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Difference Between Legacy AntiVirus and EDR | Sapphire

13 December 2022

What is the comparison between Legacy Antivirus Protection and Endpoint Detection and Response?

Antivirus protection has been the traditional go-to for protecting endpoints such as workstations and servers.

However, with Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), next-generation protection is available to organisations.  

If you want to choose the best security for your organisation, this blog will explain the differences between legacy antivirus software and EDR. 

Legacy Antivirus vs EDR

What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?   

In basic terms, EDR is a tool that helps detect and remediate any suspicious activities throughout all the endpoints in a digital environment.

Although this may sound like antivirus software, there are quite a few significant differences between the two.

Biztech Magazine suggests that:   

‘Another pillar of next-generation endpoint security is EDR, which moves beyond simple detection of a security compromise and manages an active response that contains the damage, isolates affected systems, and recovers normal operations as quickly as possible.   

EDR solutions combine a client that is actively conducting antivirus, firewall security, and intrusion prevention, as well as solutions that will immediately respond once a threat is detected.’   

Legacy Antivirus vs EDR: What's the Difference? | Sapphire

What is Legacy Antivirus Protection?  

Although there is some overlap between EDR and legacy antivirus, we know legacy antivirus is the less comprehensive solution.

A legacy antivirus solution is a signature-based solution that can only recognise known vulnerabilities, leaving your network open to unknown vulnerabilities.

Traditional antivirus protection can aid in removing more basic forms of viruses such as worms, trojans, malware, adware and spyware.

However, it only covers part of the full range of threats to endpoints in a digital environment, as EDR can.

Solutions Reviews suggests that: 

‘Originally, when traditional malware served as the most prevalent and serious threats in the digital world, legacy antivirus was more than equipped to handle it […] However, legacy antivirus no longer fits with the modern cybersecurity prevention paradigm or the digital threats they face.

Part of the new reality stems from hackers’ behaviours looking to subvert enterprise endpoint protection.’ 

Sapphire Cyber Security: endpoint protection platforms against known threats and malicious activity

Antivirus Software vs EDR: What is the Difference?   

Though we have labelled some differences between antivirus and EDR, many more distinctions are listed below. 


Traditional antivirus tools have a limited scope and are much more simplistic than their EDR counterparts.

Antivirus systems are a single program that scans, detects and removes various kinds of malware.

However, EDR security systems include not only the antivirus features above but can also contain other features such as:

  • Firewalls   
  • Whitelisting Tools   
  • Monitoring Tools   
  • And More   

EDR security systems are a much more comprehensive form of security protection, working to protect various endpoints in a digital network. Also, EDR keeps an organisation’s endpoints much more secure than an antivirus.

EDR security systems

EDR Spots Endpoint Threats   

Another benefit is that EDR can spot endpoint threats. As cybercriminals become increasingly knowledgeable, a legacy antivirus solution cannot meet all your network’s security needs.

Legacy antivirus uses signature-based detection, and nowadays, hackers can create malware that features developing codes that can bypass this signature-based system.

However, EDR detects all endpoint threats and can help your understanding of the threat so that your team is better prepared for a similar attack and collect forensic data to help your team’s response.

EDR Spots Endpoint Threats   

How is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) used?   

There are many use cases for EDR, such as:   

  • Identify and block malicious executables   
  • Control where, how, and who can execute scripts    
  • Manage the usage of USB devices, prohibiting unauthorised devices from being used    
  • Eliminate the ability for attackers to use file=less malware attack techniques on the protected endpoint  
  • Prevent malicious email attachments from detonating their payloads    
  • Predict and prevent successful zero-day attacks 

Antivirus vs EDR: Do I need both Endpoint Protection and Antivirus?  

For EDR, remember that this solution is considered the next generation of antivirus. EDR can complete all that the best antivirus solutions can do and as suggested above.

For protecting your organisation’s networks against a constantly evolving threat landscape, EDR can provide more advanced security because of its focus on any suspicious activities throughout all the endpoints in a digital environment.

Having both legacy antivirus software and EDR for your organisation is redundant and even detrimental to your system, as running both can cause slowness or technical issues

What are the Benefits of using Sapphire’s Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Service?  

There are many benefits of using Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service over legacy antivirus software, such as:   

Threat Prevention

Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service can stop all malware attacks with a unique malicious behavioural approach to protect against yet unknown malicious attacks. A Managed EDR service provides complete ransomware protection for online and offline security.

Detection and Response

Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service helps organisations quickly uncover the root cause of incidents; it can visualise every stage of an attack, building a comprehensive picture of endpoint activity to search and investigate endpoints quickly.

Advanced Threat Visibility

By identifying the root cause of threats, Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service can help you visualise the attack and capture all endpoint activity. So, EDR helps minimise resource impact and contextualise data with other threat intelligence sources.

Proactive Threat Hunting

Automating the hunt for threats, Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service stops advanced threats by reducing the attack surface while leveraging the SOC analyst team’s expertise. 

Rapid Response

By isolating infected systems and banning malicious files, Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service also collects forensic data and facilitates remote remediation.

Sapphire Cyber Security: endpoint protection security against active threats

Why Choose Sapphire’s Managed Services for Endpoint Security?

As organisations have responded to the current pandemic by working remotely, security controls at the endpoint have become critical technologies to protect organisations. Organisations have sped up their adoption of cloud-first access to ease the latency and volume of backhauled traffic through centralised corporate gateways.   

Sapphire’s SOC (Security Operations Center) leverages its customers’ investments in security controls when appropriate. Sapphire’s range of Managed Services delivered by the SOC provides highly granular collection, correlation, analysis, detection and response capabilities when this is not a valid option.

As a further example, Sapphire’s continuous Vulnerability Management (VM) Service takes a risk-based view of exposure from software vulnerabilities across clients’ corporate, remote and cloud environments.

When patching every vulnerability within an estate is not workable because of limited time and resource constraints, prioritising time and effort is key to reducing the attack surface and reducing risk.

With access to an organisation’s VM data, the Sapphire SOC analyst team will accurately assess the risk that specific threats might pose to an organisation continually.

Sapphire helps organisations to investigate security incidents and develop a security strategy against more sophisticated threats across their environment.

For more information about Sapphire’s Managed EDR Service and other Managed Services, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions on Antivirus vs EDR

1. Does EDR Include Antivirus?

Yes, EDR solutions include antivirus solutions. EDR includes Next Generation Anti-Virus that can thwart zero days and memory-based attacks. From real-time monitoring and ML-based analysis to auto responses and detailed forensic event information. EDR has many benefits that can support an organisation’s cybersecurity.

Modern Antivirus solutions can provide advanced NGAV to block known and unknown threats on the endpoint.

On the other hand, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a security solution that helps to identify malware threats and investigate security incidents to restore endpoints to their pre-infection state.

2. Why is Antivirus Software Not Enough?

Although antivirus (AV) software is written to detect malware on a computer, threat actors are becoming more skilled. Because of the rapid growth of malware and the usage of distinctive malware and infrastructure for cyberattack campaigns, traditional, signature-based detection, as used in AV software, is no longer effective at identifying modern threats.

Additionally, malware creators employ several strategies to avoid being detected by antivirus programs, including file-less malware. AV systems lack the ability and context to detect these endpoint security threats.

Due to integrating many security features, EDR can identify patterns and tell-tale signs of an effective attack. The response capabilities offered by EDR also help security analysts respond to possible security events quickly, lessening the effect of an attack.

3. What are the Limited Types of Scans Antivirus Solutions Use to Identify Malware Threats on a System?

AV software has a limited ability to stop complex attacks, despite being a crucial part of endpoint protection. Relying on scans to detect malware on endpoints. These scans include

Signature Scan- Helps to detect new programs on the computer system, read their hash, and compare to known malware signatures.

Heuristic Scan- Detect the programs which, although they don’t match the malware signature, still exhibit abnormal behaviour

Integrity Scan- Detect changes to the files on your machine, especially system files which may show a malicious process

Even the most sophisticated antivirus software can fail to detect malicious software, zero-day, or unknown threats. In addition, antivirus software may not see new types of attacks; for instance, many antivirus products cannot block fileless attacks, which execute in memory without producing binaries in the file system.

Antivirus scans have limited protection, whereas EDR, as well as traditional signature scans, provides far more comprehensive protection, including:

  • EDR will use behavioural analysis to process behaviour using artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML/AI) techniques
  • EDR will also use AI/ML to automate threat identification and alerting processes.
  • EDR tools will rapidly respond to remediate malicious activities
  • EDR offers forensics tools to help track and inform about breaches
  • EDR can integrate into an existing environment to enhance a multi-layered defensive system. 

4. Are There Risks of Having Multiple Endpoints?

Organisations have many endpoints of various types. This inevitably leads to a greater security risk for organisations, especially with the amount and the location of access to the organisation’s network. Increasing the number of points of access potentially increases the number of openings that an attacker can use.

An organisation’s network vulnerability to malware, ransomware, and viruses, as well as the increased risk of data loss, are increased by managing many endpoints. If one of your endpoint devices gets compromised, it can give attackers access to your whole network and allow them to access confidential data and disrupt your operations.

EDR is an endpoint detection system that continually monitors endpoint devices detecting and responding to cyber threats. These include ransomware, malware, and threats within your networking environment. EDR uses machine learning to analyse the nature of a cyber threat and provide a response to the threat and provide information to the security teams on the nature of this threat. 

5. Can AV and EDR Solutions Fail?

Although EDR will detect many new and unknown threats, there is always the possibility that an attack or breach may get past a protection system. So good practice within security requires strength in depth and having multiple systems to protect your data. EDR’s ability to integrate into existing systems will enhance an organisation’s multi-layered defence.

Increased visibility and data accrued from an EDR system will require dedicated resources to maintain a secure environment. If an organisation cannot provide resources to meet these challenges, then this has the potential to weaken an organisation’s security. 

Security teams may be overwhelmed and unable to quickly detect and respond to incidents. Sapphire’s Managed Service for EDR provides a dedicated team to monitor your EDR service and be ready to respond to threats and attacks.

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