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Gartner Recognizes Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) as a High-Benefit Solution

June 22, 2023

Keeping organizations safe from cybercriminals is a constant cat-and-mouse game of developing better defenses only to have attackers discover new ways around that defense. This struggle is most apparent in defending against hidden threats in files. Organizations have found numerous ways to prevent these attacks, such as antivirus (AV), end-user training, sandboxing, and more, but attackers keep finding new ways to be evasive. According to AV-Test, over 390,000 new varieties of malicious code are created daily. These traditional approaches to managing the problem are not enough on their own to ensure your organization’s safety. 

Industry leaders have identified Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) as a high-value solution to this problem. In this blog, we explore the challenges of hidden threats and why CDR has caught the attention of technology leaders. 

CDR: The Basics

Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) technology is a modern cybersecurity approach that is quickly becoming a trusted alternative to traditional antivirus and sandboxing solutions. Rather than relying on threat detection, CDR technology focuses on sanitizing all incoming content by deconstructing and reconstructing it to eliminate potentially harmful elements.

This approach involves breaking down content, including shared files, emails, email attachments, and web downloads, into its core elements. It then reconstructs the content using only known safe components, such as allow-listed code and structure, effectively eliminating potentially harmful components like malicious code, macros, and embedded links. This rebuilding process ensures all content is inherently free from harmful components, providing an effective safeguard against threats.  

CDR technology provides a robust defense against known and unknown threats, such as zero-day attacks, file-based malware, and other advanced threats, by deconstructing and sanitizing all incoming content. This makes it highly effective against polymorphic and targeted attacks that rely on modifying existing malware to evade detection by traditional antivirus solutions. CDR’s zero-trust sanitization of all content eliminates even the most sophisticated cyber threats, making it a cornerstone of defending your organization.

Businesses Dealing with Hidden Threats

Organizations only have to be wrong once with detection to suffer the consequences of missing malicious code embedded in files. Relying on end-user training to identify potentially malicious content is helpful but insufficient. End-users are only human and cannot be perfect every day. Even AV solutions are fallible, relying on different detection methods that may miss new varieties of malicious code. They are a helpful layer of defense, but they are still insufficient as the only method of defending your organization. 

Hidden Threats Create Risk

Hidden threats can lurk in files and pose a significant risk to organizations. For instance, malware can be hidden in a file as a part of its code, or macros can execute malicious actions without user consent. These threats can evade traditional security measures and slip through boundaries to execute in soft areas of the business behind protected perimeters. 

After execution, the malicious code can carry out various attacks, including encrypting endpoints for ransom, exfiltrating data, or installing rootkits to allow attackers deep access to your organization. Once beyond these perimeters, they can rapidly spread throughout your environment. The threat will often remain dormant after it has spread, allowing it to re-emerge, even after the obviously affected systems are remediated. This creates a reoccurring attack that is hard to permanently eliminate once it has taken hold. 

AV-Detection Has Gaps

Detection-based technologies such as AV are only as accurate as the signature files and behaviors they know to look out for. To be truly effective, the indicators they use to identify malicious code must be frequently updated to detect malware slightly evolved from existing strains, generating a unique signature or a genuinely unique Zero-day threat. In these cases, the software cannot detect them until the signature files are updated, creating a gap of exposure for organizations where they can be freely attacked.

Organizations must implement solutions that do not rely on detection to avoid this exposure gap. CDR was developed with the understanding that there is no surefire way to catch everything as quickly as new threats are developed. Rather than looking for threats and trimming them out of files, CDR is built on the assumption that threats could exist in any file, even if it comes from a trusted source. By using only known-safe components to rebuild, any parts of a file that a threat may exist are removed, eliminating it as a potential vector for delivering toxic code. 

Gartner Recognizes CDR’s Value

Managing hidden threats is a significant challenge for businesses, and previous solutions are insufficient. This is why Gartner, a leading researcher of technology in the industry, has formally recognized CDR as a high-value solution for endpoint security (link, Gartner subscription required). Their research has shown that detection-based solutions are insufficient for a comprehensive defense against hidden threats. Instead, using an always-on solution that sanitizes all files using a Zero-trust methodology is more effective in eliminating malicious code lurking in files.

It took time for Gartner to recognize CDR as a high-value solution as Gartner watches as technologies mature before they are formally recognized in any capacity. The basic recognition of a technology is inclusion in the Gartner Hype Cycle. This model tracks technology from its inception when its features are still being refined to the point when it is widely adopted as an industry standard. For a more in-depth look at the Gartner Hype Cycle, read our blog here.

Where CDR Sits in the Hype Cycle

The Gartner Hype Cycle is tricky to understand at a glance as many of the classifications used may appear to have a negative connotation, such as the Trough of Disillusionment, where CDR is currently classified. It may seem counterintuitive that a high-value solution is also associated with disillusionment. This classification is not actually negative; instead, it points to where the average CDR solution is on the road to maturity. 

The Trough of Disillusionment level indicates that a technology is no longer brand-new and untested, yet it is also not widely adopted by the industry. In this phase, the technology as a whole is maturing and starting to gain adoption, but it is still relatively new. This does not diminish its effectiveness in any capacity. It is intended to serve as a roadmap allowing businesses to calculate the risk of adopting new technology.

For CDR, the classification only represents the average. Some vendors will underperform against it, and others will lead the pack. 

Votiro is High-Value Protection

Votiro is a highly effective and valuable solution in the CDR space, providing capabilities surpassing its competitors’ maturity. Unlike other tools that only offer CDR as a side feature, Votiro’s sole focus is on providing top-notch CDR. Votiro has a proven track record of helping customers defend against hidden threats, delivering quantifiable ROI to businesses.

Votiro’s advanced CDR technology offers protection across a wide range of file types, ensuring that all files are safe to use. Using patented technology, Votiro sanitizes files while retaining benign macros and active content, maintaining the full file fidelity and usability.

Votiro’s CDR protection is an API-centric solution that eliminates complex configurations and installations to instantly integrate into business workflows. Once deployed, the value of Votiro is immediate.

With Votiro, your employees and automated systems can be secure while maintaining productivity, and you can have peace of mind knowing that your organization is well protected. Contact us today to learn more about how Votiro sets the bar for preventing hidden threats. And if you’re ready to try Votiro for yourself, start today with a free 30-day trial