The Importance of Investing in EDR for SMEs

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In 2022, there were over 10,000 new ransomware variants discovered in the first half of the year alone. And, as threat actors grow in number, the frequency of attacks witnessed globally will continue to rise exponentially. No organisation is immune from a breach, as demonstrated by the many cases making headlines today. So, how can SMEs combat this?

High-end, enterprise-level security tools may be perceived to be out of reach for many small businesses, but that thinking is quickly changing. For the new year, companies should look at smart endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions that include a robust incident management portal that efficiently tracks all open threats. Without investing in smart software, smaller organisations are underprepared, and therefore at risk, explains David Corlette.

The Heat Is On

Not only are small businesses facing more pressure to protect their company from cyber threats, but attacks are also becoming increasingly innovative, with ready-made tools available in multiple forms accessible even to casual attackers, from Ransomware-as-a-Service and Phishing-as-a-Service, to Malware-as-a-Service.

Small businesses make an average of £2.8 million per year, but average breaches cost upwards of £4.5 million. That’s a tight margin, and one with severe consequences – with one out of eight small businesses closing down due to a data breach.

Discouragingly, a recent poll revealed that most small business owners are not adequately concerned. Sixty-one percent weren’t worried about the possibility of their company becoming the target of a cyberattack in the next 12 months and only 4% put cybersecurity as the top risk facing their business. For these reasons alone, SMEs need to be more cautious – and more prepared – than ever.

Closing The Gap

In the same way that bad actors have targeted larger corporations, small businesses are increasingly becoming targets as well, but are more often victims due to their “it won’t happen to us” or “too small to hack” attitude: they lack  sufficient solutions to protect themselves. Prevention is difficult when the traditional methods – hire large IT teams, level up solutions, train existing team members – are often cost- and resource-prohibitive for smaller businesses.

However, small businesses can leverage their existing expertise to create an enterprise-grade endpoint detection and response strategy using newer Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) technology. In terms of protecting their business, some EDR solutions make it possible for smaller companies to compete with the bigger players, as they provide the sophistication of high-performing, cloud-based solutions without the challenges that users may expect. This advanced technology provides better detection and discovery of more anomalous behaviour than users would receive from standalone antivirus file, process, and networking analysis solutions while also providing investigation and remediation tools to speed response times.

By automating much of the busy work – threat detection, remediation, and response – EDR can close the skills gap and actually put small businesses ahead. This can be more cost-effective compared to directly employing someone full-time to defend against the modern threat landscape; not only are new staff expensive to hire but they are increasingly hard to find.

Additionally, having an EDR tool that uses security automation is important to detect and stop an attack in its early stages. Using behavioural engines, security teams can track each component of the attack as it happens in near real-time. With the help of AI and Machine Learning (ML), a modern EDR can natively identify anomalous activities, such as zero-day ransomware behaviour, and automatically terminate these processes upon detection.

Looking Ahead

Experts anticipate that the growth of the market for EDR solutions will continue. By 2025, according to Gartner’s estimates, more than 60 percent of businesses will have switched from traditional antivirus software to solutions that offer endpoint protection and endpoint detection and response.

Having a modern Endpoint Detection and Response tool is a must-have in any security team’s arsenal, especially for SMEs. It provides a holistic security approach necessary to fight successful battles in the current threat landscape, as EDR solutions supply crucial and quick containment measures, stopping the breach from doing further damage to a network. But EDR solutions also offer strategic long-term benefits by strengthening security posture and enabling organisations to defend against known and zero day threats.

Now is the time for smaller businesses to make the investment in cybersecurity technologies, such as EDR, in order to help smaller teams meet the same security demands as larger corporations, and to safeguard the SME and its workers against cyberattacks. Ultimately, using the right tools can make all the difference for small business security teams in the year ahead.