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How you can best protect your endpoints

Every business is a potential target for cyber-attacks, which has become more possible with the increased use of remote devices as organizations make the shift to hybrid work environments and cloud-based computing. As this is predicted to continue in the future, protecting devices or endpoints will need to be a number one priority for companies.

When it comes to endpoint security, it is important to ensure this is of the highest quality possible. Endpoints are vulnerable to cyber threats and a successful breach of your network security can lead to severe consequences.

What is endpoint security?

Endpoints are devices that connect to your business networks, such as laptops, mobile devices, computers, and servers. They are an entry point into the network and are targeted by malicious actors due to their vulnerability.

Endpoint security is the practice of ensuring these end-user devices are secured against cyber-attacks. Security solutions for endpoints focus on identifying system vulnerabilities and protecting them against potential threats, and ensuring breaches can be mitigated if they do happen.

Endpoint security has evolved from basic solutions such as antivirus software and firewalls to employing cutting-edge technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, automation, and predictive analytics software.

Why is endpoint security vital?

All endpoints have the potential to be the door to let cyber criminals access your business data. End-user devices and applications are becoming a critical security issue in organizations with remote, hybrid, or mobile workforces, as well as the increasing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to businesses. Almost 70% of organizations have experienced at least one endpoint attack that successfully compromised IT infrastructure and or data, with most experiencing attacks involving some kind of malware.

The cost of data breaches is not just about paying a ransom or interruption to your business while an attack is underway. The security response, mitigation, and investigation that follows a cyber-attack is costly, and there may also be legal or compliance costs if your organization has not met data protection regulation requirements. This can ruin your brand and reputation and cost your business dearly in the future.

The best way to prevent these negative outcomes is to invest in robust endpoint security best practices and management.

Following are the best endpoint security tips:

Identify endpoints

Importantly, the first step to take for endpoint security is to discover, catalog, and assess all devices connected to your network. Once you have this information, network access can be enabled for approved devices only, with priority going to the most sensitive and high-risk endpoints. Install anti-virus software, multi-factor authentication, and automated application updates.

Update data access policies

Surprisingly, many organizations do not have basic protocols for data storage, access, and usage in place. Your business must outline data classification if it wants to keep critical information secure so that only authorized employees can access certain data if their access controls allow them to. This can be done with user authentication, such as multi-factor authentication. Data access protocols should automatically notify systems administrators of any attempts to breach access controls.

Advanced and automated endpoint protection

Basic forms of endpoint protection such as firewalls and antivirus software struggle with sophisticated malware detection which can lead to security vulnerabilities. Advanced endpoint detection tools using automation are becoming more imperative today. Your organization might consider implementing Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security suite, combining Azure Active Directory, InTune, and Threat Analytics for comprehensive and cost-effective security on all applications, data, and devices. The automated behavioral analysis system will identify suspicious activities and alert admins before they can become problematic.

Security awareness

Take a proactive approach to security and ensure all employees are cybersecurity aware. Proper security training means your employees are more alert to potential cybersecurity threats and risks and are less likely to be the cause of a security breach. It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure your employees are armed with the knowledge of good security hygiene and have clear guidelines in place about what to do in the event of a cyber threat. Onboarding new employees, especially those with mobile devices, or businesses with a hybrid work model should prioritize security training early and frequently to ensure your organization’s overall security posture is robust end-to-end.

Many small to medium businesses want to believe the basics of antivirus software and firewalls will be enough to keep their data safe. However, for businesses of any size, implementing the tips above will improve your endpoint security and reduce the risks of ransomware, viruses, or malware attacks on your operating systems and networks. In the long run, an organization that has robust endpoint protection solutions in place is less vulnerable to cyber attacks. Talk to the cybersecurity consultants at Skynet MTS and get the right expertise to ensure your business is always secure.