There is growing evidence that endpoint security is rapidly becoming the new battleground in cybersecurity, as businesses continue to support remote working for employees.
Data gathered by the World Economic Forum suggests that 37% of risk analysts see “cyberattacks and data fraud due to a sustained shift in working patterns” as a significant risk in the coming 18 months.
In fact, among the 347 senior risk advisors surveyed, the cyber security concern ranked at #9 out of 32 categories. Only obvious risks such as ‘likelihood of global recession’ rank higher.
In another study, the Information Systems Audit and Control association state that during the COVID-19 crisis “60% of enterprises are aware that cybercriminals are….. targeting their IT systems and employees”.
What this means is that for any organisation that has people working from home or anywhere else, especially during the current COVID crisis, endpoint security technology to protect remote workers against cyberattacks is absolutely vital – more so than ever before.
So, there is the evidence.
What do you need to be doing right now to protect your network endpoints?
What is endpoint security?
Endpoints are the computers such as PCs and Macs, laptops, servers – and increasingly phones and tablets – most of which are connected directly to your network, or, depending on the scenario, that are used by your workers to connect into your network via the Internet.
The typical endpoint set-up which is most frequently talked about in the media is the home-based employee who logs on to cloud-based business applications such as accounting systems or CRM, Microsoft Office 365 and other systems such as these to do their work.
Without proper and diligent management, the software on these end point devices may gradually become outdated, making them vulnerable to both manual and automated attacks – as well as user-error.
Securing these endpoint computers is now one of the most important IT requirements for every type of organisation, because without this security, entire networks may be breached.
The importance of patching
As we wrote in our article about the importance of patching, patches in IT terms are essential periodic software updates that must be applied automatically or require some manual implementation.
The patches typically add new features or improvements, fix a bug or address a security vulnerability. In this last point, many security exploits are specifically targeted at older, out of date software applications that have not been patched, because hackers know that patching can be an awkward process that is easy to avoid.
In the current COVID-19 environment, whereby millions of office employees have been working from home, many endpoint devices have been left unpatched, leaving them vulnerable to attack by hackers.
Risks arising from not keep endpoint devices secured
Cybercriminals know that user error or lack of awareness is a major weakness in many organisations – and this is even more true when those users start to work remotely.
Good habits may lapse, Windows Updates may sit uninstalled, anti-virus software may go out of date.
In many cases, IT managers are unable to monitor user devices remotely, because they simply do not have the systems to do this.
Set against this background, the explosion in phishing emails opens up the risk of many forms of attack which may spread from one poorly secured device into an organisation’s network.
Unsecured endpoints can be used by hackers to:
- Steal corporate data such as confidential customer information
- Install ransomware on user machines – which may then be spread across the organisation
- Send large volumes of malicious spam
- Spy on users to obtain passwords and other sensitive data
- Launch “distributed denial of service” (DDOS) attacks, aimed at bringing down systems and websites and disrupting business operations.
In all such cases, the cost, inconvenience, disruption to organisations is huge, and – in some cases – may lead to the failure of the business.
How to protect your network endpoints
Follow this five-step checklist to make sure your network endpoints are secured and protected:
- Patches: Ensure all your PCs, Macs, laptops and servers have whitelisted security and service patches applied on a daily / weekly basis
- Antivirus: Have a base line antivirus software such as Webroot, integrated with remote management and monitoring software
- Real-time security monitoring: Invest in real-time security protection and monitoring. For example, Alliance Solutions uses provides Fortify Endpoint Protection which includes SentinelOne and monitoring via worldwide Security Operations Centres
- DNS protection: Use a Domain Name Service (DNS) protection service to ensure all web traffic is connecting only to legitimate websites
- Security Awareness Training Use Security Awareness Training to help your staff become more vigilant and aware of cyberthreats, keeping them and your business secure.
The Fortify Endpoint Protection Solution
Fortify Endpoint Protection is an advanced endpoint threat management solution.
It allows IT managers or providers to monitor every network endpoint remotely for security abnormalities, to detect threats and remediate attacks quickly before they can cause any damage.
Fortify Endpoint Protection protects against sophisticated cyberattacks, including multi-variant ransomware attacks and crypto-mining infiltrations.
- Enables remote monitoring and management of endpoint devices for IT security administrators
- Provides the cybersecurity protection that anti-virus software alone cannot provide
- Detects and responds to endpoint threats in real time, no matter where those endpoint devices are
- Is backed by a ransomware warranty of $1m for complete peace of mind.
Contact Alliance Solutions to discuss extending world-class security to your endpoints even while your employees are working remotely on 0800 292 2100 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org