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A Guide to Endpoint Protection


Nearly every company today is grappling with a tremendous increase in the number of endpoints linking to their network. On top of users’ gadgets – like smartphones, laptops, and desktops – there are more and more IoT-enabled systems in smart cities and smart factories. This is quickly turning into an information technology disaster. The fact is that there has never been a greater need for enterprise endpoint security like today. We continue our endpoint security series by discussing some of the numerous benefits of endpoint security systems. 

It is estimated that up to 70% of all known data breaches start at an endpoint. This is no surprise because endpoints are one of the weakest sections of any network. There are enormous amounts of application and operating vulnerabilities that can be exploited via endpoints. A single user can have various endpoints that can be successfully exploited. 

New business applications that are part of Industry 4.0 have put a lot of focus on IoT devices, where security has not been a crucial aspect. Consequently, we are improving computing power and intelligence to these endpoint gadgets to enhance performance and speed. With this, the number of attack vectors available to malicious individuals for even small businesses quickly becomes huge. 

As more and more endpoint attacks take place, the Ponemon 2020 State of Endpoint Security Risks Report revealed that more than 50% of respondents said that their companies are poor at handling endpoint security threats because ineffective security solutions can’t keep up with sophisticated attacks. 

What Is Endpoint Security? 

Many professionals state that endpoint protection went beyond the scope of anti-malware and antivirus software. As hackers use more advanced tactics, a more robust approach is needed. This resulted in the creation of endpoint protection solutions that involved an important series of endpoint security options to help keep systems safe from a wide range of attacks. 

Endpoint protection platforms effectively achieve this: protecting the endpoints at scale. However, they typically lack the response and detection capabilities to handle threat intelligence and effectively mitigate advanced threats – even before they are initiated. In response, a new breed of Endpoint Response and Detection solutions has grown up to complement endpoint protection solutions. 

Endpoint response and detection solutions use techniques like a behavioral assessment to monitor all endpoints for abnormal activity, quickly detecting attacks and determining where a breach has happened, and help to address the consequences of that breach rapidly. 

Today, new endpoint security tools are being created to offer the best of both worlds by giving an in-depth endpoint defense and security strategy that combines layers of security to create a more comprehensive approach to endpoint security. 

The Main Endpoint Security Threats 

The new generation of integrated and comprehensive endpoint security solutions are extremely smart, offering both reactive elements – like anti-malware- and proactive features – like advanced threat hunting or advanced intruder detection – to address the large scope of endpoint security risks. The main endpoint security threats include: 

Phishing 

Phishing is the process of trying to gain user identity details or network access through deception. Many phishing attacks use email attachments to get people to visit phony websites or launch the software on their gadgets that run in the background. Currently, users are more knowledgeable and aware of phishing emails and a new form of phishing attack known as ‘spear phishing.’ This email usually pretends to come from a credible source. During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of phishing attacks increased. The best approach for endpoint security is to employ advanced threat protection to quarantine and intercept phishing emails before they reach a user. 

Remote Working 

The coronavirus pandemic also witnessed a huge increase in remote working as many companies allowed their staff to work from home. There was a rush to remote and home working in an attempt to keep business operations going while ensuring employees stay healthy and safe. This led to many organizations quickly rolling out remote working solutions, often without properly protecting those technologies. While phishing was a popular method to try to exploit remote workers, hackers also had many other attack avenues to use, like communications routes and mobile gadgets. As remote working becomes a normal part of work that will continue for years to come, any endpoint security plan must include a strategy for a very disperse remote working system. 

Ransomware and Malware 

Malware is a term used to refer to attempts to put malicious code on your network. A number of methods can be employed to identify vulnerabilities that will enable the injection of code. The objective of malware is to delete commercially viable or sensitive information. This is why malware is the first component of most ransomware attacks. Currently, this kind of attack is becoming more and more complex. For instance, file-less malware employs valid programs to attack and leaves no traces of its existence. This is why endpoint security solutions are no longer sufficient, and companies also require endpoint response and detection solutions. 

Industry 4.0 

The Internet of Things is now commonplace for commerce and personal life. It is changing sectors such as logistics and manufacturing by combining IOT gadgets with physical assets to achieve greater control and visibility of operational performance. This is now referred to as Industry 4.0. However, many IoT gadgets were never made with security as a primary consideration. As companies add IoT devices into their networks, they increase the number of security vulnerabilities tenfold. 

Insider Threat 

Studies show that almost 95% of all cybersecurity breaches are a result of human error. Insider threat includes the actions of a contractor or employee inside the company that either maliciously or accidentally causes a breach. It is reported that the cost of insider threats increase by over 30% between 2017 and 2019. Also, endpoint security on its own is insufficient, as these threats are already within the organizational firewall and often have access and privileges to crucial resources. Endpoint response and detection software are needed to allow you to monitor activity and employ methods such as behavioral assessment to identify suspicious or unusual behaviors. 

The Top 5 Benefits of Endpoint Security 

With proper endpoint security, your company can enjoy the following benefits: 

1. Centralized Endpoint Security Management 

The conventional approach to endpoint security and IT security relies greatly on the implementation of siloed point solutions. This had led to the development of a collection of solutions that don’t easily communicate and work in harmony. It leaves huge gaps in your security that are not easy to plug or fix. An advanced endpoint security solution should cover all endpoints – regardless of their location or type – to be easily secured and managed from a single console. This form of security implementation ensures no gaps are left in endpoint security throughout the entire organization. 

2. Simplify Security Management 

By having full visibility and control of all endpoints, you can reduce a lot of the management and administrative overhead. You can eliminate the majority of the auditing tasks and manual management, as well as automate many of the processes involved in retiring, updating, managing, registering, and provisioning all your endpoints. You employ fewer resources by managing the gadgets, so your team can be reassigned to more important duties. 

3. Enhance Business Resilience 

The fact is that almost every company will be breached at one point. When this occurs, endpoint security will have failed. Business continuity and resilience depend on endpoint response and detection. You need to identify where attacks are taking place and how to quickly solve the problem before things get worse. 

Your endpoint security solution should, ideally, link with advanced forensics incident response to remediate and identify any affected information. Furthermore, some endpoint security platforms have integrated data backup and protection solutions that enable information to be recovered rapidly and for the recovery point to be extremely close to the last safe instance. With this, your organization can resume operations quickly, and measures can be put in place to remove or remediate the affected information. 

4. Protect Your Reputation and Revenue 

The Ponemon Institute estimates the average cost of an information breach for most companies to be around $3.9 million. However, this is nothing compared to the damage a data breach can do to your reputation and business. It’s reported that 60% of businesses fail within 6 months of an information breach. Furthermore, estimates put the average share value that is wiped out by an information breach at over 7%. The confidence that a robust endpoint security solution can provide can be measured in both your reputation value and bottom line.



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