Misconceptions Endpoint Security: These days, you can hardly go anywhere on the web without encountering advice on endpoint security. The latest and greatest cyber-security trend, endpoint security works to protect networks – primarily business networks – by hardening the devices on those networks against threats. This usually entails a suite of security features, including antivirus software and encryption tools as well as more complicated applications and precautions.
True endpoint security isn’t difficult to achieve – but too many business leaders harbor glaring misconceptions about how to achieve it. Here are a few of the most egregious endpoint security mistakes and their solutions to keep your endpoints and network secure:
- 1 Endpoints Can Be Secure Without Coordination
- 2 Antivirus Software Is the Extent of Endpoint Security
- 3 Not All Endpoints Need Security Features
- 4 Additional Security on Endpoints Impedes Productivity
- 5 Endpoint Security Circumvents Security Training
- 6 Endpoints Are the Start and End of Security Strategy
Endpoints Can Be Secure Without Coordination
Businesses with BYOD policies often trust their device-toting employees to manage endpoint security. After all, those work devices are also personal devices, and workers want to keep their private data safe, too, right?
There are several problems with this attitude. First, it assumes security, which is never ideal. Second, it guarantees that each device will have a different security suite. Unfortunately, different security providers don’t often work well together; most use different protection strategies with varying vulnerabilities.
Antivirus Software Is the Extent of Endpoint Security
Antivirus is enough to recognize minor threats that individuals might stumble upon during their minor wanderings around the web. It is not enough to protect corporate endpoints from the barrage of attacks designed to break defenses and reach valuable caches of data.
By their nature, antivirus programs are reactive. This means antivirus cannot recognize and guard against threats before they infiltrate a device. Because so many new attack methods are developed every day – every four seconds there is a new malware – an antivirus program alone is not enough to keep a business network safe from malicious attack. In conjunction with antivirus, you need predictive protection, which can identify precursors to an attack and increase security as necessary to keep data safe.
Not All Endpoints Need Security Features
It makes sense that you would install security on desktop and laptop computers; PCs and Macs are well-known vectors for cyber-attack. However, because they are often forgotten, other devices are becoming more common passageways for malicious hackers intent on breaching data.
Every device that connects to your network requires endpoint security. If that isn’t explicit enough, the devices that always need thorough endpoint protection include:
- Desktop computers
- Laptop computers
- Tablet computers
- Point-of-sale devices
- Copiers and printers
- Internet of Things devices
Any unprotected device on a network is like an unlocked door for data-hungry cyber-criminals. To ensure all your endpoints are properly protected, you can install endpoint application control, which allows you to see endpoints connected to your network and understand what applications are in use.
Additional Security on Endpoints Impedes Productivity
Perhaps the worst reason to avoid endpoint security is the assumption that it will prevent your employees from being productive. In the past, antivirus scans, encryption engines, and other features would demand some of a device’s performance, but modern security suites are much more streamlined. Security programs should be able to run in the background without your employees even noticing them – and even if they do minorly impact productivity, you should consider it a small cost of keeping your data secure. Considering that a data breach can cost millions of dollars, the cents on the dollar you might lose in productivity are well worth it.
Endpoint Security Circumvents Security Training
Nothing can eliminate human error. Several studies have found that your employees are dramatically more likely to cause data loss than cleverly malicious hackers. An untrained workforce is almost guaranteed to misuse security features, inviting attack and courting disaster. A critical element of strong security is employee training.
On one hand, it isn’t difficult to provide your employees with reliable and thorough security training. On the other hand, it is incredibly hard to convince them to apply their knowledge. By rewarding proper cyber hygiene and punishing those who circumvent security protocols, you should encourage the cultivation of beneficial security habits in your workplace.
Endpoints Are the Start and End of Security Strategy
With all this talk about endpoint security, you might be tempted to forget all other security precautions. Though endpoint protection should be a high priority – especially if you lack any endpoint security – you cannot neglect your other security strategies. In addition to hardening your endpoints against attack, you should maintain a strong, secure network and teach your employees proper cyber hygiene.
Most importantly, you should develop an overarching security program. You cannot expect to patch ad-hoc security together and expect to receive reliable protection. Instead, your security strategy should ensure that discrete elements work together seamlessly, closing all vulnerabilities and thwarting cyber-attacks.