What Is Endpoint Security? Staying Proactive in the Modern Workplace
Network endpoints are all the devices connected to your network, including all types of devices, from desktop computers to audio devices and everything in between. Cybersecurity criminals are getting more sophisticated when it comes to finding individual network endpoint vulnerabilities to bypass, rendering endpoint protection more important now than ever.
How the Modern Workplace Invites New Endpoint Security Vulnerabilities
Remote and hybrid work environments, while enabling employee flexibility, also invite a new level of security gaps. With employers embracing the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, they unknowingly open themselves up to network security vulnerabilities.
To give you an idea …
- 53% of organizations were hit with successful ransomware attacks in 2021, with 77% hit more than once.
- A study by Checkpoint found that the weekly average of ransomware attacks in 2021 was up by 50% as compared to 2020.
- The same report shows that from mid-2020 through 2021, cyber attacks targeting education/research, government/military, and communications organizations are the highest-hit industries.
How Does Endpoint Security Work?
A secure endpoint system protects the data and workflow associated with each device connected to the organization's network. The application enables users to compare files retrieved from an Internet connection in the cloud with a constantly growing database containing threat information. Endpoint security solutions offer system administrators with centralized management consoles installed on networks and servers to manage the security of all connected devices. Client applications can run on all endpoints remotely as well as directly.
What Are Common Endpoint Attacks?
There are a few common endpoint attack tactics that cybercriminals use. Here are a few of the most common this year.
Malware, otherwise known as malicious software, is an overarching term to describe any program or application that can damage network systems. Hostile, intrusive malware intentionally invades systems to take control of network endpoints and disrupt normal systems operations. Malware is prevalent and can be used to take systems hostage or steal valuable data.
Check these links for some more detailed information:
- 83% of malware threats are stored in one of four locations: %temp%, %appdata%, %cache% and %desktop%
Ransomware is a specific type of malware aimed at taking systems hostage, threatening to release sensitive data, or blocking system access until a ransom is paid. Some simple ransomware won’t permanently harm any files, but cryptoviral extortion is more lucrative. This involves threatening to release information and systematically damaging valuable data the longer the victim waits to pay.
Ransomware normally spreads through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through what is known as drive-by downloading. That is when a user unknowingly goes to an infected website, and malware is installed without the user’s knowledge. Cybercriminals are continuously getting more sophisticated in attracting people to infected sites, especially with mobile devices through SMS.
Remote desktop protocol (RDP) is also an attractive target for ransomware attacks. Attackers hack networks to gain access to RDP servers, and once they’re in, they’ve succeeded. Once the victim’s network is infiltrated, access can be sold to malicious actors, or ransomware can be deployed directly. This attack type only requires a laptop and internet access, so the costs are much lower than traditional phishing attacks.
Patching and Updates
80% of successful breaches are new or unknown zero-day attacks. These attacks involve new or evolved malware variants that infiltrate a system with unrecognized or exploitable undisclosed vulnerabilities.
It takes an average of 80 days to contain a data breach, and the average breach lifecycle of a malicious or criminal attack in 2020 was 315 days.
Once a breach is identified, patching vulnerabilities and updating systems to prevent future similar breaches can be extremely costly. Patching software corrects errors in computer code to secure networks from suffering breaches and can be expensive depending on the software you run within your network.
Endpoint Security vs. Firewall Security
A firewall is an internet safety system for preventing and controlling the flow of information between computers. Firewalls also enable monitoring of both outgoing and ingoing communications. Secure endpoints ensure the data on an individual device, ensuring that all its users can be tracked. Typically a firewall is perfect for businesses where employees work in a similar building and sign into the same network. But with more employees working from home, the firewall is no longer effective, resulting in device security issues. Therefore, endpoint security measures are more effective. They can work in the cloud and secure network endpoints with encryption and multi-step authentication when users connect their devices.
Why Endpoint Protection Is Important to Your Business
As noted, the shift to remote and hybrid work models impacted the IT infrastructure of companies by moving corporate endpoints out of the corporate networks and shifting the endpoint perimeter. Endpoint technology is increasingly the primary protection for companies against cyber threats. Cyberattackers know that personal devices generally are more vulnerable to threats and use them as ways to access central networks.
While many devices operate on personal network systems, like home office WiFi setups, they are still gateways to the main system. If a personal endpoint device isn’t protected correctly, it can be the perfect option for malware to infiltrate the main network through VPN connections or phishing attacks.
Mobile devices are certainly the most vulnerable. Even if employees have dedicated work mobile devices, they may still use personal devices to log into official accounts and connect to networks outside the stable central network. Even if employees have corporate-issued computers or smartphones, if they use those devices to connect to unstable networks, like in a cafe or using a friend’s mobile hotspot, the data is already increasingly vulnerable.
One in three US employees (33%) use a personal computer and smartphone to work remotely, while only 17% use a corporate-issued computer and smartphone.
According to Ponemon Institute survey results, 55% of professionals consider smartphones among their most vulnerable endpoints. 50% considered laptops particularly vulnerable, 24% considered tablets, and 48% answered with other mobile devices. Only 34% considered desktops to be amongst their most vulnerable endpoints.
According to IBM, the average data breach costs 4.27 million dollars. Ransomware attacks and malicious attacks that destroy or destructively wipe data cost an average of 4.62 million and 4.69 million dollars, respectively. The cost of a successful endpoint attack has increased from 7.1 million dollars to 8.94 million.
How Endpoint Protection Software Works
Endpoint protection software includes solutions that prevent file-based malware attacks, help investigate and remediate with patching, and generally detect any anomalies within a network that could imply malicious activity. Some better-known solutions include SentinelOne, McAfee, and CrowdStrike, among others.
SentinelOne uses highly automated endpoint threat protection capabilities and is constantly improving its artificial intelligence as it continues to work with major corporations and government agencies to prevent endpoint security breaches. Together with Compuquip, SentinelOne provides a next-generation endpoint security platform capable of handling evolving threats or completely new attack techniques.
Stay Proactive With Endpoint Security Solutions
There are many options for endpoint security solutions providers. The important thing is to stay ahead of the cybercriminals and ensure your network is secured before expensive breaches cripple your organization's credibility and ruin your reputation.
Too often, organizations realize that managing endpoint security is a tireless job requiring a lot of manpower, derailing teams from working on the organization's main purpose. By teaming up with CompuQuip and the SentinelOne solution, you can ease the burden and create a competitive advantage for your organization.