What is Endpoint Security & How to Protect Endpoints?
Endpoint security refers to the practice of keeping your endpoints protected from threat actors and cyberattacks. This includes protecting your desktops, servers, laptops, mobile devices, IoT, wearables, PoS, kiosk, etc.. Endpoint security tools on the market have evolved from basic anti-virus capabilities to advanced intelligence capabilities to provide a comprehensive approach to secure the endpoints from attacks such as malware, zero-day attacks, identity theft, ransomware, and phishing attacks. An endpoint protection is the practice of protecting computers which connect remotely to your IT network with essential security measures before cyber attacks takes place. This proactive approach ensures compliance and maintains the security benchmarks instituted for your business. This comprehensive process of securing endpoints is carried out through a platform, which is named as endpoint protection platform. An endpoint protection platform is a unified approach to endpoint security which encapsulates automated threat detection and remediation by patching, regulated access to corporate data, security management for mobile devices, ransomware protection, Endpoint DLP, peripheral device filtering, application control with privilege management, Next-gen Antivirus, and browser security.
Table of contents
What is an endpoint?
Endpoint is a computing device used by your employees that holds corporate data or has access to the internet. A few examples of endpoints are: servers, workstations (desktops & laptops), mobile devices, virtual machines, tablets, IoT, wearables, rugged devices, Point of Sale (PoS) devices, and browsers. Endpoints are considered the weak link in your IT network and threat actors sees them as the most vulnerable component of your IT. Due to this, it is of prime importance to place an endpoint security software in your business to protect and secure your corporate data through endpoints.
What is an endpoint security software?
Endpoint security software is a solution that is engineered to protect your endpoints from known and unknown threats. Endpoint security solutions provide an overarching set of capabilities to monitor and secure endpoints from threats proactively and also to react instantly in the event of a cyber-breach. Endpoint protection software provides a centralized management approach in maintaining your IT network's security levels and remediate attacks. IT admins and security operations team can have this tool accessed anywhere, anytime to keep tabs on their network. An endpoint security platform not only provides a user centric approach to your network, but also has the following benefits.
What are the key benefits of an endpoint security software?
- Endpoint protection platforms enable IT to have a single source of truth, which is then leveraged for immediate actions in real-time.
- Endpoint protection platforms improves your business' overall security posture with access to most security methodologies placed under a single hood.
- Endpoint protection platforms elevate the experience of remote employees with maximum security enforcement in place.
- Endpoint protection platforms automate the whole process of securing endpoints with pre-defined functions which are ready to deploy.
- Endpoint protection platforms provides centralized approach to detect, remediate and report the incidents.
- Endpoint protection platforms allows IT to classify their network into layers and apply security policies based on the business requirements in that layer.
Below are the features that enable IT to reap the above mentioned benefits.
What are the key features of an endpoint security software?
- IT Visibility - Gain actionable insights into managed IT devices, access audit-ready reports including user behavior analysis, and more. Achieve centralized control over your endpoints for seamless and robust security.
- Threat Detection - Apply advanced intelligence capabilities to locate and thwart potential threats or internal network vulnerabilities. Safeguard your network against zero-day threats, security misconfigurations, and high-risk software.
- Patch Management - Risk-based automated patch management to ensure regular patch installations, minimizing potential threats. This includes updating mobile OS, Drivers and BIOS for comprehensive security coverage.
- Endpoint DLP - Enhance corporate data security through sensitive data classification, user behavior analysis while accessing corporate data, false positive remediation, cloud upload protection, email security, clipboard tools and insider threat protection.
- Data Access Management - Supervise access to sensitive data and regulate access using Multi-factor authentication and principle of least privileges (PoLP). Isolate susceptible/vulnerable computers from your network using Network Access Control (NAC).
- Next-Gen Antivirus - Ransomware protection using the patented detection and remediation logic.
- Device Control - Monitor and control the access of 17+ peripheral devices. Authorized and secure file transfer along with control over ports, including USB, Serial, and Parallel ports.
- Application Control - Application filtering with the option for temporary access to specific applications. Additionally, exercise child process control and privilege management.
- Server Protection - Utilize the Endpoint Intelligence rules to monitor your servers for any security misconfigurations and missing patches, and automatically remediate them for enhanced security.
- Mobile Security Management - Enhance security for mobile devices using conditional access to corporate data, remote data protection using lost mode, remote wipe, location tracking, Geo-fencing, data containerization, data encryption and lot more.
- Data Encryption - Encrypt your corporate data residing on endpoints to protect them from falling from malicious hands. Employ BitLocker and FileVault encryption standards to ensure complete protection.
- Browser Protection - Enterprise browser security with features such as URL filtering, browser isolation, Java manager, download restrictions and lot more.
- Virtual Machine' Security - Secure your virtual machines using the same strategy applied for physical machines. This includes automatic threat detection, elimination, and governance of data usage and access within the virtual environment.
Next, let's explore how an endpoint protection platform works to achieve all the above mentioned requirements.
How does endpoint protection work?
Endpoint protection platforms work on a client-server model. The client/agent is installed on endpoints that belongs to an organization, while the server is established within the organization's office. The server setup includes an interactive dashboard, which can be accessed remotely with authorization.
This dashboard allows IT to establish a centralized management of endpoints in their network. IT and security teams can have complete visibility on their network through this dashboard and carry out operations from the same. For example, organizations need regular endpoint updates to prevent vulnerabilities. They also must enforce security policies for corporate data accessed remotely, as relying solely on an SSL VPN may not suffice. In such cases, IT teams can configure and distribute policies from the dashboard.
The agent on each installed endpoint will actively scan the device details and post them to the server setup in your network. IT teams can analyze the data aggregated and compare them with the security rules configured. Endpoints falling under the vulnerable rules can be remediated by deploying available policies or isolated from the network to prevent the transmission of threats. The isolation process can then be followed by remediation.
The benefits of using an endpoint protection platform include the ability to resolve most of the threats an endpoint would be subject to. A consolidated and centralized view of all activities will help IT to maintain a secure environment for their remote workforce. An endpoint security software can take care of the security requirements, however, IT administrators increasingly use a Unified Endpoint Management and Security solution to manage and secure all their endpoints from a single console.
What is the difference between Endpoint security and Network security?
The development of endpoint protection solutions on the market has introduced a common challenge for many IT teams—distinguishing between endpoint security and network security. While endpoint security focuses on identifying and eliminating security threats at the endpoints level, network security focuses on a networking level. Network security ensures the overall security of an IT network. This encompasses the management of network packets, DNS, internet access, and various other networking components.
Is Endpoint Security an antivirus?
While Antivirus helps in eliminating viruses and other malicious software that is already present in the system, an endpoint security software focuses on preventing the infiltration of any malicious code into endpoints. It closely monitors all the loopholes in an endpoint to ensure maximum protection and provides various remediation options when a threat manages to infiltrate an endpoint.
How to choose the right endpoint protection solution?
In addition to the above discussed features and benefits, there are a few more reasons on why to opt for endpoint security software when it comes to building a secure IT.
- Identify your pain-points - IT teams should pinpoint areas that require improvement and associate their current challenges with a tool that closely aligns with their specific needs.
- Comprehensive solution - Every business has their own set of use-cases, on the other hand, any vendor would engineer a tool that address problems commonly available in the market. Hence, IT teams should choose tools that closely align with their specific needs rather than seeking a one-size-fits-all solution. Relying on point products for each use-case can clutter your IT workspace and pose challenges for your endpoints. Therefore, prefer comprehensive solutions to point products.
- Features & Capabilities - While you shortlist tools tailored to your use-case, it is important to know the capabilities offered by the preferred tool before deploying it into your network. This proactive approach ensures the ability to resolve any potential issues that may arise in the future.
- Scalability - Ensure that the preferred tool has the capability to scale when your business expands. With the inclusion of more endpoints, the tool must handle the increasing workload effectively.
- Performance - Test the selected tool before deploying it to your production. This test phase will allow you to asses the potential of the tool preferred and validate it's need more precisely.
- Integration and Co-existence - Now that IT teams work hand-in-hand with adjacent teams and focus on a common goal, ensure that the preferred tool can integrate with the tools used by your adjacent teams. For example, if your endpoint operations tool can integrate with a helpdesk tool, it reduces the conflicts between the two teams by enhancing transparency in workflows. Likewise, explore the scope for your preferred tool to coexist harmoniously with similar tools already present in your network.
- User-experience & Centralized Management - The preferred tool must provide a high-quality user experience for your team and, importantly, provides a centralized picture of your network, even when connected remotely.
How does endpoint security management differ between businesses & consumers?
Endpoint security solutions for consumers cater to the needs of devices at home whereas endpoint security solutions for enterprises cater to the requirements of an organization. The former usually tends to have far fewer features than the latter. Endpoint security for business is a compulsion for all enterprises since all of the sensitive data are stored on endpoints that are prone to cyberattacks.
Endpoints have become an enticing yet vulnerable doorway to threat actors for numerous reasons, underscoring the imperative need to protect them from malicious activities. Securing endpoints in a business environment requires a lot more effort when compared to consumers. While consumers as an individual adhere to best practices and utilize available resources for personal security, businesses face additional challenges. When it comes to business, priorities include remote administration and centralized management as initial measures, followed by ongoing monitoring and remediation. Further, automations plays a pivotal role in business, given the significantly higher volume of data and devices involved. This use-case is applicable to businesses of all sizes, ranging from small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to large-scale enterprises. The adoption of remote workforce has posed a security challenge for SMBs urging them to install endpoint security software, irrespective of the number of managed endpoints.
Endpoint Security Platform by Endpoint Central
Endpoint Central is a Unified Endpoint Management solution from ManageEngine to help address the needs of IT administrators comprehensively. It supports Windows, Mac, Linux, tvOS, Android, iOS and Chrome devices. In any organization, endpoint protection plays a crucial and endpoints pose threats, especially in an organization where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has been implemented. Here are some of the Endpoint Central's features available in the endpoint security platform that admins can use to improve endpoint protection and safeguard their network better:
Endpoint Central aims to bridge the age-old gap between endpoint management and security with its latest Endpoint Security edition/ add-on. This approach focuses on proactively securing aspects of endpoint security that are often overlooked by traditional anti-virus and other perimeter security solutions. Empowered with the Endpoint Security, Endpoint Central is now a complete solution for unified endpoint management and security. This actively covers numerous aspects of endpoint security such as vulnerability management, browser security, device control, application control, ransomware protection, data access management, Endpoint DLP and BitLocker management. For a detailed break-down of the features, refer our Endpoint Security feature page.
- Vulnerability Assessment - Monitor your network for any zero-day threats, security misconfigurations, compliance standards and act proactively to seal the entry point for hackers.
- Application Control - Filter applications as authorized and unauthorized applications, with temporary access, child process control and privilege management.
- Browser Security - Monitor and enforce security measures on the browsers used in your organization with our inclusive set of features for browser security.
- Device Control - Secure endpoints by regulating, and restricting peripheral devices in your organization. Closely monitor the transfer of files through your network.
- Endpoint DLP - Scan and classify the corporate data based on sensitivity. Deploy policies to protect the usage of corporate data through cloud uploads, email exchanges, printers, and other peripheral devices. Stay notified of unapproved data transfers, detailed reports on your enterprise data movement and single-step solutions to remediate false positives.
- BitLocker Management - Enable data storage only in BitLocker encrypted devices in order to protect corporate data from theft. Monitor BitLocker encryption and TPM status in all managed devices.
- Ransomware Protection: Anti-ransomware provides machine learning-based behavior analysis to detect ransomware attacks accurately. Gain complete insights into the root cause of attacks while providing immediate incident response and also prevent similar attacks in the future. One-click rollback of files that were encrypted via patented recovery process. To avail Early Access now, click here!
Don't let your security budget drill a hole in to your pocket. Get endpoint management and the benefit of six security solutions bundled into one at best price possible with Endpoint Central + Endpoint Security edition. The other features in Endpoint Central that helps secure your endpoints are listed below:
- Modern Management for Windows 10, Windows 11 and Mac
- Corporate Wipe - Erase all the corporate data if needed.
- Complete Wipe - Perform complete wipe remotely to erase all the data completely from your device.
- Geo tracking - Know the real-time location of your devices anytime.
- Setting a device on the KIOSK mode - Allow users to use only a certain set of applications in the devices.
- Device enrollment - Devices can enrolled using any modern enrollment technique, such as, email enrollment, self enrollment, etc.
- Risk based patch management
- Automate the distribution of patches to your endpoints.
- Support for 1000+ third party patches.
- Update your BIOS and Drivers with this workflow.
- Baseline configurations & profile management
- This helps you secure your USB devices, block certain websites, configure firewall, execute custom scripts, etc.
- IT Inventory
- Perceive real time insights on your endpoints and protect them from vulnerabilities seamlessly.
- Mobile Device Management
- Features such as Email Management, Content Management, Profile Management, Containerization, etc., are available to manage different devices running on OS platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, etc..
What are the endpoint security best practices?
Endpoint security management is a collection of practices conducted and measures put in place to protect the endpoints in your organization from being breached by an external entity - malicious or others. With a growing number of endpoints in both number and diversity; cyberattacks also pose greater peril than ever before. Thus, Endpoint security management can be a hectic task for administrators. On top of that, IT administrators may have other requirements to be addressed that can take up a considerable chunk of their time. Therefore, it is advisable to:
- Keep your employees educated about the basic IT security drill.
- Perform standard routine checks across the devices in the network.
- Compile details in a single dashboard and turn them into actionable insights.
- Maintain a holistic and centralized view on your IT network.
Below is the checklist that can help administrators to protect their endpoints better from security threats:
What is the checklist for endpoint security?
- It is advisable to enable the basic security perimeters such as configuring firewall settings for your network to filter the network traffic, device authentication, etc..
- Regularly scan the devices in your network for vulnerabilities and update them with the latest patches. This practice will protect the devices from most of the security threats.
- Multi-factor authentication can be implemented to authenticate the users.
- Frequently educating the employees about the security measures effectuated across the organization.
- A strict VPN access policy must be enforced to connect to the organization's network.
- Collect information regularly regarding the IT hardware's warranty expiration date. Scan the systems for the usage of unlicensed software.
- Block the applications that can cause downtime in productivity or/and can cause bandwidth choking. For example: Games, downloading via torrents, etc.
Endpoint security is your frontline defense in these ever-evolving cyber attacks. Upgrade your approach to endpoint protection with Endpoint Central, offering proactive and reactive security measures to your network. It also aids IT teams to build a secure network for their employees.