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Sophos Intercept X vs. BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT

CYBERSECURITY / 12.05.23 / Paul Zimski
What’s the difference between Sophos Intercept X Advanced (“Intercept X”) and BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT™? If you’re evaluating these two endpoint protection platforms (EPPs), the most critical metrics to consider are efficacy and efficiency. A recent analysis evaluated Intercept X vs. CylanceENDPOINT and revealed drastically different outcomes.

Independent Endpoint Analysis

Tolly Group is a premier independent test lab and provider of third-party validation services to the IT industry. It has evaluated many of the most essential products and technologies to appear over the past decade, including EPPs. The following results are drawn from a 2023 Tolly Group EPP analysis.

Endpoint Efficacy: Sophos Intercept X vs. BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT 

Preventing cyberattacks is the reason many organizations invest in endpoint protection. So how effective is Intercept X in detecting and blocking threats, and how does it compare to CylanceENDPOINT?

Tolly Group put these EPPs to the test using two collections of 1,000 real-world malware samples in a Windows® 10 environment. Then they measured how effective the products were at detecting and eliminating the threats, separately reporting the performance when the test system had an active internet/cloud connection, and without it.

EPP Efficacy When Connected to the Cloud

Image 1 — Endpoint protection efficacy when connected to the cloud, scanning two collections of 1,000 real-world malware samples. Numbers represent the percentage of malware detected. Tolly Group evaluation, 2023.

EPP Efficacy When Disconnected From the Cloud

  • CylanceENDPOINT: 98.9% effective (no change when running in isolation)
  • Intercept X: 42.4% effective (nearly 6 in 10 threats – went undetected)
Image 2 — Endpoint protection efficacy when offline, scanning two collections of 1,000 real-world malware samples. Numbers represent the percentage of malware detected. Tolly Group evaluation, 2023.

Following the evaluation, Tolly Group concluded that CylanceENDPOINT “delivered superior threat protection both offline and online to ensure safety from malicious files, regardless of internet connectivity status.” BlackBerry was up to 133% more effective at blocking threats.

These results are extremely informative for organizations that:

  • Want to have a preventative cybersecurity strategy and block threats before they can do damage
  • Have a hybrid workforce that regularly connects and disconnects from access points
  • Want continuous and consistent protection — even during times of lost connectivity

It’s reassuring to know that organizations can still detect and block 98.9% of threats when systems are temporarily offline, or deliberately air-gapped. 

Endpoint Efficiency: Intercept X Advanced vs. CylanceENDPOINT

The efficiency of an endpoint protection platform is also crucial because intense resource usage can impede user productivity, slow business-critical computing processes, and shorten the lifespan of your IT equipment. Tolly Group compared the CPU (central processing unit) usage of Intercept X against CylanceENDPOINT. Here are the results of how each solution utilized valuable Windows resources:

Image 3 — Endpoint protection platforms, percentage of CPU utilized while scanning two collections of 1,000 real-world malware samples. Tolly Group evaluation, 2023.
  • Intercept X Resource Demands:
    Utilized ~100% of CPU until all 2,000 malware samples were examined.

The bottom line? CylanceENDPOINT represents a 95% resource savings vs. Intercept X Advanced.

Tolly Group’s conclusion about the efficiency test was that CylanceENDPOINT offers “dramatically lower CPU resource consumption while scanning, enabling computer resources to be available for end-user business tasks.” They went on to state that CylanceENDPOINT “will help extend the lifecycle of endpoints it protects by minimizing continued resource utilizations and eliminating expensive device reimaging cycles caused by malware breaches.”

EPP Time To Detect Malware Threats

There is another metric to consider when choosing an EPP, which combines both threat detection efficacy and efficiency, based on the time required to detect and analyze incoming threats. Here‘s how long it took each platform to detect all threats in the samples:

Image 4 — Endpoint protection platforms, time to analyze 1,000 real-world malware samples. Left: results when EPPs remain connected to the cloud. Right: results when EPPs are completely disconnected. Tolly Group evaluation, 2023. 
  • Intercept X Time to Detect 1,000 Malware Threats:
     ~68 minutes when connected; ~130 minutes when offline

Sophos Intercept X Advanced vs. BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT

The Tolly Group executive summary highlights what organizations evaluating endpoint protection plans need to know:

“Endpoint security is essential, but there can be a hidden price to pay when it comes to how some solutions use system resources. While computing systems — physical and virtual — continually become more powerful, new and updated applications are ever more hungry for those resources. BlackBerry’s focus is on providing superior endpoint protection — even in offline environments — while consuming minimal system resources.”

These findings are supported by the fact that BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT blocks up to 133% more threats than Sophos Intercept X, uses 20 times fewer system resources, and is more than three times faster.

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Paul Zimski

About Paul Zimski

Paul Zimski is Vice President of Product and Technical Marketing at BlackBerry.