Unauthorized access to business systems and networks is a top source of data breaches. This makes endpoint protection a vital component of any cybersecurity strategy.
Endpoint protection provides system administrators with a centralized console that they can use to manage security for each endpoint device on their network remotely. This helps to streamline operations and help prevent unauthorized access that can lead to costly cyberattacks.
1. Data Loss Prevention
With cybercriminals constantly developing new ways to access sensitive information, it’s no wonder that business leaders are increasingly turning to endpoint protection to safeguard their companies. After all, a quick scan of InfoSec news sites will show that the average data breach cost is now $4.24 million, according to IBM.
Endpoint security is a comprehensive solution that protects devices and systems that connect to the corporate network. This includes desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and BYOD devices. It also covers servers, medical devices, Iota devices and sensors, point-of-sale (Pops) machines, ATMs, printers, and more.
The goal of endpoint security is to prevent malware and other threats from entering the company network or cloud infrastructure. This is accomplished through multiple methods, including device management and threat detection.
Endpoint security also uses the least privilege to limit access for admins and users. This helps to mitigate attacks, as malware and other threats require privileged access to gain a foothold. The least privilege allows only those with a legitimate need to log in for the finite moments required.
2. Threat Detection
As attacks become increasingly sophisticated, it’s crucial to have an active threat detection system in place. The good news is that several solutions are available to mitigate the risk of data breaches and other cyberattacks on your organization.
An endpoint protection solution typically offers security measures like antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection/prevention systems. However, the most effective solution will include behavior-based detection technologies that monitor device behavior to identify anomalies.
These can help reduce the number of threats that surpass traditional security measures, such as a business’s antimalware solution or firewall. These layered strategies help prevent unauthorized access and minimize the damage a breach can cause to a company’s reputation and bottom line.
Most modern endpoint protection solutions are cloud-based to simplify deployment, management, and maintenance. This eliminates the need for local storage and improves an IT team’s reach, as it can remotely monitor endpoint devices.
It also provides flexibility for BYOD and remote workers, who can access critical security features through a secure portal. Moreover, using the cloud for vulnerability management also eases the load on an endpoint, reduces hardware costs, and eliminates security silos.
3. Vulnerability Management
Endpoint protection is necessary for businesses today, given the proliferation of devices that access business networks (like printers, Iota, and BYOD). And as attacks have become more sophisticated, preventing them requires a full-spectrum security solution.
Vulnerability management, a crucial part of endpoint protection, delivers ongoing identification, assessment, prioritization, and contextualization of software vulnerabilities across your entire network. This can be done through patching, hardening, and configuration management techniques.
The most advanced endpoint solutions can also add threat context to vulnerability reports, helping your team make better decisions about responding to identified threats. This is typically done through a deep dive into threat intelligence feed, internally gathered and from third-party sources.
Many of the newer forms of endpoint protection are cloud-based, making them quick to deploy and easy to manage. They’re also scalable, meaning as your business grows, you can quickly expand the number of systems you protect without buying and maintaining additional hardware. This is often less expensive and more efficient than an on-premises option, which typically requires you to dedicate a staff member to managing your security infrastructure.
4. Patch Management
Patch management is a core component of endpoint protection that strengthens digital security and helps organizations minimize downtime by addressing vulnerabilities. Patching can also improve system performance and offer new features and benefits for users.
A strong patch management strategy involves several steps, including Identifying and assessing hardware, software, and applications to determine what needs to be updated or patched. It is prioritizing Ordering patches based on their importance for security or functional reasons and deploying Applying the selected patches to the appropriate devices in a controlled environment.
Testing Validating that the deployed patch does what it should and doesn’t cause any unintended issues. It’s essential to create standard and emergency patching procedures considering the impact of each device type on an organization’s network.
This will help to avoid the pitfalls of rushed patching, which can result in misconfigurations, incompatibilities, or other problems that can expose your systems to attack. It’s also helpful to deploy an EPP solution that uses the cloud to hold its threat database, which eliminates bloat, speeds up updates, and offers a scalable model for future growth.
5. Data Backup
Every device connecting to your network is an endpoint, and each machine provides a soft spot that cybercriminals can exploit. Endpoint protection protects these points of vulnerability with security solutions and technologies.
These solutions include antivirus (AV) and antimalware software, which detect and remove malware from your endpoints. They also include device management, which allows you to track and control your endpoints from a central location.
This includes enabling remote wiping of devices in the event of theft or loss. And they include patch management, which keeps your AV and other software up to date to address vulnerabilities that cyberattacks can exploit.
A layered approach to endpoint protection makes it harder for threat actors to penetrate your network. You reduce the attack surface by enforcing the least privilege and hardening devices.
This can help prevent lateral attacks, when threat actors gain an initial foothold on one endpoint and then use it to infiltrate other endpoints or assets across your enterprise network. It can also simplify compliance and auditing activities, making it easier to see what is happening on your endpoints.