Stopping Hackers at Endpoints Means Thorough Security
Learn why it’s critical to keep endpoints (desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets) protected with comprehensive solutions that keep hackers at bay
For organizations looking to keep their networks and files protected from cyberatack, a comprehensive security solution is essential. One of the most important ways companies can keep their data and systems protected is to focus on endpoint security.
Dave Brewer, who provides Managed IT Services in San Jose offers the following tips.
What Is Endpoint Security?
Endpoints are devices that are connected to your network and are used by employees or other authorized users. They may include desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. An employee may have multiple connected endpoints, making security challenges even greater. With each connected device, your company faces an added threat from hackers who are increasingly targetting small- and medium-sized businesses.
As the number of users and connected devices grows, your internal IT team faces a growing burden to maintain, update and upgrade the security on all potentially vulnerable internet-connected electronics.
Why Is Endpoint Security So Critical?
Consider the information stored on and accessed by your connected devices. Depending on your company’s work, your employees and other uses may connect to:
- Employee and customer data, including birthdays, Social Security numbers, addresses and financial data
- Customer information, including contact and banking information, purchase information and payment details
- Protected health records or education information
- Customer databases
- Proprietary information
The threat of attack on these vitally critical data points is significant, with multiple attack vectors threatening businesses every day.
What are the most common ways that endpoints are attacked? There are three primary drivers of endpoint attacks:
- Insecure Software. Microsoft Windows is the world’s most popular operating system. Software products of all kinds are a mainstay of modern business operations. However, if patches and upgrades are not installed automatically and quickly, your business will likely be exposed to numerous attacks that target known vulnerabilities in these products. Exploiting client-side vulnerabilities is easy for skilled hackers who look for businesses that have failed to stay up to date with patching.
- Employee Behavior. Cyberattacks often are caused inadvertently by employees who do so without realizing it. By opening messages or clicking on attachments from those they do not know, or look like they came from someone they know, employees can accidentally provide access to a hacker. Other potential employee errors include giving private information to strangers, downloading and installing software that is not scanned or protected, or clicking on suspicious links or ads. Other disgruntled or former employees that still have access to data and systems can steal, share or corrupt data intentionally.
- Mobility. As the world becomes increasingly mobile-centric, it means more employees are using mobile devices. However, these devices often connect to the internet via unsecured connections, are lost or stolen, or are not secured properly. Companies that fail to have thorough and enforced policies about smartphone, laptops and tablets open themselves up to added exposure from hackers.
What Is the Impact of an Endpoint Security Breach?
Companies that fail to protect their data face grave consequences. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach report from the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach for U.S. companies is $3.9 million, or $150 per record lost.
The average amount of time between when a breach is identified and it’s contained is 279 days, leaving hackers plenty of time to use and abuse the information. Breaches that have a lifecycle of fewer than 200 days cost businesses 1.2 million less than longer ones.
There’s also the potential damage to your company’s reputation and loss of customers.
How Can Our Company Improve Endpoint Security?
Endpoint security generally begins with a thorough assessment of your company’s network, systems and endpoints to understand what devices are in use, what programs they use, the protections in place and the policies regarding updating that are in place.
That assessment helps inform recommendations for the right endpoint solution that will optimize protection of your endpoint devices. In recent years, composite software suites, called endpoint protection software, have become popular. These solutions include an array of preventative measures that keep devices and users protected.
What Are the Components of an Endpoint Security Solution?
While the components may vary in each product, the typical arrangement includes:
- Antimalware, antivirus and antiphishing software with automated updates to address emerging threats
- Application whitelisting
- Data encryption
- Data loss prevention
- Enterprise mobile device management, including wiping and locking
- Host-based next-generation firewalls that monitor your network’s perimeter and detect, contain, eliminate ad report on threats
- Intrusion detection/prevention systems
Enterprise-wide endpoint security solutions keep every user component protected and secured, reducing the risk of costly cyberattacks.