Network Security VS Endpoint Security
Cyber attacks, such as the 2018 SingHealth cyber attack, affect 556 million victims per year. This amounts to 1.5 million victims per day and 18 victims per second!
So how does your company protect your data from such potential attacks?
Well, your company is most likely using an enterprise grade physical firewall.
What is a firewall?
An enterprise grade physical firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules.
Firewalls have thus been the first line of defense in network security for over 25 years.
Is having a firewall enough?
However, nowadays, more and more employees are either working from home or hot desking. Thus, laptop usage is becoming more ubiquitous. This causes their laptop device traffic to not be routed through their company’s main business network, which results in insecure transmission of data and openness to possible infections.
Thus, having a firewall is not enough!
Here are 3 other reasons why having a firewall is not enough to protect your organization:
- Most exploits are delivered via the web and email, and both are allowed through firewalls
- Today’s exploit kit automatically morphs malware so that it is not detectable by antivirus
- Firewalls do not stop outbound data theft
This is where endpoint security comes into play. By recognizing endpoints as the new network perimeter, companies can now prevent outside infections from being transmitted into the network. Furthermore, in many cases, it’s easier to detect suspicious code on an end-user device.
Endpoints are at the Heart of Cyber Attacks
Vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and credentials. These are the 3 categories attackers exploit to get onto your corporate network.
Whether is it stealing cloud service credentials, or exploiting vulnerability on a misconfigured internet-facing asset, compromising an internal asset is a momentous milestone for any intruder.
The reason is simple: endpoints are at the heart of every modern cyber attack!
Hackers commonly use endpoints as an entry point for an attack since being connected to users makes them vulnerable by nature. In addition, the fact that endpoints are linked to each other allows hackers to laterally move across other machines in the organization they’re attacking.
So once an endpoint is compromised, the attacker can then:
- Access sensitive confidential data available to that asset
- Eavesdrop on network traffic
- Steal credentials from memory
- Abuse trusted communication protocols
- Attempt lateral movement to other, more privileged assets on the network
For this reason, monitoring and managing your endpoint is necessary to ensure the security of your company’s data.
But first, why is it called ‘endpoint’?
The fundamental knowledge you need to know is that every device that can connect to a network, poses a considerable danger.
Furthermore, as these devices are placed outside of the corporate firewall on the edge of the network, using which individuals have to connect to the central network, they are known as endpoints, aka endpoints of that network.
The ‘endpoint’ in this case is hence any end-user desktop computers or laptops, that can be connected to a network.
What is Endpoint Security?
With the rise of laptop usage, there has been a sharp increase in the number of devices being lost or stolen as well. This in turn translates to a huge amount of sensitive enterprise data being lost as well!
To tackle this issue, enterprises thus have to secure the enterprise data available on their employee’s laptops in such a way that even if the device were to fall into the wrong hands, the data will stay protected.
This process of securing enterprise endpoints is known as endpoint security.
Endpoint Security refers to the approach of protecting a business network when accessed by remote devices like laptops and desktops.
Installed on all network servers and all endpoint devices, Endpoint Security thus includes monitoring status, software, and activities.
Why is it important?
Endpoint Security helps enterprises prevent any misuse of enterprise data which has been made available on their employee’s desktop computers or laptops.
For example, a disgruntled employee who is unhappy with his boss might try to create some hiccups to the enterprise by misusing the enterprise data available on his laptop.
Here are 5 benefits of using Endpoint Security:
1. Maximize security in a complex IT environment
As the number of devices on your network grows, endpoint management becomes more complex and dynamic. Endpoint Monitoring and Management (EMM) thus makes it easier for IT managers to gain visibility into suspicious activity across all endpoints, analyze its activity, and immediately take corrective action if anything were to surface.
2. Have a centralized view over all devices
With Endpoint Security, IT managers can view every network endpoint and identify the applications (and potentially unwanted programs) on each desktop computer or laptop all from within one system. Comprehensive dashboards provide IT Managers with real-time information that shows where a threat came from, what the threat looks like, and where it went.
3. Protection against Malware
Your company may already use a firewall or antivirus software, which are both great weapons in your defense arsenal for protecting users while they’re online.
However, the only problem is that a firewall won’t stop Malware gaining access via an external device plugged into your network; and antivirus software only reacts to viruses but doesn’t necessarily block access to your network.
Endpoint security software thus proactively monitors your network, paying special attention to the weak points where external devices connect!
4. Saves time & money in the long-run
Dealing with the aftermath of a security issue or hack costs time and money, particularly if your reputation takes a hit.
Spending a little more on an Endpoint Security solution right now hence saves you that time and money in the long run!
5. Prevents excess server downtime
More often than not, when a device compromises your network, the result isn’t an influx of hackers into your system. Instead, you’re likely to find yourself fighting off Malware. And excess demands on the server’s resources from this malware can then lead to downtime.
This might prevent you from dealing with technical support or customer service issues, which in turn translates to unhappy and frustrated customers.
Hence, a robust endpoint security helps to prevent such a problem!
To help secure your network, make sure your endpoints are secure. Then make sure your network security is in place to complement your endpoint protection.