PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets or any gadget that comprise a network are pertained to as endpoints. These endpoints, though serving a purpose may it be for productivity and efficiency, may also serve as gateways for threats to compromise the network where they are connected and destruct the enterprise’ assets. With that said, endpoint security management may act as another layer of defense that could enforce the protection provided by the network security.
Rolling out endpoint security software especially in a business setting is important and necessary because it protects all the assets of an enterprise-each computing machines plus the vital data inside each machine-from malicious attacks and data loss that might damage the whole network if not dealt with on the endpoint level.
Protection from Malicious Attacks
So how can endpoint security systems actually protect a device from potential threats? Most endpoint security software has an antivirus feature which detects and destroys viruses, and an anti-spyware which protects from spywares or software that gather information covertly through internet connection. These two features are expected to be constantly updated on certain viruses, malwares, and spywares that also evolve constantly alongside the fast-paced innovations on new technologies.
Other features which endpoint security software may have in ensuring protection from malicious attacks include a host-based firewall, host intrusion detection system (HIDS), vulnerability assessment, and application whitelisting.
Most host-based firewall comes with the operating system of some devices but endpoint security software also include it in their key features for an enhanced protection. Basically, what sets a host-based firewall from a network firewall is that, while both are installed in a single machine, a host-based firewall only focuses on all the incoming and outgoing activities of one endpoint while a network firewall, using only a single machine, defends a whole corporate network and manages the incoming and outgoing network activities in each endpoint.
HIDS, also called host intrusion prevention system or HIPS, may be considered to work synergistically with firewalls. Its primary function is to monitor and analyze the internals of a computing system as well as the network packets on its network interfaces so as to ensure everything is going well inside a computing device and nothing is being compromised internally which may give way for malicious intrusions. It may also be considered as some sort of second line of defense next to a firewall since it intricately examines from the inside to make sure that nothing malicious has stealthily gotten past the firewalls and into the system.
Vulnerability assessment, a feature that is somewhat similar to HIDS, basically defines, identifies, and classifies security holes in a computer or network. What sets it apart from HIDS is that it doesn’t only detect irregularities but assesses as well the assets of a computer system and prioritizes those assets that need more maintenance or protection.
Also an advantageous feature of endpoint security software is application whitelisting which prevents unauthorized programs from running in a computer. When a user tries to install a certain program, the whitelisting feature assesses such program if it is indeed the authorized program and not a malware that disguises as a legitimate program. Application whitelisting also restricts installment of certain programs that may demand too much resources from a computing device and hence interrupt certain work-related tasks which must instead be prioritized.
Safeguarding Data Assets
Endpoint security systems also ensure that an enterprise’ data is safe from breach, theft, and loss. With regard to such concerns, a feature called Data Loss Prevention (DLP) keeps end-users from transferring vital pieces of information outside the corporate network.
An example of a DLP’s function is not permitting sharing of large files through a public cloud, email, through free file sharing websites, or basically just anywhere that is beyond the parameters of a corporate network. When such activities take place, an efficiently working DLP will terminate the process once it has been detected or will simply not allow for the process to take place.
A device control feature is also vital in terms of restricting file transfer and exfiltration processes. Since this feature limits end-users in accessing or installing certain devices, accessibility of the data storage may be limited as part of protecting the data saved in a computing machine. The computing machine itself may also be customized in such a way that ports and hubs are disabled where external storage drives may be connected for file transferring.
Storage encryption is also an innovative and effective data protection wherein security is intensified on a data by using encryptions and decryptions.
Besides adopting endpoint security software or programs, some IT managers also require other security prevention strategies such as adopting network perimeter security, implementing strong password policies, effective end user education, data access logging, and disaster recovery solutions.