By: Brian DeVault

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Why Is It Important?

An endpoint protection platform is a vital part of enterprise cybersecurity for many reasons. First of all, in today’s business world, data is often the most valuable asset a company has, and to lose that data, or access to that data, could put the entire business at risk of insolvency. Businesses have also had to contend with not only a growing number of endpoints, but also a rise in the number of types of endpoints. These factors make enterprise endpoint security more difficult on their own, but they’re compounded by remote work and BYOD policies, which make perimeter security increasingly insufficient and create vulnerabilities.

The threat landscape is becoming more complicated. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to gain access, steal information or manipulate employees into giving out sensitive information. Add in the opportunity cost of reallocating resources from business goals to addressing threats, the reputational cost of a large-scale breach, and the actual financial cost of compliance violations, and it’s easy to see why endpoint protection platforms have become regarded as must-haves in terms of securing modern enterprises.

What Ensures A Good Endpoint Security Plan?

With multiple endpoint security options available, it is important to remember that comprehensive protection involves much more than just installing anti-virus software. Here are four features that are crucial to a good security plan:

1. Policy Management

Effective endpoint protection allows organizations to define a set of rules regarding who gets to access the company server, the permissions for each user, and exceptions for overriding these protocols. Additionally, it should also provide you with the option to customize policies for every device and set guidelines for special cases requiring greater access.

In case of a protocol override, the ideal endpoint solution should have several measures in place, such as alarms and alerts. Moreover, it should provide an audit trail that allows administrators to trace unauthorized access to the compromised endpoint.

To round it off, a good endpoint solution should have a policy management component comprising:

– The option to customize device policies.
– The option to customize user policies.
– Policies in place for protocol overrides.

2. Patch Management

Patches are used to fix potential system vulnerabilities that, if exploited, could pave the way for unauthorized access and potential loss of data.

The ideal endpoint solution should include a patch management component that resolves such weak areas in your network, allowing you to repair each vulnerability as it’s detected. Here are the components of comprehensive patch management:

– Support for the discovery of vulnerabilities in various endpoint operating systems and apps
– Guidelines for creating and deploying patches to remote devices
– Patch deployment process
– The ability to schedule and prioritize patches

3. Centralized Management and Configuration System

The key aspect of managing every network endpoint is to have centralized control over every connected device. This comes in very handy, particularly in the case of an emergency in case you may need to lock down or shut off a device.

With a single security management dashboard, administrators can create and edit policies, get timely alerts about suspicious activity, schedule mass updates, and analyze the usage history for each endpoint. Other features include:

– Management for exceptions
– Control over applications
– Live security updates
– Remote installation and updating of security software
– Controls to manage scalability

4. Advanced Device Control

Once you’ve admitted an endpoint device to the system, your work is half done. Securing the endpoint already entails tracking it, but what about external devices connected to the endpoint?
Advanced device control allows organizations to monitor external devices, such as those connected through USB ports. Some systems may also provide the capability to monitor local disks, CD drives, Bluetooth connections, and cloud storage.

This means that you can grant system access to certain types of devices, such as a USB-connected mouse but not a USB-connected hard drive.

Also, such control supports the encryption of data that is exported outside trusted devices. Without the encryption key, hackers can’t actually access the data they stole, essentially rendering it useless. Advanced device control includes:

– Support and monitoring of multiple devices.
– Enforcing access control over USB-mounted devices.
– Enforcing company policies across all workstations and endpoints.
– Allowing for the transfer of encrypted data outside the network.
– Support for logging endpoint device activity, even when a device is offline

This blog post is part of NETRIO’s weekly Whiteboard Wednesday series. Follow along on Linkedin and YouTube each week as Brian and Mike discuss use cases, new technology, and trends.