Differences between NGAV and EDR | A Comprehensive Guide 

Blog Reading Time 8 Min Read
April 9, 2024
By: Hiran Perera

Differences between NGAV and EDR | A Comprehensive Guide 

Cybersecurity threats are no joke! Businesses of all sizes understand they need the right tools to keep intruders out of their systems. However, all those terms like NGAV and EDR can get confusing. 

“What’s the difference between NGAV and EDR?” you might wonder. “Do I need one or both?” In this guide, we’ll break down next-generation antivirus (NGAV) and endpoint detection and response (EDR), explore the nitty-gritty details, and help you determine the best way to protect your organization. 

What is NGAV? 

Think of NGAV as the advanced version of your traditional antivirus software. While classic antivirus is great at catching those well-known viruses, NGAV goes beyond just checking file signatures. It is a much smarter solution that uses diverse techniques to catch those pesky threats. 

How does NGAV Work? 

NGAV combines a whole bunch of methods to fight the bad guys: 

  • Machine Learning and AI: It analyzes file behavior and patterns to determine whether something is fishy, even if it has not seen that exact malware before. 
  • Behavioral Analysis: It tracks what programs and files do, looking for any out-of-the-ordinary behavior that could scream “danger!”. 
  • Sandboxing: It puts suspicious files in a safe, isolated environment to see how they act – a clever way to avoid the risk of actual infection. 
  • Cloud-Based Threat Intelligence: It taps into vast databases of the latest threats to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. 

Benefits of NGAV 

  • Catch Those Zero-Day Attacks: Sneaky new threats, called zero-day attacks, do not have signatures yet. NGAV goes beyond signatures, giving you a fighting chance against the unknown. 
  • Stop Ransomware in its Tracks: Ransomware, which encrypts your files and demands a ransom, might slip past old-school antivirus, but NGAV’s behavioral analysis helps it spot and block suspicious file operations. 
  • Less False Positives: NGAV’s smarter analysis helps cut down on those annoying false positives where harmless files get flagged, saving your IT team a lot of time. 

What is EDR? 

EDR is like a security ninja, always on the lookout for suspicious activity within your network. It focuses on what happens after a threat might have slipped through your first line of defense, like NGAV. 

How Does EDR Work? 

EDR does some cool things: 

  • Continuous Monitoring: It keeps its eyes peeled 24/7, collecting data on endpoint activity (what your computers and devices are up to). 
  • Deep Analysis: It does not just look at individual events; it connects the dots, spotting patterns and anomalies that could be part of a sophisticated attack. 
  • Response Actions: EDR does not just alert you – It can help isolate infected machines, block malicious activity, and even roll back changes caused by malware. 

Benefits of EDR 

  • Hunt Down Those Stealthy Threats: Even if something avoids your NGAV, EDR’s in-depth monitoring can pick up the clues and hunt the threat down. 
  • Understand the Attack: EDR provides valuable forensic data, so you do not just stop an attack, you figure out how it got in to prevent similar ones in the future. 
  • Faster Response: EDR’s automated actions help contain a threat before it wreaks havoc, minimizing potential damage and saving you precious time. 

What are the Differences Between NGAV and EDR? 

NGAV and EDR, while both crucial for cybersecurity, operate in fundamentally different ways for specific purposes. NGAV is your frontline defense, designed to stop as many threats as possible from entering your system in the first place. It uses a blend of signature-based detection (matching against known malware), behavioral analysis (monitoring suspicious actions), and increasingly, artificial intelligence, to predict and block attack attempts.  

In contrast, EDR assumes a breach could occur and focuses on everything that happens inside your network. It continuously monitors endpoint data, analyzes it for patterns and anomalies, and provides the in-depth tools needed to investigate, contain, and remediate even stealthy attacks that might bypass your initial defenses. 

Okay, now that we understand how NGAV and EDR each operate. Here is the breakdown of their core differences: 

Feature NGAV EDR Explanation 
Focus Preventing threats from entering Detecting threats already inside your network NGAV is the gatekeeper, EDR is the internal surveillance system 
Approach Signature-based + Behavior + AI Deep analysis of endpoint activity NGAV looks for known bad patterns and suspicious behavior. EDR analyzes vast amounts of endpoint data looking for signs of compromise that might go unnoticed by NGAV. 
Response Block suspicious files, quarantine threats Contain threats, provide remediation tools, detailed attack timeline NGAV primarily stops known threats on sight. EDR helps contain those that slip through, giving security teams tools to track the attack’s path and fix what has been compromised. 
Visibility Limited view of attack Comprehensive forensic data for thorough investigations NGAV tells you something was blocked. EDR reveals how something got in, and how far it spread so you can eliminate all traces. 

Let’s Use Analogy… 

Think of NGAV as a security guard at the entrance of a building. It checks everyone’s ID, looks in their bags, and refuses entry to any known bad actors. EDR, on the other hand, is like a network of security cameras and motion detectors inside a building. It is constantly looking for anything suspicious, even if those clever intruders manage to disguise themselves initially. 

NGAV, EDR, or Both? 

This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? The truth is, they are not “either/or” choices, they are powerful when combined. 

  • NGAV: Your First Line of Defense: NGAV is essential to block as many threats as possible and reduce the overall attack surface. 
  • EDR: The Backup Plan, and So Much More: Even with the best NGAV, some threats might slip through. EDR kicks in as the safety net, providing in-depth visibility and the ability to respond before major damage is done. 

Here’s Why Both is Ideal: 

  • Layered Security: Cyber threats are becoming more creative and sophisticated. It is best to have multiple layers of protection in place. 
  • Full Detection and Response: NGAV stops most attacks, and EDR catches what slips through, offering swift containment capabilities. 
  • Advanced Threat Intelligence: Combining the insights from both tools paints a more detailed picture of what is happening within your environment. 

What Should You Choose for Your Organization? EDR, NGAV, or Both? 

Deciding which solution (or combination) is right depends on factors specific to your business.  

Here is what to consider: 

  • Risk Tolerance: How much risk is your company willing and able to absorb? Highly sensitive data or operations might require the added defense-in-depth strategy provided by both NGAV and EDR. 
  • Budget: EDR solutions tend to be more expensive due to their complexity. If you are budget-constrained, starting with a robust NGAV and considering EDR as a future upgrade might be the way to go. 
  • Technical Expertise: EDR often requires dedicated security personnel to effectively analyze the data it gathers, make decisions, and take appropriate actions. Alternatively, you can buy EDR and NGAV both as a managed service (MDR) from a security service provider. 
  • Industry Regulations: Certain industries, like healthcare or finance, have stricter compliance requirements that might make EDR a necessity. 
  • Size and Complexity of Your IT Environment: Larger, more complex networks benefit more from EDR tools due to the increased potential attack surface and the need for centralized visibility. 

The Bottom Line 

In today’s threat landscape, it is always best to go for the combined power of NGAV and EDR whenever possible. This provides proactive defense at the perimeter with a robust safety net for whatever breaches that initial layer. 


NGAV is all about threat prevention. It helps keep the bad threats outside the gates. 

EDR is all about threat detection and response. It hunts down threats that manage to wiggle their way in, and it helps you stop them in their tracks. 

While your specific situation might dictate a different approach, in most cases, the synergy between NGAV and EDR provides the complete cybersecurity package needed for robust protection against the relentlessly evolving threats in today’s digital landscape. 

I hope this guide has helped clear up the confusion surrounding NGAV vs. EDR and given you a solid foundation for choosing the best security solutions for your organization. Remember, cybersecurity is an ever-evolving battle, so be sure to continually re-evaluate your needs and adapt your defenses accordingly! 

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