Up until early 2019, a vast majority of the business world looked very much the same all over the globe. It mostly consisted of employees showing up to an office and using the company’s equipment from 9 to 5. It’s true that remote work, BYOD, and hybrid office arrangements have existed for a while now, which naturally made endpoint security a much higher priority than it had been previously. Yet, although those arrangements represented a smaller segment of operations than that of the physical workplace, the corporate world was still barely keeping up. Data breaches, viruses, ransomware, and more were happening frequently.
Fast forward to today and all of those external operations have increased exponentially to a point no one would have imagined possible just 2 years ago. And while we know we’re going to be facing a new normal, it’s still not certain what that is going to look like, mostly because it will probably look a little different for everyone. But over 90% of organizations plan to or have already adopted a formal telework policy, as opposed to barely a quarter of employers with such policies in place before the pandemic. That means there are more reasons than ever before why endpoint security is important.
Every one of your endpoints is a doorway your employees use to access your corporate network. With so many more people working remotely, it’s become a lot more difficult for IT departments to protect devices outside the physical perimeter. Just like house burglars, cybercriminals look for the weakest defenses, so the security of any organization is only as strong as its weakest link. Unfortunately, endpoints such as laptops, tablets, smartphones – and now home computers – are easy targets.
Inside the workplace, there are many security measures in place to protect against infiltration and data breaches. If any one of them fails, there are usually alerts to indicate potential threats at various points in the system, not to mention other fail-safe measures. Home computers and mobile devices will be easier to infiltrate since they don’t always have the powerful security of a physical corporate network.
The Human Factor
In an office setting, all of the computers are kept secure by the same measures. Unless comparable endpoint measures are put into place, computers and devices outside of the office are only as secure as users will make them. Employees who aren’t very tech-savvy will be less likely to implement the strongest security practices on their own.
Even when a company has policies in place to limit what their employees are allowed to do with their work equipment, chances are that at least one will be bending the rules somewhat. Whether they’re checking social media or their bank account, accessing any website outside of the company network exposes the whole system to cyber threats. All it takes is for one person to open a malicious attachment or fall for a phishing attempt to put the entire network at risk. Only endpoint security measures can prevent malware from infiltrating the corporate network in those instances.
A 2020 Ponemon Institute study found that in just the previous 12 months, a full 68% of organizations saw their IT infrastructure and/or data compromised by successful endpoint attacks. The attacks can take any number of forms, including malicious scripts and macros, as well as Trojans, ransomware, and more. Even worse, cyber threats are constantly evolving. As soon as protection is created against one, another soon pops up. And every home computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other mobile device provides an entry point for attack.
A network security system that is designed to work as a whole will be much stronger, with fewer weak spots. When a multitude of devices all have different software updates and can’t be constantly monitored, it is impossible to confirm that the proper security measures are functioning as they should be. Just a single weak endpoint may result in a security breach. When endpoint security solutions are consistent among devices and integrated into the whole, it is much easier to maintain the integrity of a network.
The financial losses associated with data breaches can be prohibitive, so the primary goal of endpoint security is to prevent data from being lost or compromised. This is particularly important for organizations that have many remote employees going to multiple locations. However, there is another critical aspect of data management that endpoint security addresses, and that is data tracking.
When multiple people have not only access to data but also the ability to make changes, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to determine exactly who has done what and why. This can be a matter of security, so endpoint solutions are capable of tracking everyone who accessed data, as well as whether they made any changes and what those changes were.
Benefits of Endpoint Security
With so much more work being done remotely, there are so many more endpoints in use. And, each one has the potential to render the security of the entire corporate network more vulnerable. The goal of endpoint security is to protect every single endpoint that is connected to a network by blocking all attempts to access them and prevent these points of entry from being used for any type of risky activity. There are many benefits to achieving that level of security, but they all contribute to the top three.
There is no question that there is a very steep cost to security breaches. It’s bad enough if customer data is leaked. But if trade secrets or other types of intellectual property are compromised, it could actually lead to a company closing. There is also the cost of ransomware attacks, as well as repairing affected hardware and software.
When endpoint security solutions are in place, IT personnel and managed service providers have more time to attend to their main responsibilities of preventing and managing online threats, as well as keeping all equipment up and running securely.
Endpoint security can make it easier for industries with the strictest regulations regarding data security, such as government contractors, healthcare, and more, to remain in compliance.
How Can Microsoft Defender for Endpoints Help?
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a cloud-based holistic endpoint security solution. It offers enterprise-wide protection to endpoints that will not only prevent and detect attacks but will also automatically investigate and respond to possible breaches in your security. The platform contains a host of powerful features, including the ability to discover misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in real time, expert-level monitoring and analysis of threats, running attack simulations and much more.
The fact is, large businesses have quite significant security issues as often as every 12 hours, and centralized security solutions are simply no longer up to the task of protecting all of the many devices connecting to corporate networks. If you would like more information on why endpoint security is important to your business and what type of protection would best suit your needs, please contact Softlanding for a consultation. We look forward to helping you keep your organization safe.