Which Endpoint Security Tools Are Right for Your Needs?

February 19, 2019 Eric Dosal Eric Dosal

While cybersecurity is not a device, it is dependent on having the right security tools in place to protect the network. Endpoint security tools are a critical part of any organization’s network security strategy. Having strong device protection helps to counteract intrusion attempts by impeding an attacker’s progress.

However, with countless endpoint security tools being released each year with wildly different technologies, it can be difficult to find the right endpoint security measures for your own network. To help you evaluate your endpoint security tools, here is a list of things that Compuquip looks for:

Kernel-Level Analysis of Events

If you don’t have a background in computer science, you might be wondering what a kernel is. In most operating systems, the kernel is one of the first programs the computer loads on startup. It acts as a kind of intermediary between applications and the CPU/memory/devices on a system to manage resources, memory, and devices.

The issue with kernels is that they are programs that have an incredibly high permissions level on the system—they need to process input/output, make requests of the CPU, and perform other tasks, after all. Normally, the code of the kernel is isolated and protected from being accessed by other programs.

However, if infected with malware, the kernel can pose a serious cybersecurity threat. As noted by SecurityIntelligence.com, “Once in the kernel, very few security technologies have visibility into kernel-mode malware behavior… attackers can essentially take safe refuge in the kernel.”

To counteract these kernel-level attacks, it’s important to have endpoint security tools that can analyze events at the kernel level to alert you to them.

Robust Endpoint Detection and Response Capabilities

Endpoint detection and response, or EDR, is defined by Carbon Black as a way to “collect, record, and store large volumes of data from endpoint activities to provide security professionals with the comprehensive visibility they need to detect, investigate, and mitigate advanced cyber threats.”

That definition may sound similar to what a security information and event management (SIEM) tool does. However, there is a difference in scope and focus between EDR and SIEM tools—EDR focuses on each individual endpoint while SIEM creates a kind of dashboard for checking security information from multiple sources.

Security tools with robust EDR capabilities can provide strong insight into attacks that impact individual endpoints, which can help organizations prepare for future attacks.

Definition-Based AND Machine Learning-Based Detections

Machine learning, or the ability to teach systems to recognize patterns and take actions based on those patterns, is a major driver of modern network security solutions—particularly SIEM solutions that leverage “big data” to analyze network activity. The (incredibly oversimplified) idea is that a machine learning system can, over time, “learn” to recognize patterns in activities that indicate active cyber threats.

Definition-based (i.e. “signature-based”) detection methods use known signatures (such as known malware threat signals) to define malicious activity to detect it and generate an automated response.

Compuquip looks for network and device protection solutions that use both methodologies to detect malware and intrusion attempts. Because, while machine learning is valuable, it can also generate false positives or miss malicious activity until it has been sufficiently “trained” to recognize malicious activity.

Cloud-Based Management for “On-the-Go” Protection

The “cloud” is becoming more ubiquitous in modern network security tools, often being used to deploy security solutions as a service or to deliver the infrastructure needed to host them. Cloud-based management for endpoint security tools can make managing these tools more convenient for users on the go—allowing them to check their security event dashboards and adjust settings from almost anywhere they have an internet connection.

Additionally, being able to manage endpoint security settings from the cloud allows for simplified security device management in general. Instead of having to physically log into each endpoint to make changes, users can create custom settings for entire groups of IT assets and enforce changes from the cloud.

Light Performance Footprint

One thing that many seekers of endpoint security tools forget (and what some vendors forget to mention) is the performance impact their solutions will have on the assets being detected. Different security devices will have different levels of impact on the performance of the assets they're designed to protect.

Ideally, Compuquip tries to find a set of endpoint security tools that will provide the maximum possible protection while having a minimal impact on the performance of the customer’s network assets. This is important because it is not beneficial to a business to provide absolute data security at the cost of not being able to process any transactions.

SIEM Integration

If there is an intrusion attempt detected by the security information and event management solution, can the endpoint security tool interface with it to provide a near-instant cybersecurity response? Being able to integrate with SIEM tools can massively improve speed of response—as it creates an automated response that triggers immediately instead of having to wait for a network security team member to manually trigger intrusion countermeasures.

When companies can combine endpoint security measures with an SIEM solution, they can stop, contain, and eliminate security breaches much faster and more reliably.

Need help choosing the right endpoint security tools for your organization? Contact the experts at Compuquip for advice!