SymQuest Blog

What Is Endpoint Security and Why Is It Important?

July 25, 2023 - Cybersecurity & Compliance, Business IT, Vulnerability

What Is Endpoint Security and Why Is It Important?
Matt Weber

Posted by Matt Weber

The business world is digitizing at a rapid rate. Today’s modern organizations rely on a vast network of devices, making cybersecurity a mission-critical business effort.

While, in the past, the focus on cybersecurity has been on enterprise networks, with the growing and widespread use of endpoint devices, the threat landscape is growing — emphasizing the importance of robust endpoint security systems.

Let’s define endpoint security, review the importance of endpoint protection, and learn why a managed cybersecurity approach is essential to protecting data and thwarting attacks in today’s ever-evolving threat landscape.

What Is Endpoint Security?

Businesses of all sizes need to manage a wide array of endpoints. These could include smartphones, laptops, tablets, and any other device that connects to an enterprise network and creates a potential entry point for security breaches. Endpoint security is a comprehensive approach to securing entry points of end-user devices and protects them from security breaches, exploits, and other network malicious threats.

This cybersecurity measure secures each endpoint on a network and blocks access attempts and other risky activities at these points of entry. An endpoint security system will encompass several cybersecurity platform components:

  • Antivirus and Malware Protection - One of the most important aspects of endpoint security, these programs identify, quarantine, and remove malicious software.
  • Firewalls - Firewalls act as a barrier between the internal network and external sources like the Internet. They control and manage network traffic based on security rules.
  • Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS) - IDS monitors network traffic and alerts on threats, while IPS can take action to block the threat.
  • Endpoint Encryption - This refers to security measures that render data unusable unless the user has the proper decryption key. It’s vital for protecting sensitive data.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) - A more advanced component of endpoint protection, EDR solutions monitor endpoints for suspicious activity and respond to threats.

Organizations focused on developing strategic cybersecurity efforts must understand the power the combination of these components offers. A comprehensive approach to endpoint security ensures networks and devices are secure no matter where a user needs access.

How Does Endpoint Security Work?

The primary focus of an endpoint security system is to protect data and workflows across every device that connects to a business network. These systems operate in a dynamic and cyclical process to protect, prevent, respond, and predict.

Endpoint security does this by examining files entering the network and cross-checking them against a broad database of possible threats — which these systems often store on the cloud.

Let’s explore this process in more detail:

  1. The prevention phase involves blocking known security threats.
  2. If a threat bypasses the preventive measures, the response phase activates. 
  3. The response phase will eliminate or mitigate the threat.
  4. If needed, the system is patched of any vulnerabilities.
  5. Finally, predictive technology analyzes threat patterns to reduce the risk of future attacks.

For example, an IT administrator might use endpoint security tools to restrict access to specific sites that are home to malware or other malicious content. Additionally, in the event of a cyberattack, like an employee downloading a malicious file from a phishing email, the endpoint security system will immediately identify the infected endpoint and subsequently quarantine the device from the rest of the network.

Central to these security measures are technologies like EDR and Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR). EDR security solutions do the legwork of monitoring endpoints for abnormal activities and record all endpoint and network events for forensic analysis. These systems will also handle automatic responses to potential malicious activity.

MEDR represents a more advanced approach that outsources monitoring and response to a dedicated team of cybersecurity professionals — but more on that a bit later.

The Growing Need for Endpoint Security

Endpoint security is a mission-critical business effort. Nearly half of C-suite and other executives predict that cybersecurity threats targeting accounting and financial data will only increase in the coming years.

But cyber attacks aren't just increasing in number; they’re also becoming more severe. From ransomware attacks and data breaches to phishing scams and other cyber threats, as the digital landscape grows, attackers are using increasingly sophisticated tactics. This highlights the importance of employing robust endpoint security efforts. 

In the past, an attacker may have targeted central servers or networks themselves. Now, though, with the widespread use of mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, it’s these endpoints that represent the biggest risk for business operations.

This is because these endpoint devices often operate outside the traditional security parameters (i.e., in remote work environments). These devices usually lack stringent security requirements and become an open backdoor to a network. 

Benefits of Endpoint Security

Endpoint security not only helps prevent security breaches, but also promotes operations efficiency. Ransomware attacks alone can cause significant downtime, with downtime from such an attack averaging around 19 days. A successful defense, including an endpoint security solution, can provide businesses protections against long disruptions — which often result in significant financial losses.

Of course, this is just one of the many benefits of endpoint security. Let’s explore several more:

  • Reduced Risk of Data Breaches - Endpoint security systems constantly monitor and protect endpoint devices, detecting and neutralizing threats before they penetrate a network.
  • Regulatory Compliance - With increasing regulations around data security and privacy (e.g., GDPR, CCPA), it's of paramount importance that organizations use endpoint security to maintain compliance and protect customer and employee data.
  • Maintain a Positive Business Reputation - Data breaches and cyberattacks can undermine customer trust. By prioritizing endpoint protection, an organization can display its commitment to protecting privacy and data.
  • Proactive vs. Reactive Approaches - Instead of only reacting to threats as they occur, endpoint security systems offer a more proactive approach that identify and tackle threats before they can cause damage.

Understanding Managed Endpoint Detection and Response

While it’s obvious the impact endpoint security has on everyday business operations and cybersecurity awareness efforts, developing these systems in-house can put a significant strain on IT departments.

Luckily, organizations can easily outsource these essential security tasks to an experienced cybersecurity team by employing a MEDR approach. These cutting-edge security solutions go far beyond traditional firewalls and antivirus programs. A managed EDR service provides the people, processes, and next-generation endpoint protection technologies required to eliminate cyber threats across a company’s endpoints.

With a MEDR solution, cybersecurity professionals handle the installation, configuration, management, and monitoring of a business’s EDR systems. These fully managed solutions can free up time and resources from in-house IT departments so team members can focus on more mission-critical tasks. 

Here are a handful of additional MEDR features:

  • Remediation support
  • Continuous 24/7, 365 monitoring
  • Automatic alert systems
  • Proactive cyber threat detection
  • Next-generation behavioral analytics and reporting

Are You Ready to Advance Your Endpoint Security Efforts?

In today’s interconnected digital world, protecting endpoint devices is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. With escalating threats of increasing severity and the widespread application of mobile devices and remote work, businesses just can’t afford to overlook the need for robust endpoint security.

A proactive approach leveraging the power of managed EDR not only develops a business’ resilience to potential threats, but also ensures overall compliance while preserving a company’s reputation.

The strength of business cybersecurity is only as robust as the weakest endpoint. That’s exactly why business leaders need to understand the importance of pairing with the right cybersecurity partner. This will ensure businesses have the right tools and technologies needed to secure future growth and protect customers, team members, and their bottom line.

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Matt Weber

about the author

Matt Weber

Matt Weber is SymQuest's Security Services Manager. Drawing on over 17 years of experience within the IT sector, Weber is passionate about partnering with businesses the necessary services and solutions to stay ahead of the curve in their security posture to keep the bad actors at bay and their businesses thriving.