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Why Endpoint Security Matters to Your Network

By: Blair Felter on June 18, 2020

As enterprise networks have become more sophisticated, the strategies deployed to keep them secure have also grown in complexity. Where a company’s network used to exist in a relatively isolated environment within an office, today’s networks are integrated with public cloud computing platforms and communicating with a variety of wireless devices. The cybersecurity field has branched into a number of specialties to deal with the specific problems posed by different elements of network security architecture. Endpoint security is one of the most important of these subsets.

What is Endpoint Security?

From the standpoint of network design, an endpoint is any device that forms a physical end of the network. A desktop or laptop computer, a server, a smartphone, and a tablet can all be considered endpoints, but the term also applies to virtualized environments like a virtual machine or container. Generally speaking, an endpoint is also the place where users interact with the network and access the data and applications stored there.

Endpoint security, then, refers to any process or software used to keep those devices secure and prevent unauthorized network access. It can take many shapes depending upon the nature of the device. For instance, antivirus software installed on a computer is a form of endpoint security, but so too is a smartphone’s multifactor authentication.

Why Endpoint Security Actually Matters to Your Network

As the primary access points of any network, endpoints represent one of the greatest vulnerabilities in any network security architecture. With more organizations extending their networks to facilitate remote work arrangements and permitting employees to bring and use their own devices in the workplace, endpoint security has become even more important.

Traditionally, companies have managed endpoint security on an individualized basis or not at all. That meant it was difficult to track what devices were joining or accessing the network over time, much less monitor what they were doing while they were logged in. The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices capable of connecting to multiple networks over time poses far too great of a risk to organizations to allow this approach to continue. All it takes is one device infected with malware to create a massive security incident.

That’s why many enterprises have opted to implement dedicated endpoint security software that provides a centralized model for analyzing and managing every endpoint within the system. Rather than managing every endpoint individually, these security solutions use single sign-on interfaces to handle configurations and updates of multiple network endpoints.

8 Valuable Endpoint Security Solutions

Endpoint security can get rather complex very quickly because there are many different approaches to securing devices within the network. It’s a different approach than traditional cybersecurity perimeter techniques, which emphasize router and firewall security. Here are a few different ways endpoint security solutions can be implemented:

1. Endpoint Encryption

Data stored on endpoints is particularly vulnerable because it spends most of its time at rest and can be easily accessed by anyone with the right credentials (whether they’re supposed to have them or not). By encrypting data stored within endpoints, the likelihood of a data breach can be reduced significantly.

2. Sandboxing

An isolated and secure environment that resembles the network’s operating system, a sandbox can be used to monitor potential threats before they have a chance to come into contact with the rest of the network. Routing enterprise traffic through a sandbox endpoint is an effective way to screen users and applications before they’re admitted into the core network.

3. Application Control

A very effective form of endpoint security, application control uses established lists to manage what applications can and cannot do once they’re inside the network. This ensures that even if a malicious or compromised program gets inside the perimeter, it won’t be able to execute and cause damage.

4. Zero Trust Network Access

Many networks are designed with the implicit assumption that anything in the network is actually supposed to be there, which leaves them vulnerable to malicious applications and hackers that manage to get through the perimeter security. Once the intruder is in, they can easily move laterally through the network to access whatever they want. With zero-trust security, user credentials are narrowly defined, limiting what assets and data can be accessed based on factors like job function and the device being used.

5. URL Filtering

A fairly simple form of endpoint security, URL filtering restricts the websites that a device is allowed to access while connected to the network. This limits the risk that a user will inadvertently encounter harmful scripts, malware, and tracking cookies. URL filtering can also be used to monitor what is being downloaded on endpoint devices.

6. Endpoint Detection and Response

A more comprehensive cybersecurity solution, endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools monitor all files and applications on endpoint devices to identify and mitigate potential threats quickly. They provide granular visibility and forensic analysis capabilities that generate a comprehensive picture of how the way people are using endpoint devices could be increasing organizational risk.

7. IoT Security

Today’s endpoint security challenges go far beyond laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With so many devices capable of connecting to the internet wirelessly, many organizations need to develop a plan to deal with IoT devices that often lack anything in the way of built-in security protections. No one wants to learn that a costly data breach was the result of no one thinking to secure an aquarium thermostat.

8. Antivirus Software

A tried and true solution, antivirus software may not be as exciting as other forms of endpoint security, but it can still go a long way toward protecting an organization from data breaches and cyberattacks. While antivirus software should never be the only security measure an enterprise deploys to secure its endpoints, these programs can identify and mitigate a huge range of known cyberthreats.

Data Centers: The Ultimate Endpoint

Today’s organizations have to get cybersecurity right when it comes to their valuable data and applications. That’s why many of them have chosen to place their most vital assets within a secure data center environment. vXchnge data centers are engineered for perfection and dedicated to delivering maximum protection to our customers’ colocated assets. From top-of-the-line physical and logical security measures that regulate access to our facilities, we also give customers extensive access control through the innovative in\site intelligent monitoring platform. Not only can colocation customers monitor the status (and location) of their assets at any time, but also grant or restrict access remotely to keep their vital data and equipment secure. To learn more about how vXchnge can help secure your server endpoints, contact one of our colocation experts today.

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