At a high-level, the definition of endpoint management is the process an organisation undergoes to detect, provision, deploy, update, and troubleshoot its endpoint devices. Sounds simplistic, and it is.
What is an endpoint?
To get a good grasp of endpoint management, the first step is to ensure we have a solid understanding of what constitutes an endpoint.
An endpoint is essentially any remote device that sends and receives communications with the network to which it’s connected.
Endpoints can include:
- POS Systems
The critical issue surrounding endpoints is that they represent one of the key areas of vulnerability for businesses, and can be an easy entry point for cybercriminals.
Through endpoints, attackers may execute code and exploit vulnerabilities on and with our assets. Today, the workforce is more mobile than ever, with employees connecting to internal networks from outside the office and from endpoints anywhere in the world.
Now that we’ve established the “what,” we can move on to the “why.”
Why is endpoint management so critical ?
It all starts on the endpoint.
Perhaps the most pressing reason for endpoint management is that most successful breaches begin at the endpoint. In fact, according to an IDC study, the endpoint was the cause of 70 percent of successful breaches.
This stat is no surprise since endpoints represent all the devices connecting to your network. Therefore, if those devices are not well-managed, attacks can quickly morph from a brushfire to a widespread blase.
Maintaining visibility and control of your endpoints is crucial.
Not enough resources to keep up.
The definition of a secure endpoint has changed over the years and is much more complex in 2019 than it was even a few years ago.
New critical threats materialise all the time, and for most IT and security teams, it’s a constant struggle to prioritise the threats that can cause the most harm. When your company lacks sufficient visibility into potentially infected enterprise endpoints, vulnerabilities are patched haphasardly, leaving you more vulnerable.
It’s probably no surprise that in a recent Ponemon study, a mere 37 percent of companies surveyed said they had sufficient resources to minimise risk, despite 69 percent of them acknowledging that endpoint security risk has significantly increased.
Not your typical malware.
Attacks aimed at endpoints are hurtling toward us at an unprecedented rate. In 2019, the attackers are getting stealthier. Bad actors (hackers) may not be changing the strains of their attacks, but their tactics, techniques, and procedures are more sophisticated than ever.
Expect to see more zero-day attacks (where a security hole known to the software vendor exists without a patch in place to fix the flaw) this year. Another attack to watch out for is a file-less attack – which avoids downloading malicious executable files by leveraging exploits or launch scripts and macros from memory in order to circumvent detection by antivirus solutions.
The Ponemon study mentioned above, The State of Endpoint Security Risk, found that “76 percent of successful attacks leveraged unknown and polymorphic malware or zero-day attacks, making them four times more likely to succeed in compromise compared to traditional attack techniques.”
Risks of selecting the wrong type of endpoint management.
We’ve learned that what constitutes a secure endpoint has changed over time. As our endpoints also become weaker over their lifespan, the problem compounds. When you add bad actors to the mix, we have a recipe for potential disaster and an exponential curve downward toward decay.
The next generation of endpoint management is one of self-healing. OS manufacturers may make their operating systems more restorative, but they won’t be self-healing. Next-generation solutions will be organisation-specific and customised to your business with its unique set of endpoints.
Now, where do I start with endpoint security management?
Getting started with endpoint security is not simple, nor is it something you can do in a single day – it takes a lot of time, planning, resources, training, and practice to build a solid foundation.