What is endpoint detection and response (EDR)?

Relying on firewalls and antivirus tools for endpoint security may be useful in certain situations, but for many organizations, it’s just not enough to properly secure the rising number of endpoints in their networks. 

Endpoints that aren’t properly secured can leave organizations vulnerable to hackers, who are continually adapting to be more sophisticated in leveraging cyberattacks. Less secure endpoints are often common targets for them. 

Our 2023 MSP Threat Report states that over 25,000 vulnerabilities had a common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) number assigned in 2022. Each of these represents a potential area that malicious actors can exploit.

As organizations continue to evaluate their strategies, they may be asking, what solutions can help their business scale and grow securely?

That’s where endpoint detection and response (EDR) can play a key role, helping managed services providers (MSPs) provide a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to their clients.

There are several benefits to implementing EDR technology, from effective threat detection to proper storage of records, so continue reading to learn more about how it can protect your clients and add value to your MSP business.

Endpoint detection and response definition

Endpoint detection and response, sometimes referred to as endpoint threat detection and response (ETDR), is a type of security solution that protects endpoints through constant monitoring to reduce the risk of a data breach. EDR security tools can detect and contain malicious activity so that it doesn’t spread and affect other parts of an organization’s network. 

Endpoint threat detection can be a part of managed detection and response (MDR) solutions provided by MSPs. While EDR focuses on endpoints, MDR helps secure the entire IT environment within an organization. The evolution of EDR and MDR technology together can lead to more secure IT environments for organizations of all sizes.

The more endpoints an organization has, which continues to grow as remote work increases, the more challenging it is to manage security risks. An endpoint is any entry point into a network, which can include:

  • Laptops or desktop computers.
  • Mobile devices like a phone or tablet.
  • Workstations.
  • Servers.
  • IoT devices (Internet of Things).

Leveling up endpoint detection and response can be crucial to protecting your client’s assets and the users in their network from malware and cybersecurity threats.

How EDR solutions work

Endpoint detection and response works by analyzing all events that occur on entry points in your client’s network, such as laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and servers to identify malicious or potentially suspicious activity. Activities can include normal processes like recording programs that are running, names of devices, file names, who is logged in to a specific device, and files that are opened and read or changed.

However, endpoint detection also records unfamiliar and potentially malicious activities like new processes, increases in activity, abnormally large transfers of data, and new or suspicious connections.

The basic process of endpoint threat detection looks like this:

  1. EDR tools are installed and begin monitoring.
  2. Behavioral and data analysis constantly runs to observe endpoints without disrupting users.
  3. If a breach does occur, data collected through EDR is processed to determine where it took place.
  4. Automated remediation begins so threats can be isolated.
  5. IT administrators and cybersecurity teams are alerted to address threats manually.

EDR vs. antivirus

Antivirus products have long been a traditional solution for addressing malware, but they can also be limited in their capabilities. Antivirus technology is more reactive and doesn’t provide the level of visibility and containment that EDR can give. This can leave your client’s network more vulnerable and make it more difficult to detect future threats. 

When comparing EDR vs. antivirus software, the level of protection is far more advanced and proactive with EDR technology, which can:

  • Detect threats based on unusual behavior on a network.
  • Collect data and analyze it to assess the threat level and send alerts when threats are found in real-time.
  • Assess what occurred during security events using forensic capabilities.
  • Isolate the threat to prevent it from spreading and affecting users and endpoints.
  • Automatically remove certain threats, like quickly quarantining suspicious files.
  • Give visibility into what’s occurring at all endpoints like accounts that log in, all local and external addresses the host is connected to, changes to ASP keys, and detailed network activity.
  • Provide guidance on remediation of threats.

Benefits of EDR for MSPs

By adding endpoint detection and response to your MSP offerings, clients can feel even more secure, since EDR specifically targets endpoints like mobile devices or personal computers and laptops that employees are using remotely. If your client's employees are primarily remote workers, EDR can be invaluable in securing their devices while they work. The benefits of EDR for MSPs include:

  • Reduced response time when security events occur for clients. EDR gives MSPs more visibility to detect and diagnose problems to help their clients avoid downtime and prevent further issues.
  • Helps mitigate risks that could affect the client’s entire infrastructure. Endpoints are where attackers often gain access to networks. By adding an extra layer of security with EDR, MSPs can better manage endpoints to ensure overall security.
  • Expanded security offerings for MSP clients. Adding EDR technology can help add value to an MSP’s comprehensive service offerings, while also adding value to your client’s business by helping them avoid the expense and hassle of data breaches.
  • AI-powered monitoring to help detect malware and virus attack variants and even diagnose the cause of the attack.
  • Supports your clients with remote work environments who may have several different devices that present potentially vulnerable entry points.

While EDRs can add value to MSP offerings and overall security, it’s still important to choose the right solution. Talking to a cybersecurity pro may be helpful in finding the best EDR technology for your MSP.

How to find the best EDR solution

EDR and MDR tools can ensure your client’s assets are more secure, but how do you know what endpoint detection and response solution is best for you? 

There are several options to choose from, so be sure to consider the following factors when checking out different solutions:

  • Simple to implement and use with support available when you have questions.
  • Quick remediation of issues when they arise.
  • Easily integrates with other IT tools like a security operations center (SOC).
  • Solutions to help mitigate alert fatigue.
  • Cost-effectiveness and ROICollects comprehensive data from endpoints with the proper context to help identify attacks and risks.
  • Cloud-based services, which can be easier to set up, don’t need firewalls, and quickly and easily fix bugs without manual upkeep. 

MSPs are responsible for helping keep client infrastructure safe, which is why organizations looking to close gaps in their clients’ endpoint defense turn to ConnectWise MDR™. We provide total EDR security, from AI-powered monitoring to enterprise-level technologies, that are both scalable and effective. 

Request a cybersecurity suite demo today to learn more about how ConnectWise can help you deliver the security protection your clients demand.


Endpoint detection is a proactive solution and antivirus software is more reactive. Traditionally, antivirus software has been used to respond to malware attacks when they happen. While this can be helpful, it’s not as effective at stopping attacks before they happen. Endpoint threat detection and response solutions provide real-time monitoring of your client’s endpoints and send alerts when suspicious activity occurs, thereby helping to prevent future attacks or contain them before they spread.

Yes, endpoint detection can be used for all endpoints on a network, including mobile and IoT devices. Mobile devices can include phones and tablets. IoT devices are physical items that connect wirelessly to a network and are considered endpoints. Examples are smart TVs, sensors, security systems, and smart door locks, which are common assets in your client’s businesses that need protection.

Each EDR solution will provide a variety of services to help your clients; however, a few of the more important features include:

  • Remote access to devices to help isolate an event.
  • Role-based security to define users and limit access where needed.
  • Behavior-based detection with AI-powered monitoring.
  • Solutions to help with alert fatigue like custom alert settings or a SOC.
  • Quick and accurate implementation and support.
  • Seamless system integrations with other software and tools being used.
  • Training for IT staff and others using EDR security tools.
  • Good ROI.

Yes, EDR technology often has the ability to integrate with other systems; however, it’s important to ask the EDR provider how their tools work and what options they provide. Proper system integration brings together various parts of the business, like software and hardware solutions, to create a more cohesive system. This can help your clients streamline their business for more efficiency and avoid potential slowdowns.

The cost of EDR can vary depending on several factors including the number of endpoints, integration options, the complexity of security needs, and the level of assistance provided.

Yes, some organizations may operate in industries that need to comply with certain regulatory guidelines, which endpoint threat detection can assist with. A few regulatory guidelines businesses may need to follow include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Payment Card Industry (PCI). EDR solutions can help organizations operating in the healthcare, e-commerce, and retail sectors more effectively secure their endpoints to comply with appropriate guidelines.