The 2021 statistics on cyberattacks were exceedingly grim.
2021 saw the highest average cost of a data breach in 17 years, with the price rising from $3.86 million to $4.24 million annually. Cybercriminals are not just going after the big fish either; Since 2019, mid-size businesses are 490% more likely to have a cybersecurity breach.
One of the biggest drivers of the surge has been the increase in the remote workforce. Employees are connecting to their organization's network from new devices (commonly referred to as endpoints). Each additional endpoint represents another threat to your organization's entire network security, giving cybercriminals yet another access point.
Given the fluid nature of remote working and the increase of personal devices used for work purposes, now is an excellent time to discuss your organization’s endpoint security measures.
What Is Endpoint Security?
“Endpoint” is an umbrella term for devices that communicate back and forth with a network. The list of potential endpoints doesn’t end at mobile phones and laptops – it’s quite extensive and includes products like:
- Medical devices
- Industrial machines and more.
Endpoint security centers on protecting those vulnerable endpoints from being exploited by malicious actors and campaigns (especially the ones you didn’t realize made the list!)
What Does Endpoint Security Include?
Like many smart organizations, we bet you already have a firewall and some form of anti-virus protection in place. But here’s the problem — those won’t be enough to take on attacks from your employees’ endpoint devices.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals continue to become more sophisticated. This means standalone cybersecurity software is no longer the only security solution required to keep a corporate network and its devices safe. For an effective strategy, multiple layers of protection are needed.
Endpoint security consists of comprehensive tools that defend the users, devices, and networks from rapidly changing, multi-vector cyber threats. Using advanced software (which can include cloud-based products) and expert security management to not only detect attempted attacks, but prevent future ones as well.
Why Is Endpoint Security Important Now?
Because of the remote working revolution, available targets for cyber threats continue to increase – and so do potential threats. Without endpoint security protecting the influx of devices accessing your network, you’re putting your valuable information at risk.
And now, with so many people working in different environments and potentially without proper cybersecurity training, the possibility for human error is higher than ever.
According to a study by Verizon, 85% of data breaches involved “human error,” or the accidental actions of employees that enable malware or viruses to spread. This can encompass anything from clicking on a malicious link to introducing unknown USBs to employee devices.
Without proper cybersecurity training or digital vigilance, your employees could easily allow cybercriminals access to your organization’s most vulnerable information. Endpoint security is intended to keep your corporate devices protected, even in the face of human error.
The Role of Endpoint Security in a Layered Approach
Endpoint security itself is no longer just deploying a simple anti-virus (AV) solution. Legacy AV tools only protect you from known viruses, and often need to be consistently updated. In the past, when a user would delay an update, that device would become vulnerable to a new known risk. For many next-generation antivirus solutions, signature database updates are now cloud-based. Not only do signature updates populate in real-time, protecting your endpoints from both known and unknown threats is advanced thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence features.
Another key player in corporate security, Firewalls, had long been the standard for businesses with employees traditionally working onsite on the same network. Unfortunately, today, firewalls aren’t a “silver bullet” solution, as the network perimeter is no longer the primary entry point for attackers. As more people are working offsite and accessing company data on unfamiliar, unprotected networks, everyone’s devices and information are at risk.
Firewalls and standalone security tools are simply one layer of modern and effective cybersecurity protection. Robust endpoint security stops the widest range of attacks with a combination of next-generation malware prevention, cloud-delivered endpoint protection, and device encryption to protect sensitive data and fight off the risks of user-error.
Without a solid set of protections directly on endpoint devices, the risk to your organization increases exponentially when a device leaves the perimeter of your corporate network. When an employee takes their company device to work from a public network (like a coffee shop or shared working space), it becomes easier for cybercriminals to bypass basic security measures and get their hands on your data.
Choosing Endpoint Security Providers
There’s certainly no shortage of endpoint security providers on the market – but which one should you choose?
Ideally, you’re looking for a managed services provider who offers trained experts working with high-quality, vetted endpoint security software and solutions.
Yes, it’s an option to invest only in software – but that leaves you and your employees in charge of monitoring its efficacy without a team to speak to in case of an emergency. That can be an overwhelming ask for anyone unfamiliar with cybersecurity software.
Unfortunately, overlooking security for your endpoint devices simply isn’t an option, and doing so will inevitably cost your business a good deal of time and money. With the help of an experienced team behind you, your organization won’t have to worry about the safety of your important information and credentials.
Need a hand?
At Ascend Technologies, we offer innovative cybersecurity solutions and comprehensive endpoint security services. Our goal is to optimize our clients’ security infrastructure while maintaining, monitoring, and managing day-to-day operations.
If you’re looking to level up your cybersecurity protection, talk to one of our experts today.