Small businesses are having to adopt new workflows, policies, and procedures to remain productive and competitive in their spaces. With this rapid transformation comes an increase in cybersecurity risks. These increases are the reason that traditional solutions such as antivirus and firewalls are no longer enough to protect your organization.
In the small business world, your company’s endpoints are the main passageway of cyberattacks. Especially now, laptops, desktops and mobile devices being used outside of the office can be major vulnerabilities. These changes have shifted a focus to the development of enhanced security concepts and tools designed to protect the small business sector. One enhanced security concept that has quickly gained popularity is Endpoint Security.
What is Endpoint Security?
An endpoint is essentially any device that can be used to connect to your network. Desktops, laptops, tablets and so on. The goal of endpoint security is to protect your organization by protecting the endpoints that serve as gateways to your network and assets.
So, it’s antivirus?
Short answer, no.
Long answer, antivirus has been around for decades and has become synonymous with business security. This leads to most business owners and administrators maintaining the idea that antivirus is enough to protect their data and network. People know what antivirus is, making it easy to compare it to other security solutions. However, much has changed in the last 20 years and most of the basic AV solutions are unable to detect and prevent the newest styles of attacks.
How Endpoint Security works:
Endpoint security is a complex topic. And it is more of a concept than a tool. It combines the best parts of antivirus software with advanced threat detection tools along with systems for IT staff to monitor and manage devices. To break that down even more, let’s look at some of the pillars of an Endpoint Security Plan:
Endpoint Detection and Response:
Endpoint Detection and Response, or EDR, is a solution is designed to actively detect and respond to intelligent and advanced cyberattacks. These solutions are capable of detecting patterns and can recognize suspicious activity on a workstation or server. To put it simply, an EDR solution understands how cyberattacks behave, and can mitigate them before they have the chance to do damage.
What really sets endpoint security above antivirus is the ability to assess the malicious programs being used in sophisticated cyberattacks. Antivirus only detects threats that have been previously identified, leaving them defenseless to zero-day threats or stealthy attacks. These new techniques use programs that don’t fall into the rigid categories that antivirus software uses to identify and block threats, allowing them to bypass traditional AV.
Sandboxing generates a virtual environment that mimics an endpoint and opens the potentially malicious file. Think of the sandbox as a copy of your computer. If the program starts behaving in a suspicious or destructive manner in the sandbox, it can be flagged and mitigated without risking damage to your actual device.
There are significant differences between a traditional firewall and a next-gen firewall. A traditional firewall works by monitoring network traffic and restricting traffic from sources on its “block list.” This configuration is very static, leaving it vulnerable to new styles of attack. Next generation firewalls can inspect traffic at a much deeper level and prevent malware from entering the network thanks to intrusion prevention systems and regular security updates from their manufacturers.
Data Loss Prevention:
Contrary to its name, end point security is not limited to protecting just end points. Your end point security plan should also include measures to prevent data loss. Monitoring your end point traffic behavior can provide insight to potentially malicious data transfers on your network. It is critical to be able to shut down unauthorized or unexpected traffic to prevent data loss or theft.