Endpoint Security: What It Is and Why It’s Important

July 9, 2020 |

You’ve likely heard the term “endpoint security” before, especially with the recent uptick in remote work, but what is it exactly and why is it important? Let us explain.

What Are Endpoints?

Any device—desktop computers, laptops, cell phones, iPads, etc.—can be considered endpoints. An endpoint is essentially any kind of computing device that communicates and is connected to a network. An endpoint on a network, in other words. Servers in a data center are also considered endpoints.

What is Endpoint Security?

Endpoints are full of data and sensitive information, which leaves them vulnerable to hacking. Some of the most common examples of endpoint security services include:

  • Antivirus software: Prevents, detects, and removes malware from a device.
  • Web/URL filtering: Restricts web browsing to trusted websites, preventing you from harmful content or downloads on your network.
  • Email filtering: Monitors email messages for suspicious content to prevent phishing attacks.
  • Application control: Controls permissions within applications to prevent malicious or compromised apps from running. 
  • Network access control: Determines what devices can access and do within a network’s infrastructure.

Why Do I Need Endpoint Protection?

With a rise in remote work and bring your own device policies, the attack surface is becoming increasingly more complex as the number of endpoints grows. Without endpoint protection, cybercriminals can easily swoop in and gain access to your valuable data which can be detrimental to your customers, employees, and your business. With the financial and reputational costs related to cleaning up a hack or data breach, endpoint security is a crucial component when it comes to securing your business. Small businesses are at even greater risk because cybercriminals know endpoint security is often not a top priority until something goes wrong. 

How Does Endpoint Protection Work? 

Endpoint security protects your data by examining each file that enters your network and comparing it to a database of threats stored on the cloud. It also provides administrators with centralized control over the security of each endpoint, allowing them to block unsafe websites or applications, authenticate users, and update software for each endpoint when appropriate. 

If I Have a Firewall, Do I Still Need Endpoint Security?

Yes. Although they seem like one in the same, there’s a reason a firewall isn’t listed above as an example of endpoint security. That’s because a firewall is in place to stop malware before it gets inside your network. It blocks malicious traffic from entering the network, versus endpoint security solutions that remove malware once detected. Having both is best because it gives you multiple levels of protection.

While having firewalls and endpoint security in place is a good start, it’s often not enough to stop hackers. Make sure you establish other important security measures, like a solid employee security awareness training program and multi-factor authentication for users. Whether you’re just getting started on building your information security program or you want to ensure you’ve covered your bases, we recommend reading this whitepaper as a guide on how to implement an information security program.

To learn more or set up a consultation to discuss your current and future cybersecurity needs, contact us.

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