Antivirus and EDR: Key differences every business owner needs to know

Antivirus and EDR: Key differences every business owner needs to know

Cybersecurity measures are necessary to proactively defend against evolving cyberthreats, preserve data confidentiality and integrity, maintain operational resilience, and protect both individuals and organizations in the digital age. However, with the plethora of cybersecurity measures available in the market, selecting the best ones for your business’s specific needs can be daunting.

Fortunately, there are tried and tested cybersecurity measures for safeguarding data. Two of these are antivirus and endpoint detection and response (EDR). But while both security technologies are used to protect computer systems from various threats, they differ in their functionalities and capabilities.

How do antivirus and EDR differ?

Antivirus software detects, prevents, and removes known malware such as viruses, worms, and Trojans. Meanwhile, EDR is an advanced security solution that focuses on detecting, investigating, and responding to suspicious activities and advanced threats on endpoints such as computers, devices, and servers.

These two security measures differ in several other aspects, including:


Antivirus primarily focuses on scanning files and processes to detect known malware patterns and signatures. EDR has a broader scope and collects detailed endpoint data, including system events, file activities, network connections, and user behavior, to detect and respond to both known and unknown threats.

Threat detection

Antivirus relies on signature-based detection, where it matches the signatures of known malware against the files on the system. It may also use heuristic analysis to detect potential threats based on suspicious behavior patterns. Meanwhile, EDR employs various detection techniques, including behavioral analysis, machine learning, anomaly detection, and threat intelligence, to identify malicious activities, unknown threats, and advanced persistent threats (APTs).

Incident response

Antivirus software typically focuses more on prevention and mitigation and lacks the robust incident response capabilities that EDR solutions. By providing detailed visibility into the endpoint's activities and the ability to isolate compromised systems, EDR enables security teams to investigate and respond to security incidents efficiently.

Real-time monitoring and visibility

Antivirus solutions primarily operate in the background, scanning files and processes periodically or on demand, without real-time monitoring and visibility into system activities. The opposite is true for EDR solutions, which offer real-time monitoring and visibility into endpoint activities, providing security teams with detailed insights, alerts, and visibility into suspicious behavior. This, in turn, facilitates proactive threat hunting and faster incident response.

Should a business implement both antivirus and EDR?

It is recommended to have both antivirus and EDR solutions in place to achieve a more comprehensive and robust security posture….though some products on the market have both antivirus and EDR capabilities, here's why having both is beneficial:

Comprehensive threat protection

Antivirus software is effective at detecting and blocking known malware based on signature matching and heuristics. However, it may not be able to detect sophisticated, unknown threats. EDR complements antivirus measures by providing additional layers of defense, leveraging behavioral analysis, machine learning, and threat intelligence to identify APTs and zero-day attacks.

Advanced threat detection

EDR solutions offer proactive threat-hunting capabilities, enabling security teams to investigate and detect potential security incidents by analyzing endpoint data, user behavior, network connections, and system events. This proactive approach helps businesses identify and respond to emerging threats that may bypass traditional antivirus defenses.

Visibility and forensics

EDR solutions provide granular visibility into endpoint activities, allowing security teams to monitor and analyze events in real time. This visibility helps detect suspicious behavior, track the progression of an attack, and gather valuable forensic evidence for post-incident analysis and remediation.

Adaptive security

EDR solutions are designed to adapt and respond to evolving threats. They often include machine learning algorithms and threat intelligence feeds, which enable them to continuously improve their detection capabilities. This adaptability is crucial in today's dynamic threat landscape where new malware variants and attack techniques emerge rapidly.

Founders Technology Group, LLC specializes in providing comprehensive, proactive, and personalized cybersecurity solutions. We bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the table, allowing you to focus on your core business while our IT specialists handle your antivirus, EDR, and other cybersecurity measures. Contact us today.