Endpoint security: What is it, and how does it work?

Endpoint security: What is it, and how does it work?

From desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets, individuals and businesses alike have many convenient ways to access and interact with data and the internet. Unfortunately, having a variety of devices for accessing data means there are just as many ways or more for cyberthreats to harm you and your business. This is why endpoint security is important.

What is an endpoint?

An endpoint is any device that is connected to a network system and can serve as an entry point for cyberthreats to enter and threaten an organization. It usually pertains to a desktop computer, a laptop, a cellphone, or any other mobile device, but there have even been cases when cybercriminals have used endpoints such as wifi routers and smart appliances to launch an attack.

What is endpoint security?

Endpoint security is a cybersecurity approach that protects endpoint devices from malicious threats. Because endpoints are often exposed to the internet and other external threats, they are usually the most vulnerable link in an organization's security setup. Endpoint security solutions help protect devices against various threats by providing a comprehensive layer of protection.
Why is endpoint security important?

In their 2020 Endpoint Study, the Ponemon Institute found that 68% of organizations have suffered at least one or more successful endpoint attacks. These attacks compromised data, IT infrastructure, or both. In addition, 68% of IT professionals agreed that endpoint attacks had increased in frequency since 2019.

Endpoint security protects the devices that store sensitive data, host your digital services, and allow your employees to work. Without endpoint security, cyberthreats can run rampant throughout your organization’s network with ease and prevent your devices from functioning optimally.

How does endpoint security work?

Endpoint security examines files, processes, and entire systems, searching for signs of malicious activity and preventing the threat from harming the network. With the ultimate goal of creating multiple layers of defense against cyberattacks, it integrates firewalls, antivirus, and intrusion detection/prevention tools to offer immediate access to threat information and network security tools. This enables IT security teams to create comprehensive protection strategies.

There are three primary methodologies to implementing endpoint security:

  1. On-premises endpoint security: The on-premises strategy relies on a data center hosted on your business premises. This data center functions as a control hub for the management console, which protects endpoints using software installed on all endpoint devices.

    This method is considered effective, but somewhat outdated and laborious. It requires the establishment of security silos,which entails a section of your networks being completely separated from the rest. These security silos not only have their own maintenance requirements, but they also necessitate administrators to manage endpoint security on site.

  2. Cloud endpoint security: In contrast, the cloud-based approach allows administrators to oversee and regulate endpoint protection from anywhere because the management console is in the cloud.

    This approach offers enhanced flexibility because admins can access all endpoint devices remotely. There is also is no need for security silos.

  3. Hybrid endpoint security: The hybrid approach combines the on-premises and cloud-based security solutions. This approach allows for some of the flexibility of the cloud while maintaining the hardened defenses of security silos. Large businesses tend to require hybrid endpoint security to comply with security laws and regulations.

Outside of the three methodologies, there are various tools that you can use to protect your endpoints. Here are a few of those tools:

  • Antivirus software – acts as the gatekeeper of your device, blocking potential threats from entering
  • Application control – watches what's happening on your device, ensuring only safe and permitted files can pass through by blocking unsafe or blacklisted files
  • Sandboxing – creates a safe environment to test potentially harmful software without infecting the rest of your network
  • URL filtering – acts as a device's bouncer, preventing certain websites from loading onto a device and instead redirects anyone trying to access those sites to page informing them that the content is blocked
  • Network access control – manages who can access your network and what they are authorized to do within that network
  • Endpoint encryption – makes your data unreadable to unauthorized users
  • Insider threat protection – keeps an eye on what's happening within your organization’s systems to prevent internal threats
  • Cloud-environment security – protects data stored in the cloud through a combination of security measures, including user and device verification, privacy protections, data recovery, control over data and resource access, and more
  • Email gateway – scans your emails for any malicious content and prevents it from reaching your inbox

If you want to learn more about endpoint security and how to protect your devices from possible cyberthreats, reach out to Kortek Solutions today.