Though spending on cybersecurity creeps ever higher – this year reaching more than $96 billion worldwide – too many businesses are unknowingly compromising their security efforts with mistakes at their endpoints. An endpoint is any device connected to the business network, and by ignoring endpoint security, businesses are essentially placing a welcome mat for cybercriminals hungry for easy data.
However, the issue is generally not an unwillingness to protect endpoints; it is a misunderstanding of how to do so efficiently. In truth, it’s impossible to get endpoint security perfect. Especially in larger organizations, there are too many variables for security teams to juggle for them to ensure that a business will be invulnerable to attack. Still, it is possible to avoid simple mistakes that jeopardize your business. Here are a few ways you can maximize your endpoint security efforts and keep your business as protected as possible.
If you wait for evidence of an attack before you secure your endpoints, you have waited too long. An effective endpoint security suite provides thorough protection, but primarily it serves as a preventative measure. Though some features of endpoint products, like antivirus, quarantining, and eliminating existing threats, the bulk of endpoint protection features are designed to assist with defense and monitoring. If malware (or a worse threat) has already infiltrated one of your endpoints, it is likely spreading to your network – at which point, many of the resources available in security suites are no longer adequate.
The sooner you install endpoint protection on all connected devices, the less likely you will be to experience an attack. Thus, you need to act before cybercriminals recognize your endpoints as viable targets to ensure that your security is efficient.
You don’t know everything about your endpoints – how could you? These days, it is incredibly common for employees to use their own devices to complete work; inside and outside the office, personal mobile devices and computers are logging onto work accounts and using your business’s data. Unless you develop a strong BYOD policy and implement effective endpoint security, it is impossible for you to know even the number of endpoints on your network, let alone the activities of those endpoints.
Asset management and endpoint security go hand in hand. Before you can efficiently protect your endpoints, you need to develop a stable and certain inventory of the devices that connect to your network. The best way to do this is through a security policy that dictates which devices and applications are permitted, who owns what data, and what employees must do to participate in BYOD. Then, as employees begin utilizing the policy, you can install sufficient endpoint protections on each device.
Few businesses want to reallocate resources from money-making endeavors to security, so most opt for set-and-forget solutions — those that they can install and ignore in perpetuity. However, setting and forgetting is essentially ensuring that you aren’t using your solutions efficiently.
Though you should be able to trust your endpoint security provider, you should never blindly trust their products to function perfectly out of the box. You need to routinely verify that the security software is running correctly, protecting your endpoints and network from old and new threats. Top solutions will regularly alert you to potential threats, request your approval for various processes, and contact you with other action points. Effective security, especially effective endpoint security, should never be a passive endeavor.
Speaking of upkeep, you must update your software and your security software most of all. Patches and updates not only provide additional functionality but also close vulnerabilities; in endpoint security terms, that means updates help your programs identify and fight new threats while eliminating potential weaknesses. As soon as a new update appears, you should download and install it on all your endpoints, or else your endpoint security efforts are for naught.
The best way to make endpoint security effective and efficient — to implement solutions before an attack, to know everything about your endpoints, to stay active in your security applications, and to maintain up-to-date programs — is to hire a dedicated security team. If that is out of reach, you must be committed to monitoring and managing your endpoints with comprehensive solutions and routine behaviors. Anything less than diligence will result in a costly data breach, so your business’s security depends on your active participation.