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Dual Defenses: 10 Reasons Why NDR Is Essential Alongside EDR

Over the last few years, the evolution of cybersecurity strategies has seen a significant shift toward a more layered, nuanced, and, in many cases, advanced approach. Among these advancements, Network Detection and Response (NDR) has emerged as a critical component that continues to become more widely recognized and accepted across the industry for its efficacy in bolstering cybersecurity defenses.

NDR’s recognition is underpinned by the SOC Visibility Triad, which advocates for a balanced integration of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), and NDR.

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SOC Visibility Triad

The SOC Visibility Triad underscores the importance of having diverse yet complementary security tools. NDR's role within this triad is pivotal, addressing gaps that EDR alone cannot fill and providing a more holistic view of network activity. The strategic integration of NDR with existing EDR solutions is not just an additive measure, but a transformative step in enhancing security operations.

As the digital landscape evolves and threats become increasingly sophisticated, the need for comprehensive security measures, such as NDR, is more important now than ever before. NDR's rise to prominence is a testament to its proven effectiveness in detecting and responding to threats that bypass traditional endpoint-focused defenses.

In this blog, I will explore the top 10 reasons why adding NDR to your defensive tool belt is crucial, even when EDR solutions are already in place. These reasons highlight the unique advantages of NDR, illustrating how it fills critical security gaps and improves operational efficiency.

  1. Comprehensive visibility: EDR provides visibility into what's happening on your managed endpoints, but it doesn't offer insight into all network activity. NDR solutions fill this gap by providing visibility into network traffic, including encrypted traffic. This visibility allows for the detection of malicious activities that may not manifest in observable changes at the endpoint.
  2. Adversaries can’t evade the network: EDR solutions are not infallible to zero-day attacks, supply chain attacks, advanced persistent threats, and nation-state actors. If an attacker can disable or bypass the EDR solution on an endpoint, that endpoint becomes blind to the attacker's actions. The network, however, cannot lie. Virtually all attacks must cross a network, and in doing so, attackers create a trail of network evidence. While adversaries can certainly obfuscate their network activity via encryption or by imitating legitimate traffic, they cannot avoid leaving behind evidence of these connections.
  3. Broader device coverage: EDR solutions can only monitor the endpoints on which they are deployed. Many EDRs are not designed to cover embedded devices or systems, IoT devices, Industrial Control Systems (ICS), Operational Technology (OT), and other unmanageable systems. An NDR solution provides an additional layer of security for every device on the network by monitoring traffic, potentially catching malicious activities on unmanaged endpoints.
  4. Passive asset discovery and inventory: Without a clear understanding of what's on your network, it's challenging to detect anomalies or unauthorized access. NDR's ability to observe all network activity, not limited to just devices with EDR agents, endows security teams with additional identification capabilities for devices, applications, services, certificates, hosts, and more. This visibility helps identify devices unknown to their EDR, and empowers defenders to map and secure their environment more effectively based on real-time observation of the devices present rather than relying solely on presumed or expected data from an EDR, asset inventory, or Configuration Management Database (CMDB).
  5. Different detection capabilities: EDR primarily focuses on detecting and responding to threats on individual endpoints. It analyzes endpoint content, configurations, and behavior, and can identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. On the other hand, NDR monitors network traffic and analyzes network content and behavior, detecting potential threats that might not be fully visible at the endpoint level. This monitoring can detect lateral movement, command and control (C2) traffic, and other network visible indicators of compromise.
  6. Risk-based alert prioritization: Most IT teams are unable to remediate every vulnerability, just as most SecOps teams are unable to respond to every alert. By merging or correlating network intrusion alerts from an NDR with vulnerability context from an EDR, SecOps teams can use a risk-based approach to prioritize response and tune out false positives.
  7. Enhanced investigation and forensics: NDR solutions can provide detailed network traffic logs, analysis, and packet captures, which are invaluable for post-incident investigations and digital forensics. While EDR provides endpoint-specific data, NDR adds a network-wide perspective, allowing for a more comprehensive investigation into how an attack occurred, what was impacted or exfiltrated, and the full scope of the breach. This is especially important for understanding complex or prolonged attack campaigns, verifying containment, and providing defensible disclosure.
  8. Integration and correlation: By integrating EDR and NDR, you can pre-correlate network data with endpoint vulnerabilities and other host data before it reaches the SIEM for a more rapid and comprehensive understanding of security incidents. Correlation using open standards like Community ID simplifies and accelerates the identification and analysis of complex multi-stage attacks, where the initial compromise might be visible on an endpoint, but subsequent actions, like data exfiltration, are more easily observed on the network.
  9. Support for zero trust architectures: As organizations move towards Zero Trust architectures, where trust is never assumed and must be continually verified, NDR solutions become even more critical. They provide ongoing monitoring and validation of network activities, confirming that only legitimate traffic is allowed and deviations from established norms are quickly identified and addressed. This complements EDR's role in securing endpoints under the same Zero Trust principles.
  10. Compliance and regulatory requirements: Some industries and regulations may require or recommend both endpoint and network-level monitoring and response capabilities. Having both EDR and NDR solutions can help in meeting these regulatory requirements.

In conclusion, a layered approach, blending the strengths of EDR's endpoint-focused insights with NDR's expansive network visibility, addresses the increasingly complex and sophisticated nature of cyber threats. NDR offers broad coverage across various devices, enhanced detection capabilities, and invaluable support for investigation and forensics.

Why Organizations Trust Corelight for NDR

Corelight’s Open NDR Platform is based on open source and proprietary technologies. We deliver NSM, IDS, and PCAP functionality in a single architecture that easily integrates with your existing toolstack, including leading EDR, XDR, and SIEM providers. It is quick to deploy, easily scalable, and highly customizable to fit your team’s unique requirements. We accelerate incident response by providing analysts with the broadest range of detection coverage including ML, behavioral, signature, and threat intel. Our generative AI workflow automation and direct access to the correlated data reduces MTTD and MTTR and improves SOC efficiency. You can read more about why customers trust our Open NDR Platform and support team to help defend their organizations on our G2 page.

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