There is a lot of talk about endpoints when referencing cybersecurity services for networks. What is an endpoint, and what crucial role does endpoint security play in helping businesses to protect critical systems, intellectual property, and other sensitive data on their networks?
Endpoints represent key vulnerable points of entry targeted by cybercriminals. They can include desktops, Internet-of-things (IoT) devices, laptops, servers, Smartphones, tablets, and workstations. Cyber attackers direct their attention to endpoints, executing malicious code and exploiting vulnerabilities. They also focus their efforts on encrypted, exfiltrated, or leveraged assets.
Workforces are becoming more mobile with each passing year. Smartphones and other mobile devices act as portable workspaces that can travel offsite with employees, increasing productivity, communication, and collaboration with teammates. Endpoints are targeted in some of the following ways:
- As entry and exit points to valuable assets and information stored on an organization’s network
- To access assets on the endpoint and hold them “hostage” as part of a ransomware attack
- To take control of a device and use it to execute a Denial of Service (DoS) attack
What Is Endpoint Security?
Endpoint security is exactly as it sounds. It is cybersecurity services to protect endpoints from hackers looking to exploit them. It works by allowing system administrators to control security for endpoints using policy settings. For example, a government agency’s system administrator could block access to websites known to distribute malware and malicious content from government-owned devices.
With the convenience of digitalization comes the greater risk of exploitation of data for nefarious purposes. That is why endpoint security is crucial for all businesses, regardless of size. Smaller businesses may have a false sense of security in thinking hackers will forgo their systems in favour of larger companies and corporations. The fact is smaller companies make better targets because cybercriminals know they often are lacking in adequate endpoint security, making the job of infiltrating their networks easier.
Comprehensive endpoint security defends physical and virtual devices and their users against multi-vector attacks. Analyzing files and executables while using behavioural heuristics in real time is the ideal way to provide adequate protection against today’s cyber threats.
Endpoint Security Strategies
Remote work is gaining popularity due to the global pandemic. With more companies shifting to working remotely, there is a greater need than ever to re-evaluate compliance, security, and risk-management practices. Employees are accessing corporate data and sensitive materials from home and from personal devices, increasing the risk of hacking and data leaks.
The changing world of web threats, combined with the increasing number of remote workers, demonstrates the ineffectiveness of some endpoint security strategies. Signature-based antivirus protection is increasingly exploited by hackers. Cloud-based endpoint solutions are more effective and include faster endpoint performance, lower IT costs, and protection against the latest malware without the need for downloading large virus signature files. Microsoft Endpoint Manager is a cloud-based endpoint security option that is gaining traction.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Microsoft Defender ATP Modernize Endpoint Security
Antivirus programs are just one facet of endpoint security. For years, organizations relied on antivirus software to secure endpoints. As cybersecurity risks increased to include ransomware, phishing, and malware, it became clear that conventional antivirus was not enough to protect endpoints.
Now, there are Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Microsoft Defender ATP to deliver powerful solutions to endpoint management and endpoint security in a seamless Microsoft 365 experience. These solutions combined give you sophisticated tools to help protect all your endpoints against cyberthreats.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager delivers modern solutions to security and endpoint protection. It effectively incorporates the tools and services companies and their employees already are using, including:
- Microsoft Intune for mobile device and operating system management
- Configuration Manager for managing large groups of computers running Windows NT, Windows Embedded, macOS, Linux, or UNIX
- Desktop Analytics for evaluating the update-readiness of devices running Windows
- Co-Management for unlocking additional cloud-powered capabilities
- Windows Autopilot to set up and pre-configure new devices
These components are part of the Microsoft 365 stack to help secure access, protect data and respond and manage risk.
An additional benefit of Microsoft Endpoint Manager is its allowance for managing both Intune and SCCM administrative tasks in one convenient location, called the Microsoft Endpoint Manager Admin Center. From here, IT admins can manage devices on-site and remotely to reduce risks and increase the employee experience.
Microsoft rebranded Windows Defender ATP to Microsoft Defender ATP in order to reflect the fact that the product is now available on other operating systems such as macOS, Linux and Android. Microsoft Defender is an integrated suite of pre and post breach protection to help IT and security teams scale and operate efficiently.
Microsoft Defender ATP detects and remediates automatically advanced attacks on your endpoints thanks to the following capabilities:
- Threat and Vulnerability Management: Continuously discover vulnerabilities and misconfiguration in real time.
- Tools to surgically reduce the attack surface: Helps remove risky attack vectors and restricts dangerous code from running.
- Next-generation protection to block threats and malware: Leverages machine learning and deeps analysis to block fileless and file-based threats in real time.
- Endpoint detection and response to detect advanced attacks: Monitors attackers and behaviours methods to identify and respond to advanced threats in real time.
- Automated investigation and remediation of threats: Automatically investigate alerts and remediate sophisticated treats in minutes leveraging artificial intelligence.
- Managed threat-hunting service: Provides expert level monitoring and support to help security operation center (SOC) respond to critical threats.
Choose the Experts in Endpoint Security Management
Trusting your endpoint security to outdated antivirus software or, worse yet, nothing at all, is a recipe for disaster. Softlanding’s IT experts provide professional and managed IT services that include endpoint security strategy and real-time protection.
As a Microsoft Gold partner, we can deploy and implement Microsoft Defender ATP and Microsoft Endpoint Manager as part of a comprehensive endpoint security strategy for your organization. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss how our services align with your endpoint security needs.