How is Endpoint Security defined?
Endpoint Security is defined as “the practice of securing corporate networks that are accessible via endpoints or entry points of end-user devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices and are susceptible to being exploited by malicious actors and malicious campaigns.”
By default, based on the number of connected endpoints in a corporate network, they are the network’s weakest technology link. Assuring sophisticated, robust endpoint security is critical for the organization’s and network’s overall protection against a successful cyber-attack.
There are numerous motives for attacks, including demanding a ransom for financial gain, inciting political conflict, and stealing intellectual property. While understanding malicious actors’ motivations is pointless, it is not pointless to recognize that they are determined to gain access and will thus target endpoints with sophisticated attacks and novel malware.
Endpoint Security Challenges
As businesses grow in size, the number of active endpoint devices increases, increasing the risk of cyber-breaches. Each device connected to the network erodes the network’s overall security. Not to be overlooked in light of the technical challenges inherent in security is the increase in organizational costs associated with protecting an expanding endpoint environment.
With the current challenges that organizations face with regards to remote workers and the vulnerability of remote endpoints connected to the network, a greater emphasis on endpoint security is becoming apparent. These remote endpoints connect from outside the corporate firewall’s traditional perimeter, negating some of the benefits of monitoring incoming and outgoing connections.
While many organizations use virtual private networks (‘VPNs’) to ensure network security, and while they do provide some protection, it can be challenging to ensure that remote endpoints are configured properly to use the VPN tunnel.
If one of the remote devices becomes rogue and leaves the VPN’s protection, it enters a quarantine perimeter with limited and unprotected internet access, making it more vulnerable to attack.
Why Is Endpoint Security Critical?
Data is an organization’s most valuable asset, and its protection is critical. Data protection is synonymous with ensuring the safety of an organization’s employees. Consider the situation where data is breached by an unauthorized party; they seek access to the data in order to manipulate and use it maliciously.
There are numerous examples of why endpoint security is critical, but most importantly, endpoints must be secured because they are the weak link in networks. Successful breaches and data exfiltration can result in significant financial losses and reputational damage for organizations.
IDC data, as well as that of other organizations, demonstrates the critical nature of endpoint security. With the majority of attacks beginning at endpoint devices, endpoints without sophisticated endpoint security are easy prey.
It is completely unnecessary to describe the damage that such an attack can cause an organization, as you are already aware of the consequences, not the least of which is unauthorized access to your networks.
The average cost of a breach caused by an endpoint attack exceeds 9 million USD, more than double the average cost of a general data breach.
To effectively mitigate the cost of a breach, an organization’s endpoint security solutions must be effective. Endpoint Security Solutions must be sophisticated in design and fully capable of detecting and blocking advanced and novel malware as well as exploits in order to be effective. Along with effective protection, Endpoint Security Solutions must offer administrators a comprehensive response capability.
Competent endpoint response is only possible with an advanced endpoint security solution that includes the industry’s most comprehensive EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) technology. The value and necessity of EDR is its ability to prevent an attack from propagating through a compromised endpoint and into the network, as well as to provide automated response actions. EDR tools isolate and mitigate threats at the point of breach, the endpoint, and enable isolation of the endpoint from the larger network.
Where should I go from here?
Cyber-attacks will continue to grow in both volume and sophistication. Malicious actors will continue to develop their capabilities, which will result in the advancement of their attack methods and tools. It is past time for us to think outside the box and consider the entire picture of endpoint protection. We must strengthen our security position through the enhancement of our security solutions. Endpoint Security Solutions must be equipped with all available tools for detecting and blocking malware, including signature analysis, machine learning, and behavioral analysis. Additionally, the solution must be capable of detecting exploits. Finally, the solution must be capable of providing comprehensive EDR capabilities.