A lot of things are different in this post-pandemic world we live in, one of them being the rise of remote work. The pandemic forced companies around the world to find creative ways to work remotely, and as the world began to open up again, remote work remained. Many organizations now employ on-site and remote workers, a strategic move that expands their networks to more devices in multiple locations. And while these devices enable users to complete quality work from any location, they also introduce a new problem when it comes to cybersecurity.
Any device that’s connected to an enterprise network is called an endpoint. Every endpoint in a network introduces a new vulnerability, a potential entry point for cybercriminals. If left unprotected, they can be exploited to leak sensitive company information. Common examples of endpoints include ATMs, laptop computers, medical devices, mobile phones, tablets, and printers.
So, if companies want to utilize the power of remote work, they need to find a solution to the security problem it brings. Enter endpoint security — a safer way for organizations to embrace the possibilities of remote work without compromising their data.
What is Endpoint Security?
Endpoint protection platforms (EPPs) examine files as they enter a company’s network. They harness the power of the cloud to create a constantly growing database of threat information, alleviating the burden of storing that information locally on endpoints. That database can be quickly accessed and equips cybersecurity professionals to remotely control security for every endpoint.
Client software is deployed to each endpoint. Once successfully set up, the software can authenticate login attempts, administer corporate policies, and send updates to the endpoint whenever necessary. Additionally, integrated application control features block users from downloading unsafe or unauthorized applications.
Common elements of EPPs include:
- Machine learning to detect zero-day threats
Machine learning algorithms analyze patterns and behaviors of files, processes, and network traffic to identify anomalies and potential zero-day threats that have never been documented.
- A firewall to prevent network attacks
The beauty of a firewall is that it adds an additional layer of protection by monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic. It enforces network security policies, denies unauthorized access attempts, and blocks malicious connections.
- An email gateway that guards against phishing and social engineering attempts
Email gateways scan incoming emails for suspicious behavior and attachments. They use content analysis, reputation filtering, and link scanning to identify and block phishing attempts.
- Internal threat protection against attacks within the organization
Attacks can happen from within a company, whether accidental or malicious. Internal threat protection monitors and analyzes users’ behavior and network activity to detect unusual or suspicious behavior.
- Antivirus and anti-malware protection across endpoint devices and operating systems
Antivirus and anti-malware software scan files, processes, and systems in real time to detect and block malware. They also regularly update databases with known threats to protect against the latest dangers.
- Proactive security for safe web browsing
Web browsing protective features monitor web traffic and block access to known malicious websites to warn users about risky websites or content. They reduce the risk of users accidentally downloading malicious content.
- Endpoint, email, and disk encryption
Encryption capabilities protect sensitive data on endpoint devices and ensure data is encrypted at rest and in transit. Disk encryption can even secure an entire hard drive to protect data if a device falls into the wrong hands.
EPPs assume the security position of antivirus software and take it a step further. While antivirus software is designed to protect a single device, EPPs protect all connected devices across an enterprise network. Antivirus only protects against malware in a company’s database of known threats, while EPPs take a more holistic approach. Thanks to its connection with the cloud, endpoint security software automatically updates to have the latest version possible. Antivirus software, on the other hand, uses a signature-based detection process to protect against potential risks. As such, it will be less effective if not manually updated.
Antivirus software can’t keep users from downloading sensitive information to a USB drive and stealing it. EPPs implement data encryption and access controls to ensure that certain users only access data at certain times.
Believe it or not, antivirus software only notifies companies when a threat is detected. Companies are then responsible for rectifying the problem on their own. EPPs provide a centralized portal that enables admins to monitor activities, update software, investigate suspicious activity, and resolve issues remotely.
At the end of the day, endpoint security is essential for any organization with multiple devices in its network. An attack on a single endpoint could have devastating consequences for the entire organization.
Why You Should Take Securing Endpoints Seriously
The threat landscape is constantly evolving and becoming more complicated. There is also a growing number of endpoints due to the popularity of remote work and bring-your-own-device policies. Employees access company resources and data from various locations and devices, making endpoint security more crucial than ever. Perimeter security has become insufficient, creating vulnerabilities and putting company devices and data at constant risk.
Attackers view endpoints as opportunities to gain access to sensitive data. Successful breaches lead to the exposure or theft of company and customer information, leading to financial losses, reputation damage, and regulatory compliance issues.
But as we alluded to earlier when we listed the elements of EPPs, threats don’t just come from cybercriminals — they can come from inside the companies themselves. EPPs monitor internal threats that could pose significant risks to company assets and operations. IT managers are then equipped to quickly identify and respond to suspicious activities before they cause irreversible damage.
Endpoint security helps company operations stay on track by minimizing the downtime attacks often cause. Effective endpoint security reduces the risk of malware infections and enables uninterrupted business operations.
Panzura Provides Protection at the Edge
Here at Panzura, we’re big on security. We also understand the importance of having endpoints within an enterprise network and the necessity of securing those endpoints.
Panzura’s Edge Access app gives businesses the freedom to securely access their file systems from any device using a web browser. Data is deduplicated and compressed using military-grade encryption for efficient and secure file storage to meet cost and compliance requirements. The app recognizes and honors the SMB file share permissions already configured on the company’s CloudFS. Additionally, all file actions are visible in the Data Services Audit subscription. Users outside a company’s office can seamlessly access data while allowing IT teams to keep data visible, protected, secure, and compliant.
CloudFS enables a single, authoritative data set that reduces the need for data to be scattered across multiple endpoint devices, thus enhancing data security and minimizing the risk of data loss or unauthorized access. Panzura also supports encryption in transit and at rest to protect data stored within the cloud. This encryption keeps data secure as it’s transferred between endpoints and the cloud.
Granular access controls and permissions allow organizations to specify which users can access and modify data. These controls ensure that users can only access necessary data, reducing the risk of both accidental and intentional data loss.
With Panzura’s data versioning and recovery capabilities, companies can maintain multiple versions of their files and recover previous versions as needed. Read-only snapshots are taken at configurable intervals, with the default being 60 minutes. These snapshots are also taken at the local filer level every 60 seconds and are used to transfer changed data to the object store. All snapshots are impervious to ransomware and enable granular data restoration to any previous version.
When ransomware attacks occur, CloudFS’s back-end immutability ensures data resilience by restoring files to unaffected versions and marking impacted files as read-only, which allows for the detection and removal of infected data. Restoration can occur for files, directories, and the entire global file system.
While an employee’s laptop may seem harmless, it can pose a significant threat to the company. But rather than living in fear of the tools that equip employees to achieve excellence, organizations should take proactive measures to secure them. With Panzura CloudFS and Edge Access, companies can work out of a global file system from any location and endpoint without compromising their security.