’s happening at the “front lines” of the network. They can use this information to stop social engineering or human error cyber events – the most prevalent threats.
While EDR tools are hard at work protecting the endpoint environment, SIEM can watch over the rest of your client’s system. The platform will continuously gather and send data from every corner of your client’s infrastructure. What’s more, it will be neatly displayed in one unified dashboard.
With the two platforms working together, not only can you quickly identify incoming threats, but you’ll also be able to handle them proactively. This can help prevent a majority of cyberthreats or breaches before they cause significant damage.
Download our MSP threat report to help keep your team up-to-date on the most popular attack methods in the market today. Knowing which kind of attack vectors to look for can separate a great MSP from the competition.
Choosing the right EDR and SIEM solutions
The biggest takeaway is this: evaluating SIEM vs. EDR is an antiquated approach. Delivering robust cybersecurity protection requires the strongest level of layered protection possible.
Connectwise Cybersecurity Management is a comprehensive suite of security software and solutions designed to deliver maximum visibility and security for MSPs. Next-generation SIEM and EDR technology is complemented by 24/7/365 SOC services to close your clients’ security gaps. Check out our suite of cybersecurity demos and trials to get started today.