To operate efficiently, businesses today use numerous devices such as laptops, desktop computers, and mobile devices. Securing all these devices—collectively called endpoints—significantly improves the overall security of your enterprise’s IT network. This blog can help you get started with endpoint security.
To begin with, let’s define endpoint security.
Endpoint security, also known as endpoint protection, is a network security approach comprised of a set of processes that identify, prevent, and respond to known and unknown threats. These threats can arise from the various endpoints that connect to a business IT network, which act as gateways for potential exploits or intrusions into the network. Threats can either be malware based or non-malware based, such as data theft or physical damage to hardware components, respectively.
Why endpoint security is crucial to a business IT network
Unsecured endpoints come with a hefty price to pay: The global expenditure for recovering digital and physical assets amounts to $6 million each year. This is directly linked with the failure to implement effective endpoint security measures.
Every organization, regardless of size, has something called a digital perimeter. All devices in an organization’s network, as well as devices that are remotely bridged to the network, are included in this perimeter. The more devices connected to the network, the larger and more porous it becomes, creating multiple points of entry that are vulnerable to infiltration.
An article released by the Ponemon Institute, titled “The Cost Of Insecure Endpoints,” reports that about 63 percent of companies are not equipped to monitor endpoints that are off-network, with 55 percent of all vulnerable endpoints containing sensitive data.
Why you should consider employing an endpoint security solution
1. Every organization and their policies differ.
An increasing number of enterprises have introduced policies such as bring your own device (BYOD) to allow employees to work from home or a remote location. In situations like these, users typically connect to the company’s internal network through the public internet, virtually dissolving the network perimeter and making security breaches more difficult to detect.
2. Meet compliance and regulatory policies.
Failure to meet endpoint compliance policies can damage a company’s reputation and put users’ data at stake. With over 56 percent of companies missing a cohesive compliance strategy, endpoint security can significantly boost companies’ compliance with security standards.
3. Reduce the need for manual endpoint management.
Another important factor to consider is how adopting an endpoint security solution can affect the workforce. Next-generation endpoint protection has seen the rise in automated workflows, making tedious tasks such as threat detection and response less time-consuming.
Let’s examine some common features offered by endpoint protection software in the market today.
What are the common features of endpoint security software?
Endpoint security products incorporate different combinations of the following features:
1. Inventory or asset management
Maintain a comprehensive inventory of all software and hardware assets across the network in real time, and monitor systems throughout the organization.
2. Patch management
Scan systems in the network systematically, identify missing patches, and periodically distribute selected patches to target computers.
3. Data leakage prevention (DLP)
Prevent the transfer of confidential data into peripheral devices like removable USB drives, as well as the intrusion of files from such devices into managed systems. Files containing malware may be transmitted to endpoints if users’ access to peripheral devices are not regulated.
4. Protection against insider threats
Setting up accurate security configurations across systems protects the network from internal breaches. Making hardware components tamper-proof using data encryption helps secure endpoints and protect sensitive data. This feature protects the enterprise’s data from disgruntled employees who might misuse their own privileges in order to cause physical and financial damage.
5. Application blacklisting
Application blacklisting is a security mechanism used to discover unsafe software applications in the network and subsequently control or revoke their installation. Software that has reached its end of life, allows remote desktop sharing, or operates on a peer-to-peer model is considered a potential threat.
6.Control over user privileges
Assigning the correct user permissions or privileges to software present in the network helps protect enterprises from external exploits. In the event of an actual exploit, controlling user privileges also restricts the attacker from affecting other systems in the network.
7. Detection and distribution of antivirus updates
Systematically check if antivirus programs are installed and up-to-date on all systems across the network. Advanced endpoint security products automatically distribute antivirus definition updates to endpoints when new versions are available.
8. Firewall settings management
Yet another crucial component of endpoint security products is filtering traffic going into and out of the network. Firewalls block traffic coming in from untrustworthy sources, and also restrict access to websites based on firewall settings.
How do endpoint security products work?
Endpoint security products can be on-premises or cloud-based.
In either of these, all data, such as patch data or the state of systems, is stored in a central location, like a server. The server machine allows a technician to create or modify security-related tasks from the product console.
This is a simple yet effective solution where the endpoint security program is installed on a network server and manages endpoints from a centralized console. All endpoints use a client program that monitors the state of each system and its security. Once this client program is deployed and set up on all systems, the central server can track and manage endpoints. This type of framework is also known as a client-server model.
In this security approach, the security program is hosted on the cloud. All data processing and storage is done by specialized hardware located inside a data center. This data includes security-related information and the state of endpoints. When the enterprise requires a specific service, it has to subscribe to the service on the cloud platform. The IT admin can set up security tasks, like scanning for vulnerabilities or deploying security configurations, using the cloud platform.
What does Vulnerability Manager Plus have to offer?
ManageEngine Vulnerability Manager Plus is an on-premises endpoint security solution with just the right combination of tools to handle networks with a considerable number of devices connected. Here are some interesting features that make it stand out in the endpoint security space:
1. Security configuration management
With Vulnerability Manager Plus, admins can keep track of firewall settings and detect unused user accounts and open network shares. These features can be found under the dedicated Security Misconfigurations tab.
2. Software vulnerabilities
This feature helps detect and mitigate threats to IT infrastructure. With the intuitive vulnerability trend matrix, users can prioritize their security-related tasks, such as patching, based on the actual risk presented to the enterprise. Vulnerability Manager Plus scans all systems periodically and detects systems with high-risk software present. Users can then choose to uninstall this software from the product console.
3. Patch management
This is a unique feature that makes it convenient for sysadmins to distribute the required patches to systems from a dedicated tab, eliminating the need to patch the systems manually using a separate tool. Vulnerability Manager Plus also enables automating patch-related tasks to minimize workload.
Download your free, 30-day trial of Vulnerability Manager Plus and secure your endpoints today!