Nothing stays the same in technology, not even our traditional security tools. Case in point: Anti-virus and anti-malware tools are now being overtaken by a new concept called endpoint security. It can be difficult to understand what this is. There are also multiple terms that are used interchangeably for it, like endpoint protection (EPP) and endpoint detection and response (EDR).
Endpoint Security: What and Why?
Endpoint security is the next level of protection beyond traditional anti-virus. It is an approach that aims to secure every aspect of a network by monitoring its behavior and endpoints.
Let’s back up a moment. What is an endpoint? Endpoints are servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, wireless devices, and anything else connected to the network.
The extent of your endpoints determines your digital perimeter, or the edges of your network. It’s easy to keep track of your perimeter when your endpoints are servers, workstations, and typical network hardware. It’s harder to understand and secure that perimeter when your endpoints expand to include an array of mobile devices with network access. And consider what happens when remote workers take their company devices to home offices – a very common scenario today.
Every device connected to a network provides a potential entry point for hackers and intruders. Endpoint protection, or more specifically endpoint detection and response (EDR), helps in detecting and investigating suspicious activities across all the endpoints of your digital perimeter. This system of tools works by monitoring network and endpoint activity and then storing information for analysis, investigation, and reporting.
How is Endpoint Security Different from Anti-Virus?
First of all, endpoint security is a system of tools and solutions that can include anti-virus. It is a comprehensive approach to securing the entire network. Compare this to an anti-virus solution, which is a single tool that aims to protect the single device that the anti-virus program is installed on. Anti-virus is a knife, but endpoint security is an entire weapons cache. Which would you rather take into a strategic battle?
One of the major differences between these two is that endpoint security solutions can detect a broader range of threats proactively. Anti-virus is signature based, whereas endpoint security is behavior based.
Signature-based protection works when a threat already has an “ID” that can be recognized. This means traditional anti-virus and anti-malware are very reactive. They are not as effective against unknown, emerging, or adaptive (polymorphic) threats, which by their nature are not “ID’d” yet.
But endpoint security looks at behavior. The system is looking for broader characteristics of suspicious behavior in the endpoint devices’ processes, traffic, and activity. Essentially, it is looking for the results or symptoms of an attack. Therefore, endpoint security can detect emerging and unknown threats because it is looking for characteristics rather than specifics.
Features & Benefits of Endpoint Protection
Endpoint security systems have capabilities and advantages that traditional anti-virus lacks:
- Comprehensive data collection
- Continuous monitoring of endpoints
- Investigation and incident response
- Insight into anomalies and vulnerabilities
- Real-time response (able to cut off attacks in initial stages)
- Comprehensive view of attacks across the entire network
- Good for detecting targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats
- Centrally managed
- Improved detection and remediation response times
- Suitable and adaptable to remote workers and BYOD programs
One of the incredible benefits of endpoint security that we want to stress is this: It allows you to ask what’s happened in the past and what is happening now across all your endpoints. This is vital information. You need to know if you have been attacked or breached. You need to have data for incident response and investigation. Anti-virus simply cannot tell you this.
Do You Need to Upgrade to EPP or EDR?
As we’ve explained here, traditional anti-virus is limited in scope. Cybersecurity threats are now evolving past the point that anti-virus can cope with. This doesn’t mean anti-virus is completely obsolete. But it does mean anti-virus isn’t enough anymore.
Endpoint security is the solution to the ever evolving and increasing complexity of cybersecurity. It is a more advanced security solution that can address the growing volume and sophistication of cybersecurity threats. Endpoint protection is also better suited to protecting the growth of personal and mobile devices on a corporate network.
If the complexity of your IT environment has grown past the point where it’s feasible to protect it with anti-virus, then endpoint security is the next step. In addition, every organization needs to consider the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks, and endpoint security is also the next step in protection.
Looking to upgrade your security protection? OXEN Technology is now offering a complete endpoint protection solution to replace traditional anti-virus. Endpoint protection can also replace the anti-virus/anti-malware features in your managed services or Essentials agreements.
Contact us today by email or at 888.296.3619 to discuss how this can improve your security posture.