Endpoint protection, or endpoint security, is a system or software used to secure endpoint devices. The means of protection can include data encryption, intrusion prevention, email and web content filtering, firewalls, and antivirus solutions, all of which work together to detect malicious activity and prevent attacks or breaches.
Introduction to Endpoint Protection
Compromised endpoints can have a significantly disruptive impact on businesses, and endpoint security software can help to reduce risk.
An endpoint is any device that is a physical ‘end point’ of a network, and can include laptops, desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets, virtual environments, cloud environments and servers, Internet of Things devices, and any other device connecting to the central network.
Endpoint security software has evolved from basic antivirus software to a comprehensive endpoint protection platform (EPP) defending both physical and virtual devices against file-based and fileless malware, evolving threats, and sophisticated zero-day threats. Endpoint protection platforms provide the ability to deploy agents to managed endpoints, such as personal computers, servers and other devices. They often include capabilities such as providing control over software and scripts, web filtering, encryption, and incident investigation. Recent advances in EPPs include the use of behavioural analysis and AI to threat detection capabilities, the ability to detect and remediate fileless malware, and pre-execution and runtime machine learning in order to prevent intrusions.
However, with such a quickly changing threat landscape, 53% of IT security professionals say that traditional endpoint protection products provide inadequate protection against today’s attacks. As the volume and risk of cybercrime has evolved, next-generation unified security management is needed to rapidly detect, block and prevent threats, using machine learning to continuously monitor the threat landscape. SenseOn’s AI-driven cybersecurity monitoring platform not only detects threats but provides a unified view across your estate, to protect your data before it’s too late.
Why is Endpoint Protection Important?
Endpoint security has always been a challenge, but with digital transformation initiatives such as the increase in remote working and ‘bring your own devices’ policies, it has become easier than ever for attackers to penetrate security postures.
Safeguarding an ever-increasing number of endpoints is more important than ever before, with 67% of IT professionals concerned that the use of BYOD devices has harmed their organisation’s security posture. There is a growing need for more effective endpoint security in the modern threat landscape to protect from ransomware, phishing and email-borne threats. In addition, employees connecting to Wi-Fi networks at home and on the go vastly increases the porosity of the network perimeter, exposing companies to even more risk. Personal devices are twice as likely to become infected with malware than business devices.
When the vast number of connected devices in a modern organisation is taken into account (including each phone, laptop, wearable watch and even IoT-enabled smart device), it becomes clear that securing each and every one of these is a significant challenge. Just one poorly defended endpoint or network could be the foothold attackers need to wreak untold damage.
The latest SANS endpoint security survey illustrates some worrying trends. Approximately 37% of respondents had experienced an endpoint access attack in the past 12 months. Identification and containment of attacks rely heavily on visibility into the environment, and this data shows that there are still significant visibility gaps when using traditional approaches. The cost of successful endpoint attacks sits around $8.94 million on average, largely due to information theft and the costs of system downtime.
Given the increased risk, centralized network protection does not go far enough, and instead it is important to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity solution such as SenseOn, which provides a unified and automated alert-based approach to protect against both known and unknown risks across the entire estate.
How Does Endpoint Protection Work?
Endpoint protection, endpoint protection platforms (EPP), endpoint protection solutions and endpoint security are all terms used to describe centrally managed solutions through which administrators can remotely monitor and manage endpoint agents installed on each device.
Endpoint protection platforms (EPP) work by examining files, processes or activities for indications of malicious or suspicious behaviour. As files enter the network, endpoint security solutions look for attack patterns and tactics, to enable threat hunting and in some cases remediation capabilities. Some endpoint security platforms use encryption to encrypt data on endpoints to prevent data leaks. They may also use application control to block or restrict unauthorised applications from acting in a way that could create network vulnerabilities or put data at risk. Extended detection and response, or XDR solutions, also often involve endpoint protection mechanisms in addition to integrating security visibility across an organisation’s IT infrastructure.
A fundamental part of endpoint protection platforms (EPP) are antivirus solutions, which recognize malicious software (known as malware) by their signatures. These solutions search for changes in files or applications which match known patterns of malware, and flag or block these programs. However, antivirus systems only detect endpoint compromise around 40% of the time. In addition, malware attacks are becoming significantly more complex. An average of 80% of successful breaches are now new, unknown ‘zero-day’ attacks. These will not be in any databases of traditional antivirus solutions and will thus be missed by traditional solutions, meaning it is easier than ever for attackers to compromise devices.
Instead of relying on endpoint protection platforms to detect today’s sophisticated attacks, business leaders are increasingly turning to solutions such as SenseOn which help them stay ahead of attackers through automated threat response, threat intelligence integration and machine learning technologies to protect against unknown malware. These next-gen solutions offer significantly more effective protection when compared to traditional, reactive endpoint protection solutions.
Who Needs Endpoint Protection?
Endpoint protection can benefit businesses across all industries and of all sizes. That said, there are a number of factors to consider with endpoint protection software, including:
The number of employees: Although news headlines tend to focus on multi-billion dollar attacks against large enterprises, there is little difference in attack rates between SMBs and large organizations. 47% of SMBs have experienced a ransomware attack, and small organizations tend to lack dedicated security resources or infrastructure to help them recover. Implementing a comprehensive security solution can offer both time savings and cost savings to businesses of all sizes.
Industry: In 2021, the education and research, government, communications and healthcare industries were most commonly targeted by ransomware. These industries may benefit from a stronger focus on cybersecurity solutions, as will industries governed by data security regulations which may impose specific precautions against the theft of personal data, such as retail and healthcare.
Employee and device location: As workforces become more disparate, with an increasing proportion of the workforce working flexibly or remotely, security solutions must be able to secure endpoints and the network no matter how, when or where employees work. 55% of IT professionals consider smartphones to be amongst the most vulnerable endpoints, and with employees using their smartphones when working remotely or on-the-go, it is important to protect against this risk.
IoT device use: As Internet of Things (IoT) devices become increasingly commonplace, especially in industries such as manufacturing where these devices are key to collecting critical production data and efficiency insights, the risk of endpoint breaches increase. A shocking 43% of businesses don’t protect their IoT suite, putting businesses which rely on IoT devices at higher risk of cyber attacks and in need of endpoint protection tools.
Data sensitivity: Many businesses which deal with high-value personal data or intellectual property on a daily basis will find that traditional endpoint security solutions are simply not sufficient, with antivirus solutions missing an average of 60% of attacks. As attack complexity and frequency is only set to increase over the coming years, these organisations must act quickly to protect from data breaches that could pose significant financial and reputational risks.
Selecting the right security tool depends on the needs of your organisation. SenseOn works across sectors and sizes to offer the most comprehensive cybersecurity solution to protect your organisation. Applying a range of detection methodologies and automatically investigating these using AI, SenseOn consolidates tools from traditional security stacks to drive operational efficiency, increase value for money and protect your organisation.
Endpoint Protection vs Antivirus
Although antivirus solutions are a key part of many endpoint protection platforms, there are some differences between the two solutions.
Endpoint vs network security. Traditional endpoint antivirus solutions were downloaded onto each device and offered visibility into only that endpoint. On the other hand, centralized endpoint security software looks at the network as a whole, allowing IT professionals to remotely monitor the endpoint behaviour and resolve any issues.
Virus vs threat protection. Traditional antivirus solutions recognize known virus malware by comparing attacks to a known database via signature-based detection. However, many threats do not use traditional ‘signatures’, are completely novel and not stored in the database, or are not viruses, meaning that businesses relying solely on antivirus solutions are not fully protected against ‘zero-day’ attacks. Endpoint protection solutions are able to offer additional protection against a much wider range of threats, including ransomware and Trojan files, as well as fileless script attacks and signatureless malware.
Key Functions of Endpoint Security Tool
A key function of any endpoint security solution is of course to protect an organization from threats. Ransomware is one of the most prevalent forms of malware, but an excellent endpoint security tool should include the ability to protect against attacks from a wide variety of threat classes, including social engineering, SQL injections, and compromised devices, across multiple endpoint devices at once.
Exploiting undisclosed vulnerabilities is a common attack technique. With vulnerability patching taking on average 97 days, it’s no surprise that attackers rapidly develop malware variants to breach systems through these vulnerabilities. A next-generation endpoint security tool enables visibility into endpoint security and provides prioritized alerts regarding any vulnerabilities.
Email threat protection
According to Sophos, ransomware is most likely to enter an organization via phishing emails with malicious links and emails with malicious attachments, which together account for 45% of attacks. Endpoint security softwares protect email threats by scanning email attachments, analyzing phishing and social engineering attempts targeting employees, and encrypting emails.
SenseOn’s Next-Gen Endpoint Visibility Solution
The main challenges faced by IT professionals in the use of traditional endpoint protection platforms are the high number of false positives and security alerts, inadequate protection, and significant complexity in deployment and management of the solutions. Isolated endpoint solutions simply can’t keep up with the levels of sophistication seen from emerging threats. Rather than siloed systems, organisations need integrated platforms which can adapt to outsmart attackers.
SenseOn is a revolutionary new approach to endpoint security. Unlike traditional security solutions, SenseOn unifies the technologies required to successfully stop breaches and respond to cyber threats, providing you with everything you need to efficiently and effectively protect your environment – all in a single, lightweight, rapidly deployed software solution. The SenseOn platform significantly increases the accuracy of alerts and dramatically reduces false positives.
Network and endpoint coverage
As opposed to a standalone endpoint protection platform, NDR or EDR solution, SenseOn’s universal sensor provides deep correlated visibility of all endpoint traffic (including users and processes both on and off the corporate network or VPN), all network traffic and across cloud infrastructure, within a single piece of software. SenseOn captures telemetry from across multiple layers of the security stack and surfaces all correlated data for threat investigation, enabling rapid detection of vulnerability exploitations. With SenseOn’s Universal Sensor, IT teams can eliminate the need for complex security stacks and gain total visibility into the entirety of their digital estate.
Multiple capabilities in one
SenseOn unifies multiple capabilities (including network, endpoint and central management, threat detection and response) in a single platform. Not only does this significantly reduce the time that cybersecurity analysts at organizations spend trying to manually correlate data sets to perform root cause analysis, it also reduces the costs of pulling network traffic flow logs and data ingestion costs of a SIEM. Above all, the correlated end-to-end visibility provided by the SenseOn platform is used to drive detection capabilities and greatly improve threat detection accuracy and speed. SenseOn enables a single pane of glass view across the estate to provide analysts with the crucial context needed to assess the breadth and severity of threats as they come in, in a single data format.
SenseOn is the first and only cybersecurity solution to be able to perform deep packet inspection at the endpoint, all across the network through a single piece of software, enabling the detection of advanced threats across any infrastructure, including multi-public cloud, virtualized infrastructure, containers, remote workers and on premise infrastructure. With SenseOn, security teams can now create meaningful and detailed network maps to gain visibility into their entire organization’s posture. By searching for suspicious patterns and anomalies, analysts can detect threats before they impact the business. With SenseOn, security analysts can focus on the events that matter to them most through easy-to-use query templates, data summarisation and rich visualisations. SenseOn is an AI powered platform that scales to any size, enables security analysts to hunt for threats across multiple silos in real time, and helps teams find threats in minutes instead of weeks.
SenseOn’s live incident response service enables analysts to quickly respond and remediate or contain threats, without any direct interference on the network infrastructure, providing an ability to stop and eliminate live attacks in real time. SenseOn’s mission is to proactively protect, with our immediate threat response, forensic level investigations and complete incident reduction acting to reduce business risk and sustain a zero breach environment.
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