NGAV, Next-Generation Antivirus

Through technology, our world becomes more sophisticated with each passing second. Countless improvements enhance production, commerce, and everything in between. But with these advancements come increasingly severe security threats. Without the proper safeguards in place, your users, systems, and devices are in a constant state of risk. That is why you need next-generation antivirus.

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What is NGAV?

As cybersecurity threats evolve, so should your defenses against them. The traditional antivirus software of past generations just does not cut it anymore. Think of next-generation antivirus as the new and improved way to keep your systems secure.

Also known as NGAV, this modern protection addresses the shortcomings of traditional antivirus software. NGAV utilizes multiple forms of advanced technology to block developing attacks and identify and prevent future ones.

Next-gen antivirus employs advanced monitoring to seek out threats of all kinds. Its defenses even work against never-before-seen attacks. In short, NGAV does not wait until a network security threat has been detected to start working. It is continually on alert.

How does NGAV work?

Next-generation antivirus is made possible through a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and behavioral analysis. NGAV utilizes deep learning neural networks to detect both known and unknown threats. It then uses that information to anticipate and prevent attacks.

Whereas traditional antivirus (AV) relies on signatures to secure your devices, NGAV assesses the entire picture. Sophisticated AI allows it to monitor more than just files, which means you get more comprehensive endpoint protection against the ever-changing threats of today. NGAV’s technology is equipped to block both malware and non-malware attacks, regardless of the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TPPs) used.

It’s not only the technology behind NGAV security that makes it so successful. Equally impressive is the way it is implemented. Next-generation antivirus software relies on a cloud-based infrastructure, which means you will see faster implementation. This also makes it easier to manage and maintain than traditional anti-virus systems.

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How are traditional antivirus and NGAV different?

We know that NGAV was designed with the intention of improving upon traditional (or “legacy”) antivirus software. But how exactly do these forms of protection differ from one another?

To understand this, we need to look at how legacy antivirus works. This software relies on signatures, or strings of characters that are associated with known malware files. Traditional antivirus software is loaded onto a computer and then keeps an eye out for those signatures. The key here is that this protection is effective against known attacks. But what happens when a new, unknown attack comes through?

This is where traditional antivirus falls short and NGAV fills in the gaps. Thanks to the advanced technology mentioned above, NGAV identifies all suspicious behavior and potential threats, even if those attacks have not previously been discovered and catalogued.

This is the main difference between traditional versus next-generation antivirus. NGAV identifies threats that traditional antivirus misses, either because they are signature-based attacks that have not yet been identified, or because they are file-less attacks that legacy antivirus  is not designed to catch.

But the contrasts do not stop there. Let’s look at implementation: NGAV operates via a cloud-based framework, which is easier and faster to utilize. It can be deployed in a matter of hours. Legacy antivirus, on the other hand, can take months to be established. This is because it requires hardware to be installed on-site.

Traditional antivirus software does not only take longer to roll out – it also relies on regular updates and scans that may slow down your devices. With NGAV, there are no updates required and you don’t have to worry about your cyber security software affecting endpoint performance.

Why is traditional antivirus outdated?

Today’s cyberattacks are multi-faceted and capable of inflicting significantly more damage than the attacks of yesterday. While traditional antivirus programs may have been enough to secure your devices ten or twenty years ago, it’s no match for modern threats.

Legacy antivirus works using a library of known malware signatures. This signature catalog must be updated regularly as new malware and ransomware are created and discovered. This means the end user must run all available updates to stay protected from signature-based malware. But even then, legacy antivirus doesn’t protect the user from any unknown or signature-less attacks.

Most modern cyberattacks are file-less, and as a result are not impeded by traditional antivirus software. Legacy antivirus has been around long enough for cyber attackers to learn their way around it, making this type of protection greatly outdated. Because of how it’s designed, traditional antivirus software is simply unable to detect any signature-less threats.

What is XDR?

You can’t discuss next-generation antivirus without also talking about extended detection response, or XDR. This advanced form of cyber protection focuses on the entire infrastructure to identify trends and threats. This differs from EDR (endpoint detection and response), which focuses on single endpoints instead of the big picture.

Like NGAV, XDR is a considerable improvement on legacy antivirus, which is more reactive than proactive. XDR seeks out threats and then rapidly acts against new and recognized attacks.

What makes XDR more powerful than EDR? It’s true that EDR is a great solution for protecting the endpoint. But each endpoint is only a single facet of the whole framework. Since your enterprise network is comprised of multiple systems, you need XDR to attain maximum protection.

What is the difference between NGAV and XDR?

NGAV is a combination of AI and machine learning with an emphasis on prevention. It’s able to protect against file-less attacks, unlike legacy antivirus.

XDR is an advancement of EDR that is designed to assess information outside of individual endpoints. If an attack were to get past NGAV and you don’t have XDR as an added safety measure, your systems become vulnerable to attack. NGAV is great for endpoint security, but it doesn’t easily work across multiple endpoints. This is where XDR steps in, as it has a greater scope.

Combining NGAV with XDR is recommended to maximize safety and security as cyberattacks become more and more complex.

What are the benefits of NGAV?

The main benefit of NGAV is that it’s comprised of many advanced forms of technology, ensuring more well-rounded protection than traditional antivirus software. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and behavior analysis work together to identify and stop threats. Next-generation antivirus fills in the gaps where traditional AV leaves your users and systems vulnerable.

Sophisticated technology isn’t the only perk of using NGAV for business antivirus protection, though. Let’s summarize the other factors that make NGAV solutions such as Sophos antivirus the smartest choice for business owners:

  • NGAV does not require signature updates.
  • NGAV can be deployed in a matter of hours, not months.
  • NGAV does not negatively impact endpoint performance.
  • NGAV is cloud-based, which is easy to monitor and maintain.

What should a business look for in a NGAV vendor?

Today’s threat landscape is constantly evolving, with cyberattacks becoming increasingly difficult to identify, eliminate, and recover from. Endpoint security has never been so vital. As such, it’s important to discern quality NGAV systems from ones that offer the bare minimum and leave your systems vulnerable.

The best next-gen cybersecurity companies prevent both known and unknown malware. To offer the most extensive protection possible, your business antivirus software should have XDR capabilities, as found in Sophos XDR. It should also integrate threat intelligence to gain a total understanding of what happens before, during, and after attacks, thus preventing future ones.

With the best cloud-based NGAV software on your side, you can rest assured knowing that even the most sophisticated threats will be neutralized. Get a personalized, no-obligation Sophos XDR quote today to keep your users, data, and devices protected from the worst.

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