Laptops, workstations, smart phones and tablets—just about any device with the capability of connecting to an enterprise network is known as an endpoint. Each of these endpoints has a specific purpose and contributes to an organization’s net productivity in some form or fashion, but there are also times in which they may inadvertently serve as gateways for identified (and unidentified) threats. Such exploits can compromise a network and even infect those assets in its domain. Such business cases create the need for ENDPOINT SECURITY.
What is Endpoint Security?
In the world of computing, the phrase “endpoint security” can refer to an array of counter measures against breaches and hacks—from the adoption of network perimeter security and implementation of strong password policies, to effective end user education, data access logging, and disaster recovery solutions. In the context of network security, however, an endpoint security system refers to an extra layer of defense that reinforces protection, providing the devices of a given enterprise network with additional “hardening.” Its purpose is to lessen the likelihood of cyber attacks and data loss that might otherwise damage an enterprise network when left unaddressed.
How an Endpoint Security System Protects against Malicious Attacks
It goes without saying that most endpoint security systems will usually come with antivirus and spyware protection, enabling them to detect and eliminate a range of threats effectively. These systems also protect end users and devices connected to an enterprise network from other mechanisms which gather sensitive information covertly through the Internet. When it comes to ensuring adequate protection from larger and more malicious cyber attacks, other notable features of an endpoint security system may include:
A host-based firewall for monitoring all incoming and outgoing activities. Unlike network-based firewalls, this solution is installed on each individual endpoint and is often a preferred choice for internal protection;
A Host-based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) to analyze the internals of a computing system for accuracy. A HIDS can also monitor data packets on network interfaces, ensuring that no malicious activity can stealthily bypass firewall protection;
A mechanism for vulnerability assessment. Here, the security discrepancies of an endpoint and network are identified, defined and/or classified; and
Application whitelisting which prevents malicious software from masquerading as legitimate programs.
Safeguarding your Endpoints and Data Assets
Endpoint security is also an important component in helping an enterprise (and its end user devices) store data efficiently and safely. Remote linking, or bridging, between each device streamlines the movement of data to and from the network. This provides extra protection from the likelihood of data theft, breach or loss.
Finally, it is worth noting the importance of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software and strategies. These are also essential features of an endpoint security system—particularly when it comes to stopping data leakages and end user devices from transferring key pieces of information outside the enterprise network. In some instances, DLP may also be configured to bar end user devices from sending and receiving large files via email, free file sharing websites or a public cloud.