Content Disarming and Reconstruction (CDR) technology is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after market segments in cybersecurity.  With such an expansive market and a diverse range of offerings and functionality can be difficult to navigate the best option for your business.

From integrated CDR solutions for enterprise customers to stand alone products with functionality built for SMB, CDR product offerings are as diverse as the customers using them.

In this review we will sort through the confusion of functionality to better understand the value of CDR products. Whether its enterprise-level protection or the addition of a valuable added layer of system support, this blog will explain how CDR can prevent malware from wreaking havoc on your secure data.

What is CDR?

The Content Disarming and Reconstruction (CDR) process for file sanitization was originally developed by military Cyber Security Unit’s and adapted for civilian use to protect sensitive data from malware infiltration.

CDR’s strategic value lies in its ability to protect against damage from malware attempting to enter an organization’s network through email attachments. Differing from traditional cybersecurity detection based solutions, CDR defends against new and unfamiliar threats that traditional protective tools – antivirus, sandbox, and even EDR systems – are unable to stop.

Where CDR systems differ from traditional security methods is how it monitors incoming files; stripes them of malicious attachments and embedded dynamic content, the files are then inspected, malware removed, and threats neutralized. After the content has been disarmed, the clean and secure files are reconstructed and uploaded via the mail server to their intended recipient within seconds.

How does CDR protect you from cyber threats?

CDR technology relies on three core factors to provide optimal cyber threat protection. Through the interconnectivity of these factors, CDR solutions can significantly reduce the influx of malicious content via email attachments better than other CDR products on the market today.

1) Deep File Analysis

CDR relies upon a comprehensive deep CDR applications systematically scans and purges all components potentially inflected with malware before the user has access to the email attachment. In the process, by filtering all embedded active content, and disarms it instantaneously the chances of bringing inflected content into the system is virtually eliminated.

2) Policy management

Highly configurable policy options allow for a fine-grained policy definition of malware threats.  systems with highly configurable set of admin permissions to provide exacting coverage to all users and access levels. With easily customizable user settings, system admins can provide the highest level of cybersecurity dictated to the specific technical requirements of each and every one using the company infrastructure.

How does CDR complement existing cybersecurity products?

According to Gartner: “As malware sandbox evasion techniques improve, the use of CDR at the email gateway, as a supplement or alternative to sandboxing will increase. CDR breaks down files into their discreate components, strips away anything that doesn’t conform to that file types original specs, or company policies, and rebuilds a clean version that continues to the intended destination. This real time process removes zero day malware exploits without impacting business productivity typically caused by sandbox detonation and quarantine delays.”

By preventing the inflow of new malware, SMB can rely upon off the shelf antivirus or firewall products to detect previous infections, while utilizing CDR to prevent future data breaches.

CDR and enterprise customers?

CDR technology has become broadly accessible for enterprise customers through a diverse range of service providers and product options. As a next-level cybersecurity technology with its foundations in military technology, CDR service offerings are directed towards enterprise customers with the resources and security requirements to demand the additional security barrier.

Between the initial costs of development and the time required to onboard the large scale and scope of users, CDR was often limited to those with vast resources and exceptional technological prowess.


SMB face many of the same security challenges of their better-funded Enterprise competitors, but often without the depth of legacy systems to prevent destruction and cyber-attacks.

While less known, and previously inaccessible to SMB’s CDR technology is now increasingly accessible in a SaaS format through a range of established and dynamic security organizations.

Only through the creation of CDR solutions specifically catered to SMB’s cyber constraints, can this technology take the leap from innovative idea to industry standard file based protection system.

Directly correlating to the high cost of cyber threats and risks to end users, the need for new methods to mitigate cyber risk are growing by the day. By stopping the flow of new malware SMB can better utilize the less robust antivirus or firewall programs currently available without risking cataclysmic data loss due to security gaps in less comprehensive security protocols.

In practice, the advancements in CDR can facilitate this more effective ad hoc cybersecurity strategy if it is placed at a financially feasible price point for SMB.

What’s next?

With a glut of technological options to improve data security, Content Disarm and Reconstruction technology has traditionally has not taken center stage in most malware prevention strategies, however with the rise of SMB geared solutions and SaaS pricing models CDR can more easily provide malware protection for the widest swath of users and organizations.

This article was originally published in Cyber Protection magazine