What is Endpoint Security, and Why is it Important?

  • By Bryan Lee
  • Nov 28, 2022

Endpoint security definition

Businesses can make every effort to beef up corporate network security, but those improvements mean very little if criminals choose to break into an already connected device.

In the past, management would slap a name-brand antivirus program on all employee devices and call it a day. However, the staggering scale and frequency of data breaches in the past decade have opened many eyes to the importance of frequently updating existing security systems.

Hackers can expose a business's entire IT infrastructure by breaching a single endpoint. If not handled quickly and correctly, a breach could even lead to a complete shutdown of an organization.

What is Endpoint Security?

An endpoint is any device used to get into a secure network, including desktops, phones, laptops, and tablets. These devices already have permission to access organizational networks and make it easy to steal the personal information of clients and employees.

Endpoint security focuses on protecting these devices either in standalone measures or as part of a complete enterprise security strategy. This form of cybersecurity has grown increasingly crucial alongside the rise of work-from-home models.

The Growing Need for Endpoint Security

Endpoints used to be restricted to on-site locations before COVID-19 changed the game. Now, the number of remote workers in the US has tripled, according to the US Census Bureau. This led to an increased number of exploitable endpoints as employees began using their personal devices for work.

The problem worsens if employees work through public Wi-Fi, like at a coffee shop or library. The measures needed to cover the increased scenarios of work-from-anywhere operations make endpoint security an essential focus moving forward for all businesses.

Organizations that have entirely returned to on-site operations must prepare for the worst. We've already seen the consequences of being unprepared for the massive shutdowns and closures caused by the pandemic.

A robust monitoring system for endpoints is necessary for detecting and mitigating damages. The cost of data breaches is rising yearly, and the ability to quickly diagnose and investigate where a data breach originated from can save businesses millions of dollars.

The scale of the danger makes it sound like only large organizations are targets. Small business owners assume that their businesses aren't worth a hacker's time and set up lackadaisical security measures. However, Verizon's 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 46 percent of US data breaches targeted small businesses, and they did not respond well.

Consequences of a Data Breach

Consequences of a data breach on businesses

An endpoint breach is sure to be followed by a data breach. Data breaches are crippling for businesses worldwide, but US companies have it particularly bad. According to IBM, the US has sat atop the list of most expensive data breaches for 12 years. The average cost of a data breach in America is $9.44 million, which is more than double the global average. This cost mainly stems from the below reasons.

Informing Victims of the Breach

Telling customers that their information was lost in a data leak should be priority number one. Otherwise, the losses caused by fines and loss of reputation will be far worse.

This step is a pain point because of the human resources required to find and inform everyone affected. Businesses need to allocate resources to identify what information was stolen, provide resources to assist the victims, and explain how the company will do better moving forward.

Government Fines and Investigation

Government regulators will likely come to investigate after a data breach. Their purpose is to uncover what level of fault lies with the business for the lost information.

If they find that the business operated with insufficient protections, a hefty fine will be placed. The total amount is usually based on a combination of negligence and the number of people affected.

Repairing a Damaged Reputation

It's difficult to trust a company that's lost your information once. The biggest businesses have teams of attorneys and PR specialists to mediate the backlash. But medium and small-sized operations will need to hire outside help to build people's faith back up.

This is a long-term but necessary cost due to how public data breaches are these days. Some states, like Texas, even post the names of breached businesses online on a pseudo "Wall of Shame."

Endpoint Security Options

Endpoint security starts by installing an Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) on all devices. This platform will stop any file-based malware and keep out malicious actors through a combination of security features like machine learning, firewalls, and protected web browsing.

An EPP stands apart from run-of-the-mill antivirus programs because it acts as a central hub connecting all endpoint devices. This makes investigating attacks and alerting employees much more efficient than allowing remote workers to self-monitor.

An EPP can run through a locally hosted center but opting for a Cloud-based approach in today's uncertain landscape allows for much more flexibility.

Why Automated Remediation is a Game Changer

Automated remediation is a game changer in the world of endpoint security. This feature scans the Cloud and finds an activity that violates the server's policies. This allows the Cloud to automatically respond to security threats without needing a human to step in.

While this reduces staffing requirements for endpoint security, automated remediation's main selling point is the reduced time it takes to detect and respond to threats. This axes the possibility of administrative error or being locked out of the EPP.

Conclusion

Endpoint security is a big deal. With so many people's personal data being stored and transmitted on professional servers, businesses must have an effective way to protect them.

However, preparing strong endpoint protection isn't just a matter of keeping customers secure. Shielding your business from the substantial consequences of a data breach is just as important. Studies show that 45 percent of US companies have experienced a data breach in the past five years. You don't want to be one of them.

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