Companies are seeing a rapid increase of remote working devices connected to their enterprise network, making the benefits of endpoint protection a must rather than a nice-to-have.

More laptops, mobile phones, and tablets are getting connected than ever before. In addition, ‘smart factories’ and ‘smart cities’ are bringing even more devices online, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices. 

What’s more, not all these devices are company-issued. Personal devices are also connected in the guise of BYOD, creating a considerable challenge for Information Technology (IT) security teams.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 70% of all successful data breaches begin at an endpoint. The endpoints, or outer perimeters of an organisation’s network, have increased over the last several years as the mobile workforce has grown. 

Providing security for these endpoints has become a challenge because these ever-expanding networks require increased security monitoring and updates.

Two leading endpoint security technology categories are Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). Although there are differences between EPP and EDR, this article will bundle both terms under the umbrella of Endpoint Protection.

What Is EPP?

What Is EPP?

EPP is an integrated security solution that detects and blocks threats at the endpoint device level. Endpoint protection is a critical security element for all endpoints, including computers, laptops, smartphones, and IoT & IIoT devices. 

EPP is an integrated solution that combines antivirus, anti-malware, personal firewalls, VPN data encryption, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Combining these technologies is far more effective than using siloed security products that can’t communicate with one another. Endpoint protection is a significant facet of security for endpoint devices like printers and smartphones. 

As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated, IT teams face constant challenges when protecting data and systems from attack. Endpoints are often the entry point through which hackers gain access, making endpoint breaches a focal concern for IT teams.

EPP vs EDR

EPP vs EDR

EPP vs EDR; these technologies are often bundled together as one system; however, there are differences between them. EPP solutions identify signatures and other attributes that notify IT security of a threat, whereas EDR adds an extra layer by employing threat hunting tools that detect behaviour-based endpoint threats. 

As an enhancement to endpoint security, EDR integrates continuous real-time monitoring with endpoint data collection, rules-based automated response, and analysis functions. 

EDR detects suspicious activities and investigates them on both hosts and endpoints. It utilises sophisticated automation to enable security teams to identify and respond to threats. EPP and EDR depend on the other’s functionality. Combined, they create a holistic, comprehensive endpoint security solution. 

8 Benefits of Endpoint Protection

8 Benefits of Endpoint Protection

Coming up are eight essential benefits of endpoint protection that every business owner should consider.

1. Spyware, Malware, and Ransomware Protection

Malware and ransomware, in particular, are the leading agents of security breaches, costing companies millions of dollars in lost revenue. A ransomware attack leads to compromised data, arrested business processes, and permanent damage to the company’s reputation.

An EPP solution should contain the latest malware and ransomware protection, which includes the ability to roll back changes made by malicious software, placing the endpoint back to its pre-infection state. 

Another advanced threat protection feature is cloud sandbox integration. The sandbox analyses suspicious files downloaded from endpoints, thus gathering emerging malicious signatures in real-time. 

USB protection is another feature worth mentioning. The endpoint protection solution should have USB device control to prevent ransomware and malware from entering the network.

2. Insider Threat Prevention

Insider Threat Prevention

According to IBM’s Security X-Force Threat Intelligence research, most cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error or negligence, such as an employee or contractor within an organisation accidentally causing a security breach. 

In these instances, EDR monitors all user activity and employs techniques like behavioural analysis to spot suspicious or unusual behaviours. Because EDR does this in real-time, security teams can respond quickly to any potential threats before they get out of hand.

3. AI Threat Intelligence

AI Threat Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) within an endpoint security solution is a powerful technology that detects threats in real-time. This type of antivirus employs machine learning and AI to protect endpoints.

Threat intelligence solutions combine information from various sources like social media and open-source databases, then send it to complementary endpoint security tools. Such reporting enables those tools to identify and monitor for known threats as they emerge. 

The majority of these threats are malware and phishing attacks. Because AI works so quickly, it often identifies zero-day threats, meaning it identifies threats on the same day they are introduced onto the global threat landscape. 

Without AI, there would be a delay in notification because the data collection and communication processes informing security providers of emerging threats take additional time. With AI, the information is shared almost immediately.

4. Content Web Filtering

Content Web Filtering

Endpoint protection often provides enhanced detection and enforcement of web filter rules on HTTPS sites with encrypted traffic. It monitors browser activities and enforces your defined web security and acceptable usage policy. Web filtering applies to all supported operating systems and works with Google SafeSearch.

IT administrators can synchronise the endpoint web filtering profile to maintain consistent policy enforcement. Administrators can set on-/off-net policies, block lists and allow lists, and import your web filtering policies to strengthen the consistency.

Administrators to accomplish all these tasks remotely from a centralised location, delivering web security and content filtering from one place. A web application firewall provides botnet protection and granular application traffic control, which includes Software as a Service (SaaS) and web-based applications.

5. ZTNA and VPN Functionality

ZTNA and VPN Functionality

When VPN is combined with ZTNA, clients receive a robust remote access solution and a consistent policy for controlled access to applications regardless of the endpoint location. 

The Zero Trust Agent (ZTNA) supports ZTNA tunnels, Single Sign-On (SSO), and device posture checks to the Operating System (OS) access proxy. ZTNA technology works with the OS to provide secure, granular access to remote and local applications. 

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) means that each session initiates with an automatic, encrypted tunnel that travels to the OS proxy point for user and device verification. Once the device is verified, the system only grants access to that specific session. Multifactor authentication provides an added security layer. 

6. Single Pane of Glass Device Management

Single Pane of Glass Device Management
Credit: Microsoft

The traditional IT security model (as it pertains to endpoint security) consists of connected siloed point solutions. These individual solutions are essentially patchworked together and don’t communicate well with one another. 

Because these security systems were not initially designed to work together, IT teams must identify and attempt to correct gaps. However, an enterprise EPP security solution includes all endpoints and a central console from which administrators can manage them. 

This end-to-end visibility into all endpoints, known as a “single pane of glass,” eliminates many of the aforementioned gaps. It also enables admins to identify any remaining gaps and provide security solutions to them.

7. Central Security Logging and Reporting

Central Security Logging and Reporting

Alerting describes the process of real-time alert messages arriving as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps from devices managed by a central management solution. 

Logging is the collection of all entries contained in a device(s) log that an admin can view locally or through the central management solution as System Logging Protocol (Syslog) messages. These are highly valuable for security breach investigations, which require historical logs.

Central logging and reporting also simplify security analysis and compliance reporting. The system alerts when endpoints with vulnerabilities become easy targets for cyberattacks.

8. Vulnerability Detection

Vulnerability Detection

An EPP solution monitors customer endpoints and identifies risks. It also strengthens endpoints to reduce the attack surface. It does this by identifying vulnerable endpoints and then prioritising unpatched OS and software vulnerabilities. 

When a device’s OS is outdated, it is open to cyberattack, and EPP detects out-of-date operating systems plus needed software updates. 

Security patches are another vulnerability that affects endpoint devices. Hackers receive the same security patch notifications as IT admins, and hackers know they likely have time to exploit the stated vulnerability before the patch is applied. 

EPP identifies security patches and notifies admins, who can then deploy the patches quickly, shortening the window of opportunity for cybercriminals.

Conclusion

Conclusion

In review, standard EPP tools provide excellent endpoint protection. They include anti-malware and anti-ransomware applications, firewall security, and risk-based security policies. 

EDR tools offer features such as AI-assisted security incident detection and forensics investigation. EDR solutions can also revert endpoints to their pre-infected state.

Additional features of EDR include insider threat prevention, content web filtering, ZTNA and VPN functionality, vulnerability detection, and central security logging and reporting. Security administrators can monitor and manage all these functions from a central console, otherwise known as “single pane of glass” device management. 

All features combined, an EPP solution, preferably combined with EDR, is essential for endpoint protection. EPP efficiently prevents the majority of attacks, while an EDR solution captures and neutralises any that slip through the perimeter. Together, they offer a holistic and effective security solution.

From anti-malware, anti-phishing, SEO poisoning, and 2FA to SASE and cloud-based air-gap immutable backup storage, Securus has a security solution to suit your requirement and budget. 

If you would like to discuss your network security requirements in more detail with one of our cyber security professionals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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