Security is a significant cornerstone of any business.
Your outlook on security reflects your gratitude toward customers who share their confidential information with you. You need to keep their data secure to earn their trust and ensure that unauthorized entities can’t access it. To do it right, you need an approach that keeps all of your devices, servers, and networks secure as they’re the primary entry points for cybercriminals.
Endpoint security is one such approach that can empower your business to provide a safe and secure environment for employees, customers, and organizational data.
What is endpoint security?
Endpoint security is an approach to secure computer networks and all client devices remotely bridged to the network. Endpoints are devices such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, etc., that are connected across networks. These devices serve as entry points for cybercriminals looking to gain unauthorized access to sensitive assets and information.
For companies adoptingcloud storageand SaaS, remote connectivity is paramount as it helps employees work remotely and access company information. A cyber attack on these services puts the organization's data at risk. Endpoint security protects these devices and services with security features that include a combination of encryption, application control, and other capabilities to stop malicious hackers from accessing client servers.
Encryption ensures end-to-end confidentiality by preventing the exchange of data with third parties. In comparison, application control debars the execution of unwanted scripts from other applications.
But before we dive deeper into endpoint security, we need to understand exactly what an endpoint is.
What are endpoints?
An endpoint is a spot where two devices interact in a network. It includes a wide array of devices that employ remote connectivity. Some examples of endpoints that require security are:
Why is endpoint security important?
Modern-day devices are connected to servers remotely, where they utilize the cloud’s information-sharing capabilities. This trend is gaining tremendous popularity with the surge in remote work. There are more devices connected across networks than there were a decade ago.
These devices serve as an entry point for malicious hackers who may access sensitive information, steal an organization's assets, or run malicious programs to control your systems.
Endpoint security helps you protect your assets from hackers in the following ways:
It monitors an application's activity for any threats. It’s connected to the cloud, where its directories update dynamically to save your assets from multivector threats and zero-day attacks.
It secures sensitive data exchanged between partners and vendors while maintaining confidentiality.
It prevents third-party applications from establishing a connection with your devices and includes various security procedures to ensure comprehensive security.
It protects individual devices and enterprise networks from threats and allows better flexibility and functionality in the company.
How does endpoint security work?
Organizations implement endpoint security through a range of advanced tools that have capabilities similar to cloud,machine learning, VPN, encryption, and application control.
These tools are up-to-date with the dynamically evolving threat landscape and help companies stay protected from malware, zero-day vulnerabilities, and other cybersecurity risks. The primary objective of endpoint security is to monitor and secure every endpoint. An endpoint security software solution helps achieve this objective by providing a centralized management console installed on a network or server.
With a centralized system, you can detect, monitor and ensure the security of all endpoints. The software offers a wide range of features like endpoint detection, firewall, two-factor authentication, location or time-based authentication, real-time monitoring, and behavioral analysis to detect advanced threats and deal with them.
Capabilities of endpoint protection platforms
Endpoint security offers diverse and dynamic protection that can neutralize threats proactively and predictively. The software solutions are precisely optimized to suit device requirements and ensure maximum safety.
The Internet of Things (IoT) helps in collecting and controlling devices remotely. The devices form crucial infrastructure elements, and if their processes are altered, they can impact an organization’s cybersecurity efforts. Endpoint security solutions closely monitor these devices and their responses and alert the system if it detects any unusual activity.
Anti-malware or antivirus software typically scans files for patterns and signatures resembling malware. Endpoint security suites possess such capabilities and look for threats across the network, encompassing all end-user devices and client servers.
Traditional antivirus protection is adequate for known threats and has a limited database. On the other hand, an endpoint security system works on a cloud server that updates dynamically, preventing zero-day attacks and fileless malware. It continuously monitors application behavior and blocks applications with unusual activity.
When a threat is detected, endpoint security systems provide the admin with remote access, and they can resolve the issue immediately.
Threat detection and response
Endpoint security suites leverage cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to consistently update their databases. They monitor applications and networks to collect data processed through artificial intelligence and provide feedback on it.
Since all devices and networks are monitored continuously, endpoint security helps detect threats early and gather threat intelligence, minimizing damage to company assets.
URL filteringenables continuous monitoring of websites accessed on user devices and data downloaded. Endpoint security suites allow only the trusted websites to open while blocking suspicious websites and downloads.
It helps organizations implement their security policies and control them remotely.
Endpoint security solutions monitor an application’s activity on user devices. It blocks third-party users from accessing the company application.
It also prevents data from being physically transferred over USB or other devices. The endpoints are constantly monitored to check for any unwanted element’s entry.
Network access control
This area primarily deals with the security of networks or pathways in a system. The security is based on the authentication of users complying with company policies where network access control limits the functions and access to data.
It helps organizations monitor the data activity and flow and protects against fileless malware.
Browsers pose diversified challenges in terms of unauthorized downloads, zero-day attacks, ransomware, and malicious scripts that hackers can use to access company servers.
Endpoint security utilizes the functions of a VPN network to create an isolated local environment safe for browsing. If an external element tries to sabotage the system, it’s redirected to a void local network. Moreover, all browsing data is erased at the end of a session.
Cloud perimeter security
Today, a system is no longer limited to an end-user device but has extended to the cloud. Any security weakness here can sabotage a company’s sensitive information and assets.
Endpoint security suites secure the individual user devices and account for all elements associated with the cloud to avoid security breaches.
End-to-end encryption ensures data security when the data is in transmission. Endpoint security solutions help implement encryption to ensure that unauthorized entities can’t access data and that the shared information is secure.
Organizations benefit from encryption as there’s no need for physical data transfer, and they’re assured that encrypted data is safe from cybercriminals.
Secure email gateways
Hackers are phishing for information using emails that serve as the carriers of malicious scripts and programs. These programs or codes are generally embedded within attachments, which can endanger your system or network when executed.
Endpoint security solutions continuously check mails for suspicious elements and block them from being opened and delivered.
Sandboxis a virtual environment similar to the original user interface that identifies people’s intent with the interface. If a malicious hacker is trying to access the interface, endpoint security solutions redirect the hacker from the original application to the sandbox environment.
It serves as a safe space in times of zero-day threats and attacks. The original system remains secure and malicious codes are redirected to sandbox for cybersecurity people to analyze and work on.
Difference between personal and enterprise endpoint security
Users are individual people who mostly use devices like smartphones, desktops, or laptops connected to the cloud. Enterprises form a large web of endpoint devices used by employees and customers connected to many servers and offering various services.
Managing security in a company presents far more challenges than managing security in user devices. Endpoint security differs for users and enterprises in the following fields.
For consumers, the number of endpoints is limited to a few devices like mobiles, desktops, and laptops. The network is more complicated for enterprises with multiple devices that integrate employees, customers, and various services.
Security in an enterprise isn’t dependent on ensuring a few devices’ safety but the entire network’s, restricting any vulnerabilities that may serve as access points for hackers. Unified endpoint management (UEM) integrates all the different elements into a single platform, ensuring all devices’ security.
Remote management and security
For individual users, the devices work independently, and the endpoints are limited. Whereas in an enterprise, all services and devices are interlinked and interdependent. Endpoint security in an enterprise encompasses all these devices and keeps them secure because an impact on one device can reflect on many others. For single-user devices, individual applications regularly update their security products in the background to keep new malware signatures and vulnerabilities in check.
In an enterprise, the number of devices and complexity of networks makes it tiresome to update every application individually. Moreover, if a device is unable to update, it poses a security threat to the entire organization.
Endpoint security solutions connect all devices and manage them on a centralized system with a cloud-based platform. Thus, only the endpoint security cloud needs to be updated, and security at all endpoints is updated automatically, clearing the hassle of updating each device’s security separately.
Permissions refer to the control that users have over an application. Administrators have complete authority to install or update applications.
In a corporate environment, administrative rights are reserved for a handful of people. In contrast, every individual user is provided with administrative rights in a single-user space. Endpoint protection solutions monitor an application’s activity through behavior hysterics and block any suspicious application from running or downloading.
For a single user, there's hardly any need to track activity. But as an organization, you need to keep a watchful eye on your employees’ activity to prevent them from physically transferring company assets and data.
This is determined by monitoring the application for unusual activity and redirecting the users to a sandbox environment if suspicious, preventing further damage.
Benefits of endpoint security
The benefits of endpoint security systems are as follows:
Unified platform: Instead of installing individual security solutions on all devices, endpoint security serves as a single security system connected to all devices and servers, being dynamically updated to counter zero-day and multivector threats.
Increased visibility: Endpoint security is a security system for individual devices, and all networks and data flows between them. Applications are continuously monitored, providing you visibility across networks.
Dynamic updating: Endpoint security systems leverage the cloud’s power to ensure security across all devices. Any update in the cloud reflects in all devices and networks associated with it.
Virtual safe environment: A local user interface is created resembling the original applications, but it’s null and void. This place is a sandbox that redirects any threats in case of security breaches. It secures the company servers and devices, and hackers can’t cause any harm here.
Data loss prevention: A database is the most valuable asset to a company. Its compromise means severe damage to a company’s reputation and business. Endpoint security provides end-to-end data encryption, thereby keeping it secure and safe from theft.
Reduction in security costs: Having a centralized security system saves hiring an IT security team and developing an individual security system for different devices.
Better UX experience: Too many security procedures can be inconvenient to customers. Endpoint security monitors applications and user behavior where users go through fewer security processes, enabling a smooth and better user experience.
Keep your endpoints secure
Implement an endpoint security system in your organization to ensure that all your devices are protected against unauthorized access. It’ll help safeguard your company’s and customer’s data and maintain your reputation in the industry.
Want to take your device's security one-step ahead? Learn how you can secure user accounts with two-step authentication.
Keep your IT assets safe
Use endpoint security software to protect your devices and networks from malicious hackers.
Sagar Joshi is a content marketing specialist at G2 in India. He is a firm believer in the potential of content and its role in helping people. Topics related to security and technology pique his interest and motivates him to write about them. In his free time, you can find him reading books, learning a new language, or playing pool.
Keep your IT assets safe
Use endpoint security software to protect your devices and networks from malicious hackers.