Think of the last time you went to bed.
You probably locked a door or window. Those are the points of entry to a home. They allow you to come and go freely, but they also can be damaged, exploited, or tampered with by an intruder looking to gain entry.
In a way, endpoint security is similar to the process of locking your front or back door.
Like a door to a home, an endpoint is any device used to enter a network. It is the point of entry to access sensitive, restricted, or otherwise valuable data. An endpoint is a device like a phone, laptop, or tablet. There are other types of endpoints, depending on who you ask, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll keep it to just remote devices.
Endpoint security is the methodology of ensuring all devices that access a network remain secure and that the exchange of data between the device and the network remains unhampered by malicious third parties.
Today, everything is digital. How employees access valuable information is becoming more and more convenient, which means less restricted by traditional infrastructure. In freedom, there's exploitation. The availability and accessibility of resources can be creatively accessed by cunning third party organizations or individuals that are able to find a weakness in endpoints.
Every endpoint, or point of access to a corporate/enterprise network, is an opportunity for a cyberattack in the form of ransomware, phishing, malware, password attacks, and so on. In the modern age, this necessitates network security alongside endpoint security.
How Endpoint Security Is Evolving
There are multiple ways that endpoints are changing.
Case in point: flexibility in the way employees work. It used to be that malicious actors attempted to gain access to networks via company-issued computers, which were likely to be well protected by a team of IT data security specialists, including protected access to emails which can be an access point to the network for attackers.
That's not quite the case anymore.
Companies are now embracing "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies, "choose your own device" (CYOD) policies, and corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) policies.
These are all great additions to the work environment that give individuals the ability to introduce their own efficiencies to rigid office workflows. However, those rigid office workflows often have security baked into their structure. Once personal devices enter the picture, IT staff have less control over the security measures.
Speaking of which, endpoint security takes the form of antivirus, email filtering, web filtering, firewalls, email encryption, data loss prevention, privileged user control, data classification, network access control, intrusion detection, and insider threat protection.
It also includes methodologies that will identify and block threatening actions by end users or intruders.
The Importance Of Endpoint Security
The role of endpoint security in a business is incredibly important in today's digital environment. Keep in mind that innovation isn't just for positive economic development or artistic expression. Cybersecurity threats are adapting every day to the technology that we use in our personal and professional lives, and that means growing to understand the weaknesses within them.
An effective strategy to circumvent, prevent, and remove these threats will likely contain three steps:
It'll detect and prevent threatening behavior or actions from the user or malicious actor.
It'll quarantine infected devices to block the threat from spreading.
It'll analyze the forensics to remediate the issue as it currently stands.
In other words, the tactics will be to discover, manage, and control whichever devices attempt to gain access to a company network.
An endpoint security system will work on a client/server model wherein a centrally managed server will host a security protocol and a client program is on a network device.
"In a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model, the host server and its managed security programs are maintained remotely by the vendor. In either delivery model, when a client attempts to log onto the network, the server program validates user credentials and scans the device to make sure that it complies with defined corporate security policies before allowing access to the network."
Dangers Of Ignoring Endpoint Security
Ultimately, though, what happens if a company decides not to pursue endpoint security? What's the likelihood that something will happen to you? What will be the impact?
Well, there were 1,473 data breaches with over 164 million sensitive records exposed in 2019, according to Statista. The year prior, there were 471 million sensitive records exposed.
According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million and the average lifecycle was 314 days from data breach to containment. About 67 percent of the costs occur during the first year, with 22 percent occurring at the second year after identifying the threat and 11 percent of costs happening beyond the second year.