Endpoint Defence: Panda Vs Bitdefender and Symantec

Businesses face multiple and evolving threats on multiple levels. Over 200,000 new viruses appear every day, and attackers are increasing their levels of sophistication. The challenges for security teams not only include having to cover a wide range of defences including traditional antivirus/anti-malware, personal firewalls, web & email filtering and device control, but also having to defend different operation systems and platforms across different geographies, while staying within levels of resources and budgets.

In recent times organisations have faced damage and disruption from ransomware,

and the evolving threats of file-less malware, and difficult-to-detect zero-day and targeted attacks.

With the endpoint as the last key line of defence, and with companies being frustrated by the cost and complication of needing to acquire and maintain a number of different products from different vendors to effectively defend the endpoint, security teams have found themselves wondering if they should be shopping around for a new kind of endpoint protection.

Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 (Panda AD360)

In September 2017 IT Pro gave Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 a 5-star review, citing Speedy alert times, simple deployment and loads of protection features as it strong points.

It’s true to say that Panda has been building a strong reputation for itself as an award-winning industry innovator that’s ranked highly in independent tests, but how does it compare with 2 other high-flyers in advanced anti-virus protection, Bitdefender and Symantec?

Bitdefender

If you’re a pcmag.com reader you’ll know that Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has already been given high marks in their Best Antivirus of 2018 tests (it regularly rates highly in independent lab tests).  Bitdefender boats over 500 million users, with high scores for protection against infections, while having low levels of impact on performance.

GravityZone

Bitdefender’s endpoint Protection product, GravityZone, offers a number of key features including protection for any number of physical endpoints: Windows, Linux and Mac, ‘Smart Scanning’ where centralized scanning offloads security tasks to Security Virtual Appliances, antivirus and antimalware with behavioural monitoring, and zero-day threat protection

Although Panda doesn’t have the same number of users as Bitdefender (not many companies do!), it is trusted by and used by an impressive array of organisations including Costa Express, Slimming World, the NHS & Cheshire Schools

The challenge for all traditional endpoint protection solutions is that they may be efficient at blocking known malware by using e.g. detection techniques based on signature files and heuristic algorithms, but they struggle with threats that arise in the ‘window of opportunity for malware,’ the time lapse between the appearance of new malware and the release of the antidote by security companies.  This can mean that zero-day and targeted attacks, new viruses and ransomware, Trojans and other evolving types of malware can still get into corporate networks through this ‘window’.

What Else?

Bitdefender’s ‘GravityZone Security for Endpoints’ is described and a product that simplifies security operations, thereby reducing the time required to manage and maintain security operations, and streamlining security management. Add-ons include integrated patch management, and full disk encryption.

Panda’sAdaptive Defense 360 takes simplification in this field to a new level because it combines Endpoint Protection (EPP) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) capabilities into one single offering with one single lightweight agent.

Deployment of Panda is simple, with endpoint agents downloadable from the portal or emailed as a web link, and with short load times.  Also, the dashboard with graphs and showing trusted apps, and detected malware, make it transparent, give complete visibility into all endpoint activity, and yet allow for drilling down into for more details.

Panda is also an example of a company that has provided an answer to this modern challenge of closing the ‘window of opportunity’ for malware with the introduction of its ‘Adaptive Defense’, which is an EDR service that can accurately classify every application running in an organization, only allowing legitimate programs to run.

Bitdefender Price?

You’d have to look hard for a price for GravityZoneonline, although examples of prices for regular Bitdefender include: For 1 year, 1 device – £39.99 inc VAT%, and for up to 3 devices – £29.99 inc VAT (was £49.99)

Symantec Endpoint Protection 14

Symantec describes its Endpoint Protection 14 as ‘The Most Complete Endpoint Security Solution for the Cloud Generation’, boasting protection of endpoints from all attack vectors, a single lightweight agent architecture, and defence against ransomware and other emerging threats multilayered protection.

Symantec says that this protection is achieved by combining advanced machine learning (one of its signature technologies) with protection capabilities such as intrusion prevention and reputation analysis.

As well as ant-malware / malware protection, exploit protection and application control, Endpoint Protection 14 claims to have faster scanning times, require minimal network bandwidth, and offer high performance without compromising end-user productivity.

Most Complete Vs Most Effective?

Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 combinesEPP and EDR capabilities in one all-encompassing solution means that it is also a single lightweight agent, and it works alongside existing endpoint security solutions. Whereas Symantec’s Endpoint 14 is described as the most ‘complete’, most businesses are likely to be more interested in the solution that’s most effective.

For example, one of panda’s unique out-of-the box services is its ‘100% Attestation Service’ which provides the highest level of prevention ever by allowing to run only those applications validated in real time by Panda, without having to delegate responsibility to administrators. No wonder, therefore, that Adaptive Defense 360 won a Gold Award for Real-World Protection in the AV-Comparatives 2017 report for the highest average detection rate throughout 2017.

Like Symantec, Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 also uses machine learning as part of its automatic classification of every process on all your company’s endpoints. However, Panda is also able to offer technical experts who can analyze all processes that are not classified automatically, to evaluate the behaviour of everything that runs on your systems, thereby making Defense 360 even more effective. In fact, Panda’s Adaptive Defense system guarantees that 100% of running processes are trustworthy, and time and resource-saving automation is at the heart of the detection, prevention, remediation, and forensics.

Deception?

One interesting aspect of Symantec’s Endpoint protection 14 is the ‘deception’ feature, which plants ‘baits’ to expose hidden adversaries, and to reveal attacker intent and tactics via early visibility.

The fact that Adaptive Defense 360 provides thehighest levels of preventive protection, advanced threat detection, forensics and response, only allows legitimate programs to run in the first place, and provides complete visibility into all endpoint activity means that baiting out ‘hidden’ attackers shouldn’t be necessary.

Proactive?

Although Symantec uses ‘Intelligent Threat Cloud Scanning’ and the input of the Global Intelligence Network (GIN) to help spot and counter threats, finding an endpoint protection offering that has a proactive threat hunting service as standard has been tough – until now. Panda is the only vendor to include a managed threat hunting service in the base purchase of its EPP, thereby helping to makeAdaptive Defense 360 a unique offering.

Symantec Endpoint Protection 14 price?

License + 1 year support for 1 user is around the $45 mark.

Bundled EPP & EDR

Security teams are faced with an unprecedented array of threats on all levels. One thing that seems to make sense, as shown byGartner’s research: “Predicts 2018: Security Solutionsis that by next year, buying EPP and EDR as a bundled endpoint security package will grow to almost 70% among users, up from 45% today. This trend towards wanting to buy bundled EPP and EDR endpoint security modules makes perfect sense in terms of simplicity, cost, compatibility, and in the case of products like Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360, in terms of all around effectiveness. 

Moving Forward

If you’re looking to find a way to deal with Advanced Persistent Threats and the rising tide of Ransomware, feel confident that 100% of running processes are trustworthy, and finally get proactive security intelligence complete network visibility, Panda seems to offer a hard-to-resist unique-value-proposition in Adaptive Defense 360 that stacks up very well an against much bigger names like Symantec and Bitdefender.  It looks like the work of industry innovator (since 1990) Panda is starting to get some well-deserved recognition for a product that has been designed to meet the needs of users looking to invest in a new breed of endpoint protection product.