Keeping your small or medium-sized business (SMB) safe from cyberattacks and internal threats is a gargantuan task that requires coherent cybersecurity processes for it to work. One such process is endpoint protection or endpoint security, the practice of securing end-user devices like desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
Why is endpoint protection important?
An endpoint is any device connected to an often internet-facing network. The term covers any smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers that your staff use to do critical tasks, communicate with each other, or store files. Endpoints can contain sensitive data, or they can be key to accessing valuable information, thus making them highly attractive targets to cybercriminals. Endpoint protection aims to safeguard such devices from any unauthorized entity who might want to get their hands on them.
What are the best endpoint security tools for SMBs?
There are several technologies that you can implement to ensure endpoint protection. Here are five your SMB shouldn’t do without.
1. Antivirus (AV) software
Antivirus programs detect and remove common malware such as viruses, Trojans, ransomware, keyloggers, and worms by scanning any downloaded file or program for malicious codes. However, malware attacks are growing exponentially in scale and sophistication, which makes it impossible for AVs to keep up. Threats are also becoming fileless or signature-less, enabling them to bypass AVs with ease.
That said, AVs are still highly effective at detecting simple threats. They are the original endpoint protection tool, and it still pays to use them in combination with more advanced security solutions.
2. Endpoint detection and response (EDR)
EDR solutions are smarter and more proactive than antivirus software. They monitor networks continuously, record endpoint-system-level behaviors, and use various data analytics techniques, enabling them to detect suspicious system behavior and learn from previous attacks. On top of these, they can provide remediation suggestions to restore compromised systems.
EDR solutions have four primary capabilities: security incident detection and investigation; suspicious activity validation; data exploration or threat hunting; and malicious activity containment or remediation. These increase user data visibility and enable administrators to respond to threats in real-time, effectively mitigating the effects of security breaches. And with their ability to integrate with other technologies, EDR solutions are a must-have in any endpoint security strategy.
3. Application control
Application control does exactly as its name suggests: it controls an application’s permissions and dictates what it can or cannot do. It does so by classifying applications as safe or unsafe, thereby creating whitelists (permitted apps), blacklists (blocked apps), and greylists (apps whose permissions are temporarily rejected until they’re properly authorized). With even the smallest businesses embracing cloud technologies in their day-to-day operations, being able to limit web-based, cloud-based, and third-party applications proves essential.
4. Endpoint encryption
Every organization stores valuable data in various devices, services, or applications, including mobile phones, network drives, USB sticks, or the cloud — all of which are vulnerable to security attacks. What endpoint encryption does is scramble stored data so that it becomes unreadable and unusable to unauthorized users who wouldn't have the correct decryption key. This means that even if a cybercriminal gains access to an endpoint, encryption will prevent them from viewing, stealing, or copying data.
5. Internet of Things (IoT) security
The Internet of Things is a network wherein physical objects (“things”) such as phones, security systems, and appliances are able to exchange information with each other via the internet. But with interoperability comes vulnerability. Manufacturers of IoT products don’t usually place strong protections on them, so the responsibility of keeping them secure often falls on the entity that uses them.
Some experts argue that investing in IoT security is business-critical because doing so allows you to better monitor your IoT devices. IoT security also takes automatic and immediate action if any of these devices are compromised and easily scales up your cybersecurity when you need to.
Endpoint protection suites with a managed IT services provider
A managed IT services provider (MSP) can help you develop a comprehensive strategy that integrates various endpoint protection tools to provide you with a more holistic approach to cybersecurity instead of disparate and isolated solutions.
At Complete Technology, we offer a wide host of services, including early detection, patch management, application and device controls, and web threat protection for an all-inclusive price. Learn more about how we can keep your business completely secure: download our FREE eBook now.