Traditional anti-virus software is no match for modern-day malware. Businesses that haven’t levelled up are leaving themselves open to cyber-attacks and data breaches.
Here’s the thing: Malware has evolved to take advantage of vulnerabilities created by the digitisation of today’s workplaces. But endpoint security, used as part of a broader cybersecurity system, can protect against zero-day threats and sophisticated malware. So what is endpoint security and why is now the time to learn?
What is endpoint security in cyber security?
Endpoint security AKA endpoint protection is all about securing the “endpoints” or entry points of end-user devices connected to a business network. These devices could be anything from mobile phones to laptops and desktops, but our tech-driven world means there’s way more these days.
Without proper protection, criminals can exploit these entry points and gain access to your organisation’s network. Sounds worrying, and it is. That’s why most businesses make endpoint security their first line of defence.
But, you might ask, isn’t anti-virus software enough? Not anymore. Traditional anti-virus systems just protect a single endpoint. Endpoint security software focuses on the network as a whole, including all connected endpoints. (Which there could be lots of - but we’ll get to that soon.)
Why has endpoint security become even more important lately?
Small startups and large organisations, this is for you. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can become the target of a cyberattack, and the landscape is getting riskier.
We hate to bring it up, but COVID-19 triggered a spike in remote working and BYOD (bring your own device). This meant more employees could now connect to business networks from home, on the train, or pretty much anywhere they want. Great for flexibility and pretending to work when you’re actually watching TV, but not so great for cybersecurity. The change means enterprises are dealing with more endpoints than ever, and therefore, more potential entry points for attacks.
Securing these entry points is critical. An estimated 70% of successful data breaches take place on endpoint devices. And today, there are more endpoints and more types of endpoints than ever, bubbling up a scary stew of vulnerabilities.
The cybercriminals themselves are getting smarter, too. Creative hackers are finding new ways to access systems, steal data and trick employees into sharing stuff they shouldn’t. The growth in the volume and sophistication of cybersecurity threats demand more advanced solutions. After all, data has been awarded the title of “world’s most valuable resource”, and lost or corrupted data could put your entire business at risk.
That’s the end of our horror story. You can stop hiding behind the cushion now.
How it works: The bits you need to know
We always try to avoid overloading you with unnecessary technical terms, so we’ll try to reign ourselves in here.
Put simply, endpoint systems detect and block attacks that take place on devices attached to your business network. They work quickly to limit the damage and are most effective when used in collaboration with other security technologies.
Here’s what goes on under the hood:
- Endpoint protection platforms (EPP) check files, processes and systems as they enter the network.
- A centralised console is installed on a network gateway or server. This is used to remotely control the security of each device, and can be done using an on-location, cloud or hybrid method.
- Each endpoint is set up with client software. The software can send updates to each endpoint, authenticate log-in attempts, and generally keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
- If applications appear unsafe or are attempting to gain unauthorised access, they get blocked and flagged to the software.
A method involving a locally-hosted data centre that lives on the premise. On-location security is a legacy model that’s slowly being phased out; you won’t find us recommending this method to our customers (except in very rare circumstances.)
The issue here is that administrators can only manage endpoints within their perimeter. This creates security siloes and there’s a risk that some threats could be missed.
Every IT team’s favourite toy - for good reason. Endpoint security delivered through the cloud uses a centralised management console that remotely connects devices. It’s great for speed and scalability.
As you’ve probably guessed, this is a mix of on-location and cloud solutions. We’ve noticed a hybrid approach becoming more popular since the pandemic. Many organisations choose to plug the gaps in their legacy architecture with some cloud capabilities.
What’s classed as an “endpoint”?
What is endpoint security actually protecting? An “endpoint” is classed as any device connected to an organisation’s network.
BYOD and IoT (Internet of Things) have increased the number of endpoints that can join a network. Today, the number of devices involved can reach hundreds of thousands. Possible endpoints could include:
- Mobile phones
- ATM machines
- POS devices
- Medical devices
- Smart car systems
- Voice-controlled digital assistants
Advanced endpoint security solutions, from us to you
This is the part where you do something about your endpoint security. Don’t stress - we’ve made it really, really easy.
The Virtual IT Department provides end-to-end endpoint security solutions that include ongoing endpoint management. It’s all part of our managed security services and is an incredible frontline defence, especially for businesses just dipping their toes into outsourced cybersecurity.
We bring together AI with human smarts and endpoint detection and response (EDR), offering the whole thing to our clients as one essential product.