What is Endpoint Protection?

Endpoint protection involves monitoring and protecting endpoints against cyber threats. Protected endpoints include desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablet computers, and other devices. Various cybersecurity solutions can be installed on and monitor these devices to protect them against cyber threats regardless of where they are located on or off of the corporate network.

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What is Endpoint Protection?

Why is Endpoint Protection important?

The transition to remote and hybrid work models has transformed businesses’ IT infrastructures, moving corporate endpoints outside the enterprise network and its perimeter-based defenses. As endpoints become organizations’ first line of defense against cyber attacks, they require endpoint security solutions to identify and block these threats before they pose a risk to the company.

Endpoints are the target of many cyberattacks, and, with shifts in corporate IT infrastructure, are becoming more vulnerable to attack. Increased support for remote work moves corporate endpoints outside of the enterprise network and its protections. Bring your own device (BYOD) policies allow employee-owned devices to connect to the enterprise network and access sensitive corporate data.

Endpoint protection has always been important for defense in depth, but the blurring of the enterprise network perimeter due to remote work and BYOD policies has made it even more important. Endpoints are companies’ first line of defense against cyber threats and a major source of cyber risk.

How Does It Work?

Endpoint protection works via a combination of network and device-level defenses. At the network level, the organization may restrict access to the enterprise network based on a device’s compliance with corporate security policies and least privilege. By blocking insecure devices from accessing the corporate network and sensitive resources, the organization restricts its attack surface and enforces its security policies.

Organizations may also install software directly on an endpoint to monitor and protect it. This includes both standalone solutions and ones that use an agent installed on the device to allow it to be centrally monitored, controlled, and protected. This allows an organization to monitor and protect devices that may not always be connected directly to the enterprise network.

Types of Endpoint Protection

The modern enterprise has a variety of different endpoints that face a wide range of potential cyber threats. Endpoint protection solutions come in several different forms, including:

The right choice of an endpoint security solution depends on the endpoint in question and the company’s unique needs. For example, as remote work and BYOD become more common, mobile devices are a greater focus of cybercriminals, and MTD is a more vital endpoint protection solution.

Endpoint Protection Features (Components)

An endpoint protection solution should offer comprehensive protection to the endpoint and to the corporate network. Some essential features of an endpoint security solution include the following:

  • Anti-Malware: Endpoint protection solutions should detect and prevent infections by viruses, worms, and other malware.
  • Behavioral Analytics: Ransomware and other malware variants have unique behaviors that make them detectable without the use of signatures. By monitoring these behaviors, endpoint protection solutions can detect and respond to zero-day attacks.
  • Compliance: The ability to enforce compliance with enterprise security policies is increasingly important with the growth of remote work and BYOD. Endpoint solutions should evaluate devices and only allow connections to the corporate network if they are compliant with corporate policy.
  • Data Encryption: Encryption is the most effective way to protect data against unauthorized access and potential breach. Endpoint security solutions should offer full disk encryption (FDE) and support encryption of removable media.
  • Firewall and Application Control: Network segmentation is essential for managing access and cybersecurity risk. Firewall and application control functionality enables network segmentation and blocking of traffic based on security policy and application-specific rules.
  • Sandbox Inspection: Endpoints can be infected with malware via various means such as phishing, vulnerability exploitation, and more. Endpoint security solutions should extract and inspect files in a sandboxed environment to identify and block malicious content from reaching an endpoint.
  • Secure Remote Access: Secure remote access is essential for employees working under a remote or hybrid model. Endpoint security solutions should incorporate a virtual private network (VPN) client or other secure remote access solution.
  • URL Filtering: Malicious links are a commonly-used technique in phishing attacks, and inappropriate web usage on corporate devices impedes productivity and puts the company at risk. URL filtering helps prevent these threats by blocking malicious and inappropriate websites.


Endpoint Protection with Harmony Endpoint

As remote work and BYOD become more common, endpoint protection is an essential component of a corporate cybersecurity strategy. Many potential solutions exist in the endpoint protection space, and choosing the right endpoint security solution is essential to preventing attacks against endpoints and the corporate network.

To learn more about what to look for in an endpoint security solution, check out this buyer’s guide. Then, with these features and criteria in mind, sign up for a free demo of Check Point’s Harmony Endpoint to learn how it can improve your organization’s endpoint threat prevention.

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