What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?

What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)?

As dental offices rely more on technology for daily operations and quality patient care, the inevitable risk of cyber threats lurks in the background. This is where Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) comes into play.

Endpoint Detection and Response, also known as EDR (not to be confused with electronic dental records), is a cybersecurity solution that continually monitors, detects, and responds to advanced threats and security incidents on all connected endpoints (desktop computers, laptops, servers, and mobile devices).

This post explores the essentials of EDR, its significance in dental practices, and how it can safeguard your network from potential security breaches.

How does Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Work?

The specific features of individual endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions vary between vendors and implementations, but overall EDR can “sense” when behavior is out of the ordinary (like the Spidey-senses of Spider-Man) for a user or endpoint on your system. The key functionalities of EDR include:

  • Data Collection: An EDR agent is installed on devices to collect various data points from every endpoint device on the network. These data points include processes, performance, configuration and file changes, user and device behavior, and network traffic.
  • Threat Detection: AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning are used to run behavioral analysis, based on global threat intelligence, to analyze the collected data for detection of potential threat patterns or anomalies that may indicate a security threat.
  • Threat Response: Once a potential threat or security incident is detected, EDR tools have various response capabilities to mitigate the threat. These responses can range from alerting security analysts and disconnecting the compromised endpoint from the network to terminating malicious processes. Any potential malicious activity is then reported for further investigation.
  • Threat Investigation: Alerts and reports are generated to inform security teams of potential threats and incidents. These reports display detailed information about the attack vector, timeline of events, and affected endpoints (painting a full picture). This helps security teams investigate the scope and impact of a security incident.

Infographic displaying the key functions of endpoint detection and response.

Why do Dental Practices Need Endpoint Detection and Response?

Endpoints are often the weakest link in a network, providing easy access for cybercriminals. According to a report by Verizon, 90% of successful cyberattacks and 70% of data breaches originate at endpoint devices. Because dental offices handle sensitive data and rely on various digital systems for daily operations, they are prime targets for cybercriminals. Implementing endpoint detection and response (EDR) is crucial because:

  • Protects Patient Data: It adds a level of protection to properly secure your patients’ protected health information (PHI) from unauthorized access and breaches.
  • Ensures Compliance: EDR helps in meeting regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA, by maintaining robust security measures through real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities.
  • Minimizes Downtime: With quick incident response, EDR tools can isolate compromised endpoints and contain threats to prevent operational disruptions and financial losses.
  • Enhances Reputation: Utilizing EDR as a layer of cybersecurity for your dental practice shows a commitment to protect your patients and partners – which builds trust.
  • Builds Stronger Defense: Just as you would protect your home with layers of security (locks, security cameras, alert system), EDR helps build a stronger defense against emerging threats.

Is Endpoint Detection and Response the same as Antivirus Protection?

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools are sometimes confused with antivirus solutions. While they both protect endpoints, they do so in separate ways.

Antivirus software protects endpoint devices only against known malware types (viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware) listed in the product’s database. Additionally, it only provides users with basic information (how many and what kind of threats blocked in a given time). Conversely, EDR detects new and emerging threats that haven’t been cataloged in the antivirus database. And, EDR solutions provide highly valuable contextual data (information on threat actors and historical trends).

Gone are the days where you could rely on a single layer of security, such as antivirus, to protect your business. Having an multi-layered security approach can ensure your dental practice is protected from emerging threats. This approach should consist of endpoint (through antivirus and EDR solutions), human, network, and data security solutions.

Infographic displaying the layers of cybersecurity for dental practices.

Benefits of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

The adoption of endpoint detection and response (EDR) provides many advantages, including:

  • Proactive Threat Management: By continuously monitoring endpoints, potential threats are identified and mitigated before they can cause harm. 
  • Comprehensive Visibility: Comprehensive insight into endpoint activities allows for a better understanding of the security landscape and quicker identification of vulnerabilities.
  • Enhanced Integration: EDR can integrate with other security tools and services, such as Managed Detection and Response – MDR to enhance your network's overall security posture.
  • Cost-Efficient: Saves money by cutting the cost of hiring a 24/7 in-house security team or leaving your dental practice open to a large-scale attack. The average savings of using cybersecurity tools of this nature equates to $1.76 million as illustrated in IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report.

What Type of Security Risks can Impact Devices on Your Dental Practice Network?

Endpoints are often the most vulnerable points of entry for cyberattacks. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) plays a vital role in the cybersecurity of your dental practice by protecting against endpoint security threats such as:

  • Malware and Ransomware: Malicious software that can encrypt data and demand payment for its release.
  • Phishing Attacks and Social Engineering: Deceptive emails or messages aimed at tricking staff into disclosing sensitive information or credentials or downloading malware.
  • Insider Threats: Risks posed by employees, whether intentional or accidental, who may leak or mishandle data (installing unauthorized software or neglecting security policies).
  • Stolen Credentials: Weak or reused passwords, and lack of a secure password manager (making passwords easy to crack) can open the door for an attack. 
  • Vulnerabilities: Unpatched systems and software, as well as zero-day vulnerabilities (unknown software or hardware vulnerabilities) can be exploited by cybercriminals.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Risks: Employee’s personal devices can expose the business to security risks if they lack proper security measures. Endpoint-delivered threats can occur when a user-infected device connects to the business network and delivers malware that can spread laterally.
  • Unauthorized Access: Holes in authentication or insufficient access controls can lead to unauthorized users gaining access to endpoints and moving across the network.
  • Data Loss: Devices connected to the network may hold sensitive data that could be lost or stolen if not properly protected. This leads to data breaches.

Infographic displaying endpoint security threats.

EDR is just one key in mitigating these risks. Implementing a robust security strategy (learn more in our layers of cybersecurity article) for your dental practice is necessary to protect the valuable information that cybercriminals crave.

How to Deploy EDR in Your Dental Practice

If you’re considering adding this vital layer of security to your dental practice, it’s important to choose a solution that integrates with or simplifies your security stack instead of making it more complex. Implementing EDR involves several steps:

  1. Assessment: Work with a specialized dental IT service provider to conduct a thorough assessment of your current IT infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and an EDR solution to meet your needs.
  2. Installation: The dental IT service provider can ensure proper installation and configuration of the EDR system.
  3. Continuous Monitoring and Updating: Regularly review and update your EDR system to stay ahead of emerging threats.
  4. Consider Additional Security Services: Although EDR adds more protection to your network, it's only one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. As threats continue to evolve, the missing piece of the puzzle can be found in complimenting security services such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR).


Endpoint Detection and Response is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for modern dental practices. With the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, protecting your digital assets and patient data must be a top priority. By implementing EDR, dental practices can ensure a secure environment, remain HIPAA compliant, and provide peace of mind to both their staff and patients.

Are you ready to enhance your dental practice’s cybersecurity? Contact us today to learn more about our tailored IT solutions for dental practices and take the first step towards a safer, more secure operation.

Dental IT. Remove the Burden. Embrace the Use.

Quality patient care – it's ultimately why you became a dental professional. But, some business operations can get in the way (such as pesky computer issues or lack of IT support). That’s where Pact-One Solutions can help! Our passion lies in supplying reliable, responsive dental IT support and security that practices can count on.

Whether you’re looking for dental IT services for your startup or searching for more responsive dental IT support – our team of dental IT specialists have you covered. With team members throughout the United States, we offer nationwide support to dental practices of all sizes. Our wide range of dental IT services ensure your data is secure, accessible, and protected.

Don't let technology challenges hinder your ability to deliver exceptional dental care. Contact us at info@pact-one.com or 866-722-8663 to join 350+ dental practices thriving with the support of a dedicated dental IT team.

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