Advanced Endpoint Protection is First Step in Cybersecurity Battle

By: | Category: IT / Infrastructure

If we measured cybercrime as a country, it would be the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China. Just this year, we’ve seen the Colonial Pipeline breach, fallout from the Microsoft Exchange breach, a massive Facebook data leak, and a recent, highly disruptive attack on Kaseya, which paralyzed the networks of at least 200 companies. While that’s sinking in, consider that the vast majority of cyberattacks are launched through network endpoints. This makes endpoint protection, also known as endpoint detection and response (EDR), the frontline solution for tackling cyber threats. What is endpoint protection and how does it work?

More connected devices put network security at risk

Advanced endpoint protection platforms have gained traction in large part because of the upsurge in the number of endpoints attached to networks. Any device — servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, smart watches — that has access to a computer network is considered an endpoint.

The pandemic highlighted the importance of enhanced endpoint security, as employees took their corporate laptops home or connected to the corporate network from personal devices. A report from KuppingerCole shows that globally in 2020, endpoints connected to the internet were experiencing 1.5 attacks per minute! Mid-market firms are prime targets for cybercriminals, who understand that these organizations have more limited technology budgets and less formidable defenses than enterprise companies.

Antivirus software is so yesterday

Antivirus software dates back to 1971 when the first computer virus known as the Creeper infected and spread to mainframe computers manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Programmers eventually defeated Creeper using a program dubbed Reaper. Interestingly, Reaper was itself a virus, although one designed for a benevolent purpose.

Endpoint protection solutions evolved from antivirus software — but take protection light years beyond. While antivirus applications help protect individual endpoint connections, they operate in a bubble, protecting just the endpoint and not the entire technology infrastructure. Because of its limited scope and reach, antivirus software alone is no longer a meaningful or effective tool to fight cybercrime. The key difference between traditional antivirus and endpoint protection solutions is that an antivirus application is only as good as the last update. If an attack happens that the antivirus application has never seen, the trojan or exploit may be able to run undetected.

Endpoint protection locks the front and back doors

An EDR system analyzes and protects systems from malware — before, during, and after the attack has taken place — by applying advanced threat detection and artificial intelligence techniques.

Endpoint protection platforms work by monitoring files entering the network, quickly identifying malware and other threats. It then moves to contain and eliminate those threats. The platform also prevents the use of unsafe or unauthorized programs and provides encryption capabilities to protect sensitive information where it is stored and when it is transmitted to another endpoint.

EDRs are dynamic solutions that analyze and react in real-time to thwart attacks before they can occur — and moving to isolate threats rapidly should they breach the firewall. The best platforms also allow the security team to understand how a cyberattack occurred so that they can close any security gaps. Malware attacks may even be able to be reversed in some cases when using EDR, by rolling back to a previous system state.

By relying on machine learning and artificial intelligence, endpoint protection platforms get better and faster at identifying threats over time, increasing their value and effectiveness.

Endpoint protection is only the beginning

While endpoint protection is a critical component of network security, it alone isn’t enough to protect your organization’s data. A Managed Services Provider (MSP) can help you build and maintain a robust security infrastructure that includes endpoint protection along with backup and disaster recovery services, email security services, and more. Why should you consider engaging a Managed Services Provider?

While endpoint protection platforms can certainly be launched and maintained in house, the time and complexity involved in ensuring they perform optimally 24/7/365 means that many companies turn to a Managed Services Provider for guidance and assistance. MSPs can help you select the right endpoint protection platform for your company, deploy and configure the solution, and provide continuous monitoring and updating — along with many other services. An MSP can also help you review and update your information technology policies and procedures surrounding security, ensuring you remain in the best position to protect your organization.

Cybercrime may be the biggest single threat to your business’s profitability. Fighting it effectively requires experienced security experts, carefully designed and executed processes, and the best available tools — including an advanced endpoint protection platform that is monitored 24×7. Learn more about how to protect your organization by connecting with one of the security specialists on Net at Work’s Managed Services team.