Endpoint protection is one of the central elements of any cybersecurity strategy. Many experts consider endpoints to be one of the weakest security link within an enterprise, giving hackers easy access to an organization's data. In fact, 51% of IT professionals consider their organizations ineffective at surfacing threats because their endpoint security solutions are not effective at detecting advanced attacks. So we’ve pulled together everything you need to know to ensure you can build an effective endpoint security policy.
In this article, you will discover:
- Why do Endpoints matter?
- The Top 3 Endpoint challenges
- The 6 critical elements you need for an effective Endpoint strategy
Why do Endpoints Matter?
An endpoint is any physical device that connects a user to a network. Examples of endpoints include computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, servers, printers, and scanners, among others.
Many companies overlook the breadth of endpoints. It is common to see companies install endpoint protection systems on their corporate computers, but they may omit the many other devices, including IoT.
With the increase in remote work, the number of endpoints has grown and made it more difficult for managers to track them. According to the report Take A Proactive Approach To Endpoint Security, 76% of IT security decision-makers indicated their firm’s use of endpoint devices increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same report indicates that 66% of respondents believe securing modern business environments requires a proactive approach to endpoint resilience.
To make matters worse, there are still other data indicating that many companies do not provide the devices to their employees, making it even more difficult to control the endpoints. According to SailPoint, in 2020 1 in 3 U.S. employees (33%) stated that they use their own computer and smartphone to enable remote work, while only 17% use a computer and smartphone owned by their employer.
An endpoint policy will establish security parameters that all devices connected to the company's network must follow. In addition, it offers managers a centralized console where they can access the corporate network to monitor, investigate and act on incidents.
3 Critical Endpoint Security Challenges:
1. New Devices, New Threats
With the evolution of technologies, new gadgets are often invented and popularized. The problem is that most of the time manufacturers are not concerned with security devices. Often the protection of these devices is weak and they become an easy target for hackers.
2. Endpoint Repairs Policy
Repairs are also an area that deserves attention from the company. When going to repair, gadgets can often be accessed by malicious agents, or become vulnerable to hacker attacks. A policy for managing items in need of repair is also important.
3. Limited Access
The company needs to have a strict policy regarding endpoints that have access to business data. Only gadgets that have been verified and configured with the security policies of the business can have access to the system. Otherwise, the endpoint security policy is at risk.
Endpoint Security Needs To Be Aligned With the Company's Global Cybersecurity Strategy
Endpoint security must be combined with other cybersecurity strategies, such as network security. It's important to remember that endpoint security is not the same thing as antivirus.
Antivirus is one component of an endpoint security strategy, which is made up of many other elements. Antivirus has the mission to protect the endpoint itself, be it a computer or a smartphone. Whereas Endpoint Security's mission is to protect the entire network, which is interconnected. To combat threats, you need to invest in a holistic approach to security.
The 6 Critical Elements You Need For An Effective Endpoint Strategy
1. Keep Operating Systems Up To Date
Keeping device systems up to date is a simple task, but it makes a difference for a security policy. Updates fix system weaknesses and flaws that can lead to major vulnerabilities. This is true even for non-traditional endpoints, such as smart devices and sensors.
2. Use The Principle of Least Privilege
Restricting server access is also a good alternative to protecting the network that connects the endpoints. Employees should have access to basic servers, accessing servers with more important information only when necessary.
3. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
In addition to controlling access, managers can limit access to important information through a private network or VPN, ensuring information privacy.
4. Attention To All Existing Threats
No matter the type of threat: malware, phishing, social engineering… The Endpoint Security policy must protect all potential threats that could interfere with the internal network. Therefore, the security policy must provide for constant updating, to always be aware of new threats.
5. Controlled Tests
Sending controlled tests allows you to identify the extent to which your company is susceptible to attacks. In addition, fictitious attacks give clues to where the biggest vulnerabilities are and which aspects of cybersecurity the company should strengthen.
6. Qualified And Constant Training of Employees
Keeping employees trained and on the lookout is critical to ensuring a functional end-to-end cybersecurity strategy. Attacks by criminals are increasingly sophisticated. Users need to know the importance of following Endpoint Security and not connecting personal devices to corporate networks.
Endpoints remain a weak point for most companies, especially with the increase in remote work. This makes it even more difficult for IT professionals to control the behavior of their employees.
This article has highlighted the key challenges related to endpoints, including the emergence of new devices, the device repair policy, and user access control. To effectively combat all risks, the endpoint security policy must be aligned with the company's other cybersecurity strategies to cover all potential risks.
Although endpoint control is essential for an effective cybersecurity policy, more than half of organizations lack in-house expertise and resources around endpoint protection. If this is the case for your business, CyVent experts are on hand to assist in the diagnosis, strategy, and implementation of an endpoint security policy for your business.
If you want more information, book a call on https://www.cyvent.com/assess-company-cyber-threats/