Endpoint protection is securing an organization’s software and hardware devices from malicious attacks. It can be accomplished by deploying antivirus software, running firewalls, or providing a robust content filtering mechanism. Most organizations use these methods to ensure that their devices are protected against known and new threats.
1. Importance of Endpoint Protection
Most IT professionals believe that endpoint protection is unnecessary for regular day-to-day business. However, any time new malicious software or device enters the organization, it can severely damage the productivity and reputation of the organization. Many organizations see more and more threats related to phishing and other attacks linked to websites and email than ever before. While some technologies can block malware at the network level, others require that each device be scanned before allowing a user to access corporate data.
2. Types of Endpoint Protection
There is no perfect endpoint protection suite, and users must choose the best solution that meets their current needs. One company may use multiple products to protect against the right threats properly. There are generally three types of Endpoint Protection. These include:
Network-based antivirus software can block common types of malicious software, but it does not guarantee that every device is protected. This can leave a device open to attack. Additionally, network-based virus protection may not recognize some viruses or malware since they are disguised to avoid detection. For devices to be completely protected, they must have local protection, known as an antivirus solution. The downside to having local protection is the number of resources it consumes and the potential of slowing down a device and interfering with normal operations.
There are two main types of Anti-malware Protection. The first type is known as host-level protection. This type of protection includes a wide variety of software designed to run separately on each device within an organization. However, many companies use the second form, known as network-based. This type of protection works by comparing a given device against known viruses or malware. If the new intrusive software is deemed to be a threat, the device will be quarantined and not allowed to access corporate data. However, this type of protection does not guarantee that all devices are protected, as it requires companies to have local protections.
Although not technically an endpoint protection solution, patch management can significantly benefit those organizations that decide to utilize it. Patch management works by providing the necessary updates to the software or devices so that they can receive the latest security patches and virus definitions. However, while this solution benefits most organizations, it also requires time and resources that many argue are unnecessary for normal day-to-day operations. Additionally, many new malicious threats can bypass these methods of protection as well.
3. The Current State of Endpoint Protection
Endpoint protection is an essential part of the cyber defense process. However, companies must regularly test their devices and applications for vulnerabilities to maintain adequate protection. Additionally, organizations should ensure that their policies and regulations are followed, including rules for what employees can and cannot access daily. If the organization fails to adhere to these rules, it could cause severe damage to the reputation of the company.
It is predicted that there will be an increased focus on endpoint protection and security in the next few years. This is due to the increase in new and unknown threats that are being created by cybercriminals each year. To maintain this level of protection, software vendors have been working to develop more advanced solutions that do not take up as many resources on a device and provide added protection against new threats.