Medieval lords designed their castles to withstand siege warfare, which dominated military strategy for centuries. The high, strong walls kept the occupants safe and kept the attackers out. With enough supplies, castles could hold out against besieging armies for months or years.
However, as military strategies changed with the adoption of gunpowder, the defense strategies changed as well. While strong walls remain an essential part of any defense strategy, a more adaptable and capable security force armed with the right threat intelligence and tools became equally, if not more, important.
This historic example illustrates the current state of endpoint security and cybersecurity overall.
Imagine your enterprise’s network as a fortress or a castle. Endpoint security functions as both your walls and the watchers on the walls; your SIEM defends the keep’s interior and Identity Management watches the gates into the fortress and looks for imposters.
Threat intelligence, threat detection and remediation, and privileged identity management now take precedence in the modern cybersecurity paradigm. No digital perimeter can defend against 100% of all cyber attacks. However, much as modern fortresses still rely on walls as an initial defense, so does your network rely on endpoint security.
Therefore, your enterprise needs to reduce its endpoint security risk to best optimize your solution as a deterrent and safety mechanism.
Here are our recommendations for reducing your endpoint security risk:
Improve Your Endpoint Visibility
Understanding the size and scope of your enterprise’s network fortress must be the first step in your endpoint security risk assessment. How many devices currently connect your network? Who owns those devices? Does your endpoint protection platform register all of these devices?
These questions become more complicated when you introduce bring-your-own-devices culture and Internet of Things (IoT) into the equation—both of which can be exploited by hackers to sneak into the network proper.
Centralizing your endpoint management can reduce your endpoint security risk by increasing your visibility; as the old adage goes, you cannot secure what you cannot see. Additionally, automating your endpoint management from a central location can help you regulate, expose, and potentially remove rogue devices.
Having a comprehensive and accurate picture of all the endpoints on your network is the first step to reducing your endpoint security risk.
Employee Training and Human Error
Whenever you consider your enterprise’s endpoint security risk the specter of negligence, ignorance, or simple business process errors should haunt you.
While your employees remain your largest attack vector no matter how large or small your business, your entire user base can contribute to your endpoint security risk. This includes contractors, vendors, and other third-parties. Any human can make a critical mistake, or decide in the moment to prioritize efficiency over security.
Obviously, encouraging cybersecurity best practices, training your employees, and mandating secure business processes with your third-parties will help alleviate this issue somewhat. However, the other half of the equation is enforcing these practices.
Your IT security team needs the authority to clamp down on password sharing (an IAM concern which can adversely affect your digital perimeter), bypassing security protocols or processes, and ignoring best practices in favor of efficiency. You need to communicate to your employees and user base you are serious about reducing your endpoint security risk. If there are consequences for failing to comply, users are more likely to pay attention.
Patch, Patch, Patch
We’ll be the first to admit it: firmware and software updates annoy even in the best of times. They’re lengthy. They can disrupt business processes before and after the update. In some cases, they can cause interface or storage issues for some time afterward.
However, your enterprise needs to patch all of its devices as soon as possible to reduce its enterprise security risk.
Patching your endpoint protection platform when they become available should be your first priority; only by doing so can the solution remain current with threat intelligence and remediation techniques. But firmware and software updates also contain vital security changes which can secure your daily business processes.
Whether or not this is an issue you’d like employees to handle individually or something that must be coordinated by the IT security team, you need to have a coordinated plan for patching your devices.
Having a network with up-to-date firmware and solutions will act as a significant deterrent to hackers and will reduce your overall endpoint security risk. Think of it as fortifying the walls after another siege barrage: tedious, but necessary for survival.
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