Regardless of how well managed your network security is, all businesses are at risk of becoming victims of cyber-attacks. With the rise of hybrid work environments and cloud computing, there has been an increased use of remote and mobile devices and a heightened requirement for securing these endpoints. 70% of successful cyber-attacks begin on endpoint devices, so while endpoint security is crucial, it can’t be relied on exclusively.
What is endpoint security?
Endpoints are devices that are physically the ends of a network, such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, servers, and virtual environments. As these are entry points to your network and vital data, preventing these from being exploited is critical.
Endpoint security is an element of network cybersecurity. Endpoint security services include antivirus, email filtering, web filtering, and firewalls, safeguarding crucial systems, intellectual property, customer data, and employees from ransomware, phishing, malware, and other cyber-attacks. These cyber-threats can jeopardise a business’s survival, causing costly downtime and leading to loss of business and customers.
Why are endpoint security solutions not enough?
An endpoint security strategy is a key element to any IT security strategy, but it is no longer enough when it comes to protecting your business. Endpoints are the most vulnerable link and a cyber-attack there can lead to other areas of your network being accessed.
Multiple entry points
Endpoint protection platforms can safeguard your computer network from threats, but they can’t safeguard servers and IoT devices – particularly in hybrid workplaces. Your servers are vital to your business being operational and productive. For instance, malicious code can infiltrate your servers and then disperse across your network. A backdoor could also be used to breach your system using your servers. A backdoor enables malicious individuals to access your data and network without setting off any alarms or being detected.
Data in transit
Your endpoint protection stops malicious programs, viruses, and ransomware attacks on your computer, but once your data is sent or in transit, it leaves the security bounds of your network security and can be stolen. Your employees, customers, and business partners who don’t use protected devices may be able to access your data again. It’s critical to monitor and safeguard sensitive information as it moves around your organisation with data loss prevention (DLP) technology that encrypts data both at rest and in transit.
Malware evades detection
Malware that tries to attack your computer system or steal your data can be identified using signature or artificial intelligence-based endpoint security solutions. However, these solutions will inevitably miss some threats. Advanced threats today utilise sophisticated technology to evade detection – every day there are over 550,000 new types of malware detected. Threat actors don’t give up, which is why it is important not to rely just on endpoint security as your only threat prevention.
The Bring-Your-Own-Device trend is becoming increasingly more common, particularly with companies whose employees spend a percentage of their time working remotely. While BYOD is a convenient way to boost efficiency and sustainability, it also presents significant security risks. If an employee connects a device to the business network that is not safeguarded, malicious actors can exploit this weakness and steal data from your business. With BYOD, you must establish strong endpoint security policies. Every device should be fully patched with your cybersecurity software and solutions and fully controlled by your IT team so employees cannot install software that may establish another entry point for malicious activity.
It’s not just hackers that you should be worried about. Insiders—people who already have access to your systems and can steal data—are also a concern. If your endpoint security system is weak, it makes it easier for an insider to steal data. There are several kinds of insider threats. Employees with regular access to your computer systems are the most frequent perpetrators.
Robust cybersecurity solutions to protect your business
It’s true that securing endpoints is an essential component of any IT security strategy, but it’s not sufficient to protect your business from cyberattacks. You must take all necessary precautions to protect your business from cyber threats. The cybersecurity specialists at Virtu can work with you to implement end-to-end security solutions to protect your network and keep your business secure.
Encrypting data both at rest and in transit is or should be a must. We have all seen or heard of hackers that managed to get access to major companies by infiltrating an employee’s laptop. I think this alone shows how easy important data can be stolen.
You can never have too much protection nowadays. Endpoint security is just a part of the puzzle. Data needs to be encrypted at all times, special security measures must be taken by employees once they take important data out of the workplace, etc. Every company should have serious and appropriate training so that every single employee knows as much as possible about how to protect themselves.
In most cases, it’s an employee that doesn’t know much about cybersecurity, doesn’t care or doesn’t realize how easy a hacker can take hold of a device. Regular training must be done and I would even do practical tests to test employee knowledge on what was taught. Employees should be rewarded or punished if they don’t do their part.