What is endpoint security?
Endpoint security is a set of practices and technologies that protect end-user devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile phones from malicious, unwanted software. Employees and team members connect to corporate networks and access resources by using these devices. Organizations must protect these devices to prevent third parties from using them to gain unauthorized entry to networks, applications, and data stores.
What are endpoints in endpoint security?
Endpoints are any devices that connect to and communicate across a network. Switches and routers that connect other computing devices to a network are also considered endpoints.
Security professionals often use the term endpoint devices specifically for remote devices that connect to the internal network from outside the corporate firewall. However, any network-connected device is generally an endpoint, whether it’s remote, on site, mobile, human operated, or automated.
These are some examples of endpoint devices:
- Desktop computers
- Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets
- Wearables such as smartwatches and smart medical devices
- Network peripherals such as printers, scanners, and photocopiers
- Workstations and servers
- Routers and switches
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart sensors and other smart machines
The exponential growth of IoT devices, the increasing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, and the shift to remote and flexible working mean that the number of devices that connect to office networks is only increasing. The greater the number of endpoint devices, the greater the chances of cybercriminals finding a security loophole and launching a cyberattack.
Why is endpoint security important?
Consider a secure office building that allows only employees' cars to enter the office perimeter. If the only security measures are fences, walls, and sturdy gates, an intruder hiding inside an employee's car could sneak into the office building undetected. The office security must ensure security checks for the cars as well.
Similarly, enterprise networks are typically secured through perimeter security controls that place safeguards at the entrance. However, third parties can gain broad access using authorized endpoints to bypass corporate firewalls and other perimeter security controls. When remote employees connect to the corporate network through unsecured home or public networks, unauthorized third parties can do the following:
- Gain broad access to any data that is exchanged between the endpoint and the enterprise network.
- Remotely install malicious software onto enterprise systems.
- Gain broad access to other critical resources and data assets.Endpoint security solutions reduce the risk of such issues.
What are the benefits of endpoint security?
An organization can improve its overall security in multiple ways by implementing endpoint security. The following are some benefits.
Raise awareness among end users
Endpoint protection measures collect information about known and emerging security incidents and raise organization-wide awareness about them. Users get the latest intelligence to secure their devices
Reduce response time
Endpoint security solutions monitor user behavior and flag any unusual activity automatically. You can detect and respond to security incidents much faster.
Support regulatory compliance
Endpoint security can contribute to your overall compliance goals. For example, you can use measures such as data encryption, continuous monitoring, and timely alerts to reduce the risk of inadvertent access to sensitive data.
What types of risks does endpoint security minimize?
A next-generation endpoint security solution helps manage several security risks. We give some examples below:
In phishing, third parties use fraudulent emails or other digital communication to trick employees into revealing sensitive information. Advanced endpoint security solutions incorporate email gateways to identify and quarantine malicious emails, thereby reducing employees’ risk of falling for phishing tactics.
Ransomware is a type of malware that third parties deploy on corporate endpoints to lock users out of the network. They can then demand a ransom payment in exchange for users regaining access. They might also threaten to expose sensitive data.
Endpoint security includes advanced threat detection to identify and stop ransomware before encrypting data or locking users out of their systems. It also offers data encryption features so that third parties cannot inadvertently access sensitive corporate data.
Internal security risks
Internal security risks are risks that an organization’s employees or contractors pose, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Administrators can use endpoint security platforms to enforce the principle of least privilege, so users and their endpoints access only the resources they absolutely need to perform their jobs. Endpoint protection also uses behavioral analytics to detect suspicious user activities and alert administrators about them.
What are the ways you can implement endpoint security?
- Records the activities and events that are taking place on all endpoints
- Analyzes billions of events in real time to detect suspicious behavior automatically
- Provides continuous and comprehensive visibility into what is happening on endpoints in real time
Endpoint protection platform
An endpoint protection platform is a collection of endpoint security technologies that work together to protect your organization’s network. Modern, cloud-based endpoint protection platforms integrate EDR tools, antivirus software, and data encryption technologies.They provide a centralized management console for system administrators to do the following:
- Monitor and manage endpoints.
- Define and implement policies.
- Investigate and respond to security incidents.
How do endpoint security solutions compare with other security technologies?
Network security involves access controls, application security, antivirus software, network analytics, firewalls, encryption, and more. A network security solution includes policies and tools that protect all the assets within the enterprise network boundary.
Endpoint security vs. network security
Network security is an umbrella term that includes a variety of technologies, devices, and processes that you can use to protect the integrity of any computer network. Endpoint security solutions are one part of any organization’s network security.
Traditional antivirus software can be installed on your endpoint device. The software keeps a record of all known malicious programs and detects and contains them.
Endpoint security vs. antivirus software
Traditional antivirus solutions protect a single endpoint device from known malware infections only. For this to work, individual users must keep their traditional antivirus software up to date. On the other hand, endpoint security combines advanced tools and threat intelligence to find and eliminate both known and emerging malware risks. Network administrators can centrally manage endpoint solutions, thereby reducing the risk of security incidents.
How can AWS support your endpoint security?
- Extend the benefits of AWS by using capabilities from familiar solution providers you already trust.
- Count on security tools that are designed for AWS interoperability to follow security best practices.
- Quickly procure and deploy solutions while minimizing business disruptions.
Review guidelines for determining your cloud endpoint security controls and selecting solutions, or discover how to build an endpoint security strategy on AWS. Get started by creating an AWS account today.
Next Steps on AWS
Instant get access to the AWS Free Tier.
Get started building in the AWS management console.