As cyberattacks on endpoints are on the rise, entrepreneurs and IT professionals need to have a very clear picture of what endpoints are, what are the risks they involve and how to choose the best endpoint security solutions for the company they represent. We’ll discuss each of these aspects (and more) below. 

Endpoint Security Solutions – Definitions

What is an endpoint? 

The term endpoint stands forany device or system that can connect to an organization’s internal network. […] it includes every mobile device, every remote desktop program, and every IoT device—surveillance cameras, POS terminals, sensors, and even lightbulbs.” 

endpoint security solutions - endpoint examples

Source: Unsplash

What is endpoint security?

Endpoint security or, as you might encounter it, endpoint protection, refers to all the strategies and practices used to prevent malware, viruses, data breaches and all the other cyberattacks that might impact a network’s endpoints.

What is an endpoint security solution?

As you can expect, endpoint security solutions are actually software that protects endpoints from malware and other cyberattacks, by combining scanning with antivirus, threat detection and infiltration prevention. 

Endpoint security includes endpoint protection platforms (EPP) and endpoint detection and remediation software (EDR)

Endpoint Security Solutions – Operating Mode

An endpoint security software aims to protect the data and workflow associated with all the endpoints connected to a network. It achieves this goal by examining the files that enter the network and comparing them against a significant database of threat information

Endpoint security solutions usually include a dashboard from which IT professionals can check and control the activity of all the connected devices. This way, malware, as well as other security threats can be quickly detected.

Endpoint Security Solutions – Endpoint Security Threats 

Speaking of other security threats, here are the most common risks that endpoints face: 

Phishing 

Phishing represents 

a malicious technique used by cybercriminals to gather sensitive information (credit card data, usernames and passwords, etc.) from users. The attackers pretend to be a trustworthy entity to bait the victims into trusting them and revealing their confidential data. The data gathered through phishing can be used for financial theft, identity theft, to gain unauthorized access to the victim’s accounts or to accounts they have access to, to blackmail the victim and more.

Phishing attacks may damage both the people whose data gets leaked and the reputation of the affected company. As INFOSEC mentions, “Customers tend to avoid products or services that seem incapable of handling their sensitive information, especially when it is publicly displayed when it isn’t supposed to. The loss of data and information and public reputation is a risk companies cannot afford to suffer”. 

Malware / Ransomware

Malware stands for “malicious software” and 

[…] works as an umbrella term that refers to software that is defined by malicious intent. This type of ill-intentioned software can disrupt normal computer operations, harvest confidential information, obtain unauthorized access to computer systems, display unwanted advertising and more.

Ransomware is a particularly dangerous type of malware 

which encrypts all the data on a PC or mobile device, blocking the data owner’s access to it. After the infection happens, the victim receives a message that tells him/her that a certain amount of money must be paid (usually in Bitcoins) in order to get the decryption key. Usually, there is also a time limit for the ransom to be paid. There is no guarantee that, if the victim pays the ransom, he/she will get the decryption key. 

endpoint security solutions - ransomware concept image

Source: Unsplash

As my colleague Bianca showed, the statistics for ransomware (from only last year) are very concerning: 

51% of businesses were targeted by ransomware (source).

There was a 40% surge in global ransomware, reaching 199.7 million hits (source).

By the end of 2020, ransomware costs are projected to reach $20 billion for all businesses (source).

The average ransomware payment demand was $233,817 in Q3 2020 (source).

1 in 5 SMBs and 4 in 5 MSPs were targeted by ransomware attacks (source).

Out of date software / Unpatched vulnerabilities

If you don’t have an automated solution for patch management, vulnerabilities can be left unpatched for long periods of time – and enough for hackers to try to find their way into their network. According to various studies, more than 50% of data breaches happen due to code/program vulnerabilities that are not fixed – in good time. 

BYOD 

As I have mentioned in my whitepaper Mobile Device Security for Companies with BYOD Policy, BYOD refers to the trend of employees using their personal devices to connect to their companies’ networks and accomplish their daily endeavours. The most common risks of BYOD are cross-contamination of data, insecure use and device infection, poor security policies. 

endpoint security solutions - byod

Source: Unsplash

Plus, as Security Boulevard notes, “right now, with up to 44% of employees working from home because of the pandemic and a 21% increase in IoT endpoints over last year, a lapse in endpoint security could represent a serious threat to business continuity. No business can afford to ignore or downplay that risk.” 

Endpoint Security Solutions – Selection Criteria

As we have seen, the risks that endpoints face are serious and various and they are not going to disappear any time soon. Consequently, it is of paramount importance to make sure that your company’s endpoints are protected – but how can you choose the best endpoint security software? 

Let’s have a look at what all good endpoint security solutions should contain:

  • A machine learning component for detecting threats almost in real-time.
  • An integrated, powerful firewall.
  • Threat forensics.
  • Advanced anti-malware and antivirus protection. 
  • Proactive protection.
  • Continuous monitoring of all files.
  • Record history of file activity.

Although you can always go for a free endpoint security software, you should consider the paid options too since they offer, in general, significant advantages like extended features, better protection against more advanced threats, customization, better control over your data, a support team ready to help you whenever you need. 

Our Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Software, for example, combines EPP with EDR to help you prevent the unknown and catch the known. If you choose our E-PDR solution, your endpoints will be secured with DNS traffic filtering, smart threat hunting powered by machine learning behavioural detection, automated software patching, vulnerability management, and software inventory, next-gen Antivirus with a market-leading detection rate and our Access Management module for increased endpoint security and admin rights management.

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Endpoint Security Solutions – Other Prevention Methods

Apart from endpoint security solutions, there are also some other preventative measures you can adopt to ensure the security of your endpoints. Here are a few examples:

  • Don’t forget about IoT devices like cameras, security systems or biometric scanning devices and so on. These should be protected too – and you should even consider placing IoT devices on a separate network, with strict access policies. 
  • Improve your incident response. An incident response plan is a “documented, written plan with 6 distinct phases that help IT professionals and staff recognize and deal with a cybersecurity incident like a data breach or cyber attack.”  The six phases of an incident response plan include preparation, identification, containment, eradication, recovery, lessons learned. 
  • Beware of permissions. Try to limit the access you give to applications and cloud services. Limit the possible damage of a cyberattack by only granting the permissions that are strictly required for the application to function. 
  • Beware of supply chain partners. The same advice applies to supply chain partners too – always try to limit their access to the bare minimum they need to perform their endeavours. 

Endpoint Security Solutions – Wrapping Up

Endpoint security might face organized attackers and sometimes a disorganized response, but this doesn’t mean you cannot get informed and strengthen your protection with strategic measures and solutions. 

However you choose to proceed, please remember that Heimdal™ Security always has your back and that our team is here to help you protect your home and your company and to create a cybersecurity culture to the benefit of anyone who wants to learn more about it. 

Drop a line below if you have any comments, questions or suggestions regarding the topic of endpoint security solutions  – we are all ears and can’t wait to hear your opinion!

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