Choosing the Right Defense: 7 Types of Endpoint Security

Laptop opening up

Endpoint security is crucial to helping businesses achieve a strong cybersecurity posture year-round. With thousands of endpoints connected to their networks, large organizations must  safeguard them from security risks and vulnerabilities. Yet, with so many types of endpoint security, it may be confusing to know which solutions to invest in. 

Each type of endpoint security enables companies to solidify a certain aspect of their cybersecurity infrastructure. So, let’s break down endpoint security and how it helps safeguard your network and mitigate the impact of cyberattacks.

What is Endpoint Security?

An endpoint is a physical device that connects to a network and exchanges information with it. Typical endpoints include:

  • Mobile devices
  • Laptops
  • Desktop computers
  • Virtual machines
  • Servers
  • Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices

So, what is endpoint security meant to protect?

Essentially, any device with a network connection poses a cybersecurity risk if an individual gains unauthorized access to that network via the endpoint. With more endpoints connected to corporate networks, it’s much easier for cybercriminals to exploit unresolved security vulnerabilities.

As such, endpoint security refers to the processes that safeguard endpoints from being exploited by their inherent vulnerabilities, which could be anything from gaps in access control measures to poor security hygiene.

The main objectives for implementing endpoint security include:

  • Data breaches and data loss prevention – Safeguarding a company’s sensitive data from being breached and the potential subsequent loss starts with implementing endpoint security measures that mitigate threats long before they spread to multiple endpoints.
  • Network security threat prevention – Before they materialize from risks into threats, vulnerabilities can be resolved by protecting endpoints from exposure to network security flaws.
  • Intrusion detection and response – Often, perpetrators gain unauthorized access to an organization’s network without being detected. Implementing endpoint security detects unusual security events and flags them, preventing criminals from intruding into a company’s networks.

Types of Endpoint Security

As noted above, there are multiple types of endpoints. Likewise, companies can use various types of endpoint security to bolster their IT infrastructure.

Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

Anti-virus and anti-malware are some of the most common endpoint security tools widely deployed across organizations. These tools automatically detect and remove viruses and other malicious software before they can infiltrate your networks. 

Most anti-virus and anti-malware security configurations can conduct periodic scans of an organization’s networks to identify malicious code. Upon identifying these viruses or malware, these endpoint security tools can quarantine them or trigger an escalation event for administrators to intervene and resolve the potential threats.

Firewall Protection

Firewalls also act as defenses for endpoints where they are installed, preventing malicious intrusion into an organization’s networks. They are especially critical when mitigating the spread of incoming malicious traffic that could compromise endpoints and when blocking anomalous outgoing traffic from leaving a company’s networks.

The different types of firewalls include:

  • Proxy firewalls
  • Threat-focused firewalls
  • Virtual firewalls

Firewalls can also be configured with rulesets and policies to determine the path data packets can take upon entry into a network, making them valuable tools for containing potentially malicious traffic. 

Data Encryption

Encryption simply means layering data security on endpoints such that it will be difficult for a perpetrator to gain unauthorized access to the data stored on them. It’s important to encrypt data on endpoints for secure shareability without risking unintended and unauthorized exposure.

Encrypt endpoints by securing the disks containing data (for devices like laptops or workstations) or by encrypting files as they are stored on the cloud or shared via emails.

Common encryption algorithms include:

  • Advanced Encryption Standard-256 (AES-256) enables single-key-based encryption and decryption of files.
  • Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) uses asymmetric two-key-based encryption to secure files.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

The widespread use of mobile devices requires a specific type of endpoint protection platform: mobile device management (MDM). MDM effectively safeguards all the endpoints connected to an organization’s networks—regardless of its employees’ location.

MDM is crucial for organizations whose corporate work environment is primarily remote or hybrid. And it can be implemented as a process or as software. 

For instance, an MDM program might require employees to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to log into their work laptops. Alternatively, implementing MDM software might involve limiting employees to specific apps to complete their role-specific tasks.

Whether a company uses MDM to GPS track endpoints, manage them, or secure applications on these devices, it’s crucial that employees fully comply with security hygiene best practices. Failure to do so can compromise the success of MDM as an endpoint security tool.

Patch Management

Routinely deploying patches is a core component of an endpoint security approach because it keeps endpoints up-to-date with the latest security configurations available. Patch management refers to the processes involved in tracking the deployment of patches across endpoints in an organization. 

Keeping endpoint devices regularly updated with these latest security configurations helps organizations strengthen complementary endpoint security technologies, like firewalls and antivirus software. 

Malware and Ransomware Attacks

Malicious software (malware) and ransomware are consistently trending cybersecurity threats because they are easily deployed onto endpoints. With these attacks, cybercriminals can infiltrate their victims’ networks without them realizing the extent of damage. 

Endpoint security solutions help companies mitigate malware and ransomware risks by swiftly detecting them when they appear in emails or website downloads. 

Unauthorized Access and Insider Threats

Insider threats are complex risks to an organization’s endpoints due to the ease with which an individual with access to systems or networks can perform malicious actions to harm the organization.

These threats may include accidental or intentional negligence aimed at exposing endpoints to cybersecurity risks, whose impact can result in data breaches and subsequent data loss.

Best Practices for Implementing Endpoint Security

So, what are some best practices an organization can implement to achieve endpoint security? The most common endpoint security best practices include:

  • Conducting regular risk assessments helps an organization stay ahead of security risks before they develop into serious high-impact threats.
  • Investing in employee training and awareness enables an organization’s employees to partner with the endpoint security tools in deployment to mitigate cybersecurity risks across the entire scope of endpoints.
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication on all endpoints in use reduces the potential for access control gaps, especially when employees work remotely and are at risk for password security risks.
  • Establishing network segmentation controls enables organizations to control incoming and outgoing network traffic across endpoints.
  • Incident response planning helps businesses to proactively implement processes to manage the impact of security incidents as soon as they happen without being constrained by the impact of the events.

Achieve Reliable Endpoint Security with Helixstorm

Endpoint security helps businesses stay ahead of the cybersecurity risks to their networks and data, mitigating full-blown attacks and data breaches from unfolding. One of the best ways to implement robust endpoint security is to partner with a managed security services provider like Helixstorm. 

With options like managed backups, data recovery and retention, and disaster recovery planning, we can help you confidently secure your endpoints 24/7. 

Schedule a consultation to learn more.