Endpoint security is one of the most important aspects of any company’s IT infrastructure. According to Forbes, up to 70% of successful network breaches originate from endpoints. If a cybercriminal gains access to any of your unprotected endpoints, they can potentially access the entire network, which could lead to a crisis for your business.
Endpoint security is more than just ensuring your devices have the right antivirus software; it’s about protecting data wherever it goes, and ensuring your users follow the right policies and procedures.
What is endpoint security?
An endpoint is any device that can be accessed by a user, such as a computer or phone. Endpoint security is the practice of protecting these devices against unauthorised access. This will help your business prevent against data loss, ransomware, and other types of digital threats.
It is important to protect all endpoints from malware and other attacks. If end-user devices are not protected, they pose a significant risk to the entire business. Malicious software can spread through the network, putting confidential data at risk, and sensitive information can be unintentionally leaked if users aren’t aware of the potential consequences of what they are doing.
Endpoint security best practises
Implement a strong password policy
Passwords are one of the most common ways for digital threats to gain unauthorised access to a network. All endpoint security regulations should include a password policy that enforces strong passwords of at least 12 characters.
With a centralised password manager, employees can update their passwords regularly, which protects the entire network from being breached or brute force attacked. Password managers can be integrated with endpoint security software to let employees know when it’s time to change their passwords.
Implement multi-factor authentication
Strong passwords are critical, but they aren’t always enough. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a great way to protect networks from unauthorised access, like brute force attacks. MFA requires users to provide more than two pieces of information to access an account or device, instead of just the typical username and password. Authenticator apps that provide a one-time code are a common way to implement MFA.
By implementing MFA, you can help prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information, even if they have the right password.
Enforce least privilege access
Least privilege access ensures that only certain users are able to access certain data or accounts. This is particularly important in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environments, where one device could be used for multiple job functions.
To enforce least privilege, you need to identify the access privileges your employees require to do their jobs. Then, assign those privileges to the users who need them. For example, if it’s not critical for an employee to have administrative rights on their computer, you can deny them access to those controls.
An endpoint security solution can enforce least privilege access by setting data access rights based on user identity, or user device. This helps ensure users are adhering to your cyber security and governance policies.
Encrypt data on endpoints
Encrypting data is especially useful in BYOD environments, where data travels between employees’ personal devices and the company network. Endpoint encryption can help prevent eavesdropping and data theft by making the information unreadable to anyone who might attempt to intercept it without the decryption key.
Encryption also helps protect data in the event that a device is lost or stolen. If someone finds the device, they won’t be able to access any sensitive information without the correct decryption key.
Implement application control
Enforcing application control will increase endpoint security in your business by limiting the user’s access to sensitive data and services, as well as identifying and blocking malicious software. If a user can’t perform any actions on an application, they’ll have a much harder time stealing or breaching data or leaking it to the public. This is particularly important for productivity applications used to access and transfer data, like Microsoft Teams.
Train your employees
Preventing data loss and data theft is important, but it’s also necessary to help employees understand how they can prevent these issues from happening.
Interactive training sessions walk employees through important topics, like how to recognise and avoid phishing emails, or how to properly use a USB drive. Keeping your people up-to-date with the latest security developments will increase their confidence when it comes to spotting potential threats, navigating suspicious emails, and following your security protocols.
Find the right endpoint security solutions to protect your critical information
Endpoint security is an important aspect of any business’ IT system, and can help protect against data loss, data breach, and cyberthreats. The consequences of a successful attack could have serious financial, legal, and reputational impacts for your business.
The cyber security specialists at NetworkIQ can help you implement the right endpoint solutions to best defend your business, and guide your employees during their daily tasks.