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Endpoint security is the practice of protecting desktops, laptops, mobile devices and a growing number of IoT devices from exploitation by cyber criminals seeking illicit access to corporate networks and valuable personal information.

Properly secured endpoints can prevent and protect against such cyberattacks while helping organizations better control network access points and guard data.

Why you need endpoint security

Historically, most security threats were perpetrated via the corporate network, with individual users and devices protected by internal firewalls. But malicious actors have increasingly targeted an influx of endpoints no longer safe behind internal network protection.

The rise of remote work and related policies, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), have created new vulnerabilities that increase the risk of network breaches. In response, organizations must proactively adopt endpoint solutions that safeguard users and smart devices whenever and wherever they connect to corporate networks and resources.

How does endpoint security work?

Endpoint security works by continuously monitoring an organization's applications, files, networks and systems for unusual or malicious activity. This is accomplished via a centralized management console that allows system administrators to monitor, investigate and respond to security incidents from a single place.

Notably, endpoint protection is available across all cloud deployment types — whether an organization has invested in a public, hybrid or private cloud operating model. Under this cloud-native endpoint security approach, admins can remotely monitor and manage devices connecting to their networks. Cloud-based systems use cloud controls and policies that maximize the security of devices and expand an admin's reach. They also help ensure organizations have access to the latest threat intelligence without needing to manually update systems or tools.

What are the benefits of endpoint security?

Endpoint security offers a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Network visibility: Complete visibility across an organization's IT environments, including insight into the devices and people accessing corporate networks.
  • Access Control: By controlling who has access to networks and systems, businesses can move away from outdated security approaches designed to protect traditional network perimeters to device-focused approaches more suitable to the modern threat landscape.
  • Advanced threat insight: Greater insight into detecting, defending and responding to new and evolving threats through real-time monitoring and malicious activity alerts.

What are the challenges of endpoint security?

There are also some common challenges organizations may encounter with endpoint security, including:

  • IoT risks: The massive spike in IoT devices linked to corporate networks means a corresponding spike in overall security risk. IoT tools and appliances often lack the security of traditional endpoints like computers and mobile phones, and they don't always support effective tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA). This can make some IoT devices vulnerable to threats like firmware exploits, phishing and ransomware.
  • Threat innovations: As cyber criminals devise new and more sophisticated attack vectors, mobile devices and corporate networks will continue to face an elevated risk of compromise. In a never-ending game of cat and mouse, hackers will find new ways to circumvent the latest advanced detection tools or activate malicious code within devices without triggering monitoring software.
  • Beyond digital: Digital device security on its own isn't enough to protect organizations from cyber threats. Businesses also need to ensure physical devices are secured and won't result in data breaches should they be lost or stolen.

What types of endpoint security are available?

Endpoint security solutions enable organizations to deploy continuous breach prevention across networks and systems. Some of the different tools available today include:

  • Next-generation antivirus (NGAV): Traditional antivirus tools typically struggle to detect sophisticated cyberattack vectors. Some NGAV solutions are now using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help identify and prevent novel or unknown strains of malware.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR): Organizations need to constantly monitor for malicious activity to prevent hackers from accessing networks and systems. EDR provides complete, real-time visibility into what's happening on a network. This includes features like advanced threat detection, alert triage, investigation and response, incident investigation, malicious activity detection, suspicious activity validation, and threat hunting.
  • Managed threat hunting: Discovering the latest, most sophisticated cyberattacks often requires the input of expert threat hunters. Endpoint management by elite teams can help organizations more easily learn from prior security events across industries, use crowdsourced data to spot attacks, and provide advanced guidance on dealing with malicious activity.
  • Threat intelligence integration: Preventing cyberattacks begins with understanding the general motivations of malicious actors and the types of threats organizations are likely to face. To proactively stay ahead of attackers, businesses must ingest and integrate the latest threat intelligence information. Today, this integration can incorporate automation capabilities that streamline the real-time investigation of security incidents.

Protect your endpoints with WWT

Organizations need to protect their devices regardless of when and where users access corporate networks and resources. WWT can help remove the obstacles to endpoint security and help you understand the latest security threats facing your organization.

Get the most from your endpoint security solution.