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Rick Delgado

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Endpoint Security By @RickNotDelgado | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

What You May Be Overlooking When it Comes to Endpoint Security

What You May Be Overlooking When it Comes to Endpoint Security

Protecting your company's data seems like a nearly impossible task these days. Security horror stories pop up with frightening regularity, detailing business after business falling victim to security breaches that cost upwards of millions of dollars. The targets at the center of these stories are usually major corporations like Target and Home Depot, but the same types of data breaches happen to smaller businesses too. Many small companies are scrambling to improve their network security, but as they focus on that one aspect, another area is often overlooked: endpoint security. Though network security is doubtlessly important, protecting your endpoints should remain a top priority for your business. A recent study from the Ponemon Institute shows 40% of those who responded said attackers were able to infiltrate their businesses through endpoints. If you want to protect valuable company data, endpoint security should not remain an afterthought.

With so much emphasis on network security, it's understandable if you may dismiss threats to your endpoints. After all, hackers that are able to gain access to a network can do some major damage to the company, whereas taking over an endpoint may not be quite so debilitating. However, it should be noted that attackers generally see a network as very well defended with some of the latest security measures. Endpoints, on the other hand, often do not have the same protections and are considered by hackers to be the entry point wherein they can eventually gain access to more vital systems and the main network itself.

Endpoint machines also represent a link to your company's employees. No matter their intentions or levels of competency, people will make mistakes, such as accidentally downloading a suspicious file. That's just the opening hackers are looking for, which is why they will so often target endpoint devices with lax computer security. It is from endpoint machines that hackers can also more effectively monitor a company and its operations. Many companies fall into a regular set of operational patterns, which can in turn be exploited by a patient attacker waiting for just the right opening. A hacker that is able to move from one machine to another can also find the endpoint that is least protected and use it for nefarious purposes.

For these reasons, many businesses need to work on improving endpoint visibility. Ignoring endpoint security is obviously an unwise strategy, but increased monitoring of your endpoint devices can actually prevent much larger attacks in more ways than one. Oftentimes, hacker activity spreads out across multiple machines, so detecting suspicious activity on one endpoint can be difficult. For example, if an incorrect login is entered, that might be considered suspicious or it could simply be a mistake from an employee. Increased endpoint monitoring can examine the activity surrounding a suspicious action to better determine if the activity should be flagged. Better endpoint visibility can also connect activity on one machine to a similar activity on a different machine to distinguish a pattern that needs to be addressed. Having a better understanding of your endpoint devices can also help you determine which devices are more susceptible to attacks that could infiltrate the network. Endpoints that require an almost constant connection to the network, for example, should have more thorough monitors in place to detect suspicious activity when it happens.

By increasing endpoint visibility, your company can be more agile when it responds to security threats. A quicker response can be a significant advantage for preventing damage to your company's network, which is almost necessary in today's environment of ever-changing security risks. As more companies use cloud computing and adopt bring your own device (BYOD) policies, the issue of security may only get more complicated. That's why no endpoint should be ignored and general endpoint security should be a company focus. The threats are real, the damages can be disastrous, and companies that are unprepared may have a tough road to recovery. Don't emphasize network security at the cost of endpoint security; the two can be integrated and work hand in hand. The result is a safer, more secure business ready for the challenges of the future.

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“I’ve been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I’ve started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.” – Rick DelGado (@ricknotdelgado)