Once upon a time, cybersecurity—especially endpoint security—was incredibly simple. Some readers can probably recite the steps from memory:
- Download an antivirus software on your enterprise computers.
- Run a check if you suspect a problem.
- Click “Clean” or “remove Malware.”
- Rinse and repeat.
In the burgeoning digital marketplace, such ease offered relief to businesses of all sizes. However, those days are long gone.
Instead, cybersecurity and endpoint security can appear incredibly confusing and complex from the outside. Indeed, even the term “endpoint security” can throw some decision-makers for a loop.
To help you sort through these problems, we present our enterprise endpoint security FAQ. Don’t forget, you can also learn more about endpoint security in our 2019 Buyer’s Guide.
The Enterprise Endpoint Security FAQ
Why do I need endpoint security? Isn’t it irrelevant now with the ascension of identity in cybersecurity?
Of course, we can’t accurately begin our endpoint security FAQ without addressing this query.
Many cybersecurity experts now claim identity forms the enterprise digital perimeter. After all, most threats attack enterprises via identity and login. Additionally, the login portal represents one of the most porous attack vectors in your enterprise network.
However, endpoint security still represents a critical component for your enterprise’s overall cybersecurity. Plenty of serious threats don’t rely on identity to disrupt your business processes or damage your network. Rather, some can take advantage of application’s ability to move through the network. Others obscure their attacks in data traffic moving in and out of your infrastructure.
So what should my business worry about in the realm of endpoint security?
Unfortunately, the answer here is “quite a lot.” Modern cybersecurity proves a fraught field and your enterprise remains caught in the crossfire.
First, you face the common problem in cybersecurity: visibility. Remember, every single endpoint connecting to your network represents a potential attack vector. These include devices typically not considered in your endpoint security, such as remote or mobile devices. If your solution can’t provide visibility on all of your endpoints, hackers have a doorway into your network.
However, that’s a general issue. For this endpoint security FAQ, we should get more specific. Some of the key endpoint security threats facing your enterprise include:
Ransomware, a malware species undergoing a surge in recent months. Ransomware disrupts business processes and potentially destroys your progress by taking files, endpoints, or networks hostage. Usually, hackers only release the stolen digital assets when the victim pays them. More often than not, the hackers put the victims on a time limit before destroying the files.
Cryptocurrency Mining Malware, which illicitly mines (processes and calculates) cryptocurrency for a reward. This threat proves more insidious than ransomware but no less damaging. It exploits the processing power and electrical power of an enterprise endpoint, causing massive slowdowns and long term resource drains.
Fileless Malware, the most recent malware species to wreak havoc on businesses. Unlike its brethren, fileless malware doesn’t download a file to enact its programs. Instead, it exploits native processes to run its malicious code. As such, fileless malware is far more difficult to detect, especially by legacy endpoint security solutions.
Obviously, other types of malware exist such as Trojans, spyware, adware, and more. However, the above three represent the most pressing dangers for enterprises in particular.
So what do I need for my endpoint security? What capabilities matter most?
This question forms the heart of this endpoint security FAQ. Of course, your enterprise might need different capabilities depending on your size, industry, and infrastructure.
Some assume antivirus software still forms the core of enterprise endpoint security. That isn’t exactly wrong. Unfortunately, that also isn’t quite right.
While you do need antivirus to detect threats and remove them, antivirus only serves one aspect of endpoint security. Relying on it too heavily can limit your overall cybersecurity effectiveness.
For example, what if an application covertly reinstalls itself after you decide to delete it? That’s a serious issue, potentially allowing hackers into your network…and antivirus can’t help you there.
Further, endpoint security also needs to monitor the flow of data into and out of your enterprise. Intruders follow the data traffic, and often try to smuggle data out through those same data flows. So you need port control and application control as well as antivirus.
However, that still only scratches the surface. Many threats find a way past your initial defenses and can dwell for months without your team’s awareness. Enter EDR. It monitors for threats within the network and alerts your team if it discovers a security event.
Finally, you need some protections on the data itself, usually in the form of data loss prevention.
Is my legacy endpoint protection platform going to cut it?
Often, legacy solutions only offer familiarity; your enterprise becomes used to their interfaces and their interactions with your business processes. Additionally, legacy solutions rarely require much from their enterprises, in terms of resources or time. However, all this lulls your enterprise into a false sense of security.
As one of example of how they disappoint, legacy solutions don’t receive the threat intelligence necessary to recognize modern digital threats. Moreover, even if they can recognize them, they don’t have the capabilities to detect, mitigate, or remove them.
If your enterprise takes nothing else away from this endpoint security FAQ, let it be this: cybersecurity requires effort. Your cybersecurity vocabulary should never include the phrase “set-it-and-forget-it.” You need to invest time, expertise, and resources to making sure your cybersecurity performs optimally. That includes endpoint security too.
Can I use endpoint security alone?
No. Cybersecurity works best when it integrates all of the three major branches: endpoint security, SIEM, and identity management. This integration ensures a well rounded platform which covers all of your bases, so to speak.
Won’t hackers just chip their way through my endpoint security? Why should I bother?
Unfortunately, no cybersecurity platform or digital perimeter proves 100% effective in deflecting digital threats. Eventually, a hacker can get through your defenses. Yet assuming the worst automatically and not making an effort is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
First, endpoint security does have contingencies in place to deal with this eventuality, such as EDR. Additionally, your enterprise should have its own contingencies in place in the form of an effective (and practiced!) incident response plan.
Yet all of this somewhat neglects a plain strength of endpoint security solutions: it can deter.
Most hackers are not criminal masterminds. In fact, the vast majority can only do their malicious actions thanks to products purchased from the Dark Web. Few possess the know-how and the energy to break through a sophisticated digital perimeter. Instead, they’ll target the low-hanging fruit of weaker perimeters.
So don’t be have the weaker perimeter.
That concludes this endpoint security FAQ. To learn more, check out our 2019 Buyer’s Guide!
- Endpoint Security Providers: Best of 2023 and Beyond - October 31, 2022
- Best Books for Defending the Digital Perimeter - September 14, 2021
- Apple Vulnerability Places All of Apple iOS at Risk - September 14, 2021