Endpoint devices are often the first point of entry into a company’s network. A 2020 study by Ponemon discovered that 68% of organizations have experienced an endpoint attack that compromised data. Endpoint security seeks to secure end-user devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices and defend the company’s perimeter against cyber-attacks and data theft.
Endpoint security solutions use a combination of prevention, detection, and response technologies to detect and prevent intrusions, determine the cause of threats and prevent future incidents. Solutions protect devices connected to both the local network and the cloud.
Endpoint protection has become an important part of security solutions as businesses seek to protect a growing number of endpoint devices from sophisticated cyber threats.
Types of Endpoint Security
Several types of endpoint security solutions can be combined to block threats to your network. Here are a few to consider.
1. Endpoint encryption
Endpoint encryption ensures that data being transmitted in and out of the company’s network remains secure. End-to-end encryption encodes and scrambles data making it unreadable without the corresponding decryption key. Intercepted data remains unreadable and unusable.
Endpoint encryption can apply to both incoming and outgoing web traffic. Encryption on outgoing traffic reduces the risk of data leaks and breaches. Encryption acts as a final security measure to protect data even when other security measures fail.
2. Email gateways
Email is the primary form of communication within an organization and the main source of data traffic entering a company’s network. Phishing scams via email are also one of the most common forms of cyber-attack.
Email gateways combine multiple technologies to protect against email threats. They act as a firewall for email communication to enforce the rules that determine what email enters or leaves a business’s network.
Gateways should scan emails for malicious content before they reach the email server. Check for domain validity and scan attachments and URLs for spam, viruses, and malware. Flag suspicious emails and move them to quarantine to ensure that they never reach a user’s device. Administrators can review quarantined emails to release, fix or delete them as necessary.
Email gateways also scan outgoing content to prevent data loss, provide email archiving functionality to store email for compliance, and support business continuity by ensuring that email is still accessible even if the network goes down.
3. IoT protection
It’s estimated that by 2030 the number of active IoT devices will exceed 25.4 billion. The adoption of IoT devices in industries from healthcare to agriculture has been explosive but manufacturers are still playing catch up with device security.
Attacks on IoT devices tripled in the first half of 2019 as hackers recognized them as a new threat landscape. IoT devices do not come with adequate built-in security controls which means, you’ll need to add an extra layer of security.
Implementing an endpoint detection and response system (EDR) on IoT devices increases visibility, closes network security holes, and provides a consistent upgradable layer of security for the devices that can apply updates and security patches.
EDR helps security teams detect, prevent, and respond to threats on endpoint devices with features such as real-time visibility and alerts, automatic incident response, and threat intelligence.
4. Forensic analysis
Forensic analysis tools are used to research identified threats, analyze known issues, diagnose problem origins and search for suspicious threat activity. They work with EDR systems to provide detailed information about an attack including what happened, who was responsible, and the consequences of the attack.
Forensics tools can hunt for threats in a system and give administrators the information they need to respond quickly to isolate infections. Tools can also be used to investigate successful attacks. Data evidence collected and analyzed by forensic analysis tools helps companies better understand past breaches and prevent future incidents.
5. Quarantine protection
It is essential to move quickly to isolate dangerous files on endpoint devices to prevent them from infecting the rest of the IT environment. Quarantine protection observes, analyzes, and records the activity of every file on an endpoint device.
Once a file is flagged as suspicious or determined to be infected, it is moved to a quarantine area away from the rest of the file on the device until the level of risk can be determined. If the files are valuable, the tool will attempt to clean or repair them.
How Endpoint Security Works
Endpoint security focuses on blocking cybersecurity threats that may enter a company’s IT environment through end-user devices. Every file entering the network is compared to an online database of known threats.
Client software is installed on each endpoint device allowing IT administrators to monitor and manage security for each device from a central application. The management software is used to apply device updates and security patches, authenticate login attempts and configure corporate security controls.
Comprehensive endpoint security solutions provide increased visibility into the IT environment and use a variety of response options to protect devices from cybersecurity threats.
Prevention – prevention mechanisms protect the IT environment from internal and external threats. They monitor and filter web traffic, block torrent sites, scan emails for threats and manage device security patches and updates.
Access Levels – solutions assign access levels based on user roles and ensure that employees can only access the data they need to perform daily tasks. Access controls help to pinpoint the responsible party in a security breach. Device-based access levels ensure that only authorized devices can access the network and data.
Device Control – administrators can control which external devices can connect to an endpoint device (e.g. USB, Bluetooth drives, cloud storage). This makes it harder for employees to download sensitive data to the device.
Data Loss Prevention – data loss prevention tools use encryption to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing sensitive data. Data can only be accessed by a decryption key, which is usually in the possession of the system administrator.