What is next-generation antivirus (NGAV)?

Next-generation antivirus (NGAV) software protects your business against known and unknown cyberthreats. The software looks at your files, processes, applications, and network connections and the relationships between them. This helps you identify malicious intent, behaviors, and activities — and block them.

About NGAV

Next-generation antivirus refers to cybersecurity software built on a cloud-based infrastructure that uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), predictive analytics, and threat intelligence to detect and stop cyberthreats. It also monitors and responds to cybercriminals' tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to prevent cyberattacks.

How Does NGAV Work?

Next-generation antivirus software uses deep learning neural networks to detect threats and anticipate and stop attacks in near real time. In doing so, NGAV identifies fileless attacks and known and unknown threats commonly missed by traditional antivirus (AV) software.

How Are Traditional Antivirus and NGAV Software Different?

Traditional antivirus software relies on signatures, i.e. strings of characters associated with known malware files. Businesses using this software must update their signatures catalog regularly to keep pace with new cyberthreats.

Legacy AV software is loaded onto a computer, keeps an eye out for signatures, and protects against known attacks. The software must be installed on site, and it can take weeks or months to deploy the software across your business.

Next-generation antivirus software uses AI and other technologies to stop known and unknown attacks. The software identifies suspicious behaviors and threats, even if they have not been previously used in cyberattacks. It can be deployed in hours and doesn't require any updates.

Why Is Traditional Antivirus Software Outdated?

Most modern cyberattacks are fileless and don't have signatures, so they can bypass traditional antivirus software.

In addition, legacy AV software's signature catalog must be updated as new malware and ransomware are created and discovered. This means your business must install all available updates — and missing even a single update can put your company, its customers, and its employees at risk.

Categories of Next Generation Antivirus Solutions

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Extended detection and response software seeks out and responds to threats across your IT infrastructure.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Endpoint detection and response software seeks out and responds to threats across your endpoints.

Which Is Better: XDR or EDR?

Each endpoint is only a small part of your IT infrastructure, while your infrastructure is comprised of multiple systems. As such, XDR is more powerful than EDR, since it protects your entire IT infrastructure. 

What Is the Difference Between NGAV and XDR?

NGAV software combines several technologies to protect your business against fileless attacks and identify and address known and unknown cyberthreats. It can be used across your endpoints or IT infrastructure.

XDR software always protects your IT infrastructure. You can have NGAV software that only protects your endpoints and leaves you susceptible to cybercriminals attacking different systems across your infrastructure. Or, with XDR software at your disposal, you can make sure that you're protected against cyberattacks across all of your systems.

What Are the Benefits of Using NGAV Software?

NGAV software is comprised of multiple technologies that work together to identify and stop cyberthreats. Unlike traditional AV software, NGAV software does not require signature updates. NGAV software can be deployed in hours and won't impact the performance of your endpoints. The software is also cloud based, which can make it easier to manage and monitor than legacy AV software.

What Should You Look for in an NGAV Vendor?

Look for an NGAV vendor that knows how to protect its customers against known and unknown cyberthreats. The vendor stays up to date on cyberthreats and keeps its customers in the loop about them. Most importantly, the vendor ensures its customers are always protected against current and emerging threats.

Choose an NGAV vendor with a proven track record. This vendor has helped businesses utilize NGAV software to optimize their security posture. The vendor can do the same for your business, too.

Lastly, partner with a vendor that offers NGAV and XDR capabilities and threat intelligence. This vendor provides security capabilities to protect your IT infrastructure 24/7/365. It also delivers threat intelligence to help you understand what's happening before, during, and after cyberattacks and how to prevent attacks.

Get the Best Security Outcomes with Sophos

Sophos Antivirus and Endpoint Protection solutions blend NGAV and XDR capabilities to protect your endpoints, servers, firewalls, mobile devices, and other IT systems. It lets you investigate cyberthreats, search for security weaknesses, monitor security across your devices, and more.

To get started with Sophos XDR, please contact us today.

Contact Us

Related security topic: What is a hardened server?