How Endpoint Security Is Gaining Prominence

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How Endpoint Security Is Gaining Prominence

Endpoint security is a way to protect your business network when it is connected to remote devices like smartphones, printers, laptops, etc.  A business server is installed with an endpoint security software and the same software is also installed on all other endpoint devices to ensure the security of the network. This is done to save the data from becoming vulnerable, in case the endpoint unit is accessed by any unauthorized person. The endpoint software acts as a firewall that restricts the access of malicious content.

Endpoint security in the earlier days was limited to independent devices but now, security tools are managed centrally by the management or security manager. The security measures work on a dual basis –

  1. Software agents – to run in the background on endpoints
  2. Centralized tool – a centralized security management system that monitors and controls the agents.

Endpoint Security Risk report issued by Ponemon Institute and Barkly show that 7 out of 10 organizations experienced an increase in endpoint security risk in the past 12 months. [1]

The rise in endpoint security has simultaneously resulted in an increase of “fileless” attacks.

A fileless attack is an attack that drops the malware without any executable file and instead uses exploits, scripts, or other legitimate system tools.

In order to discover how organizations are dealing with the endpoint security, Barkly, teaming with Ponemon Institute, surveyed 665 management professionals from different organizations.[1] Here is what they found:

  • Risk of getting exposed and compromising to threats is rising due to fileless attacks.
  • Traditional solutions like Antivirus have lost their basic purpose as fileless malware cannot be identified by them.
  • The hidden cost of endpoint security making it less affordable and complex.

Cost of Endpoint Attacks

Today’s organizations are struggling to get the best security for their endpoints. They are investing a huge amount of money to ensure that their endpoints are not vulnerable and are in safe hands. On average, every successful attack is causing them to spend $5million or $301 per employee. [1]

Difference Between Endpoint Security and Antivirus

Antivirus Endpoint Security
Antivirus forms a part of endpoint security. Endpoint security is a broader concept that includes antivirus, firewall, patching, whitelisting tool, logging and more.
It is a single program that scans, detects and removes malware, viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, and other types of malware. It employs a server/client model for protecting the various endpoints.

Difference Between Endpoint Security and Network Security

Network Security Endpoint Security
Network security is responsible for protecting the entire network against various security threats. Endpoint security is responsible for securing the endpoints and also securing the server from any threats arising out of endpoints
The security of the server is important. The security of the endpoints is important.

Four Pillars of Endpoint Security

The main reason for having four pillars is to make the network work even in vulnerable conditions. Let us consider three endpoints – desktops, servers, and mobile devices and the four pillars of endpoints are expected to serve the following goals –

  • Protection of endpoint
  • Prepare the endpoint to heal by itself
  • Defend network bandwidth
  • Allow the network to deal with threats independently

With these goals in mind, the following are the four pillars required for effective endpoint security:

  • Endpoint hardening
  • Endpoint resiliency
  • Network prioritization
  • Network resiliency

For each pillar, there are again additional goals assigned to practice and implement an automated process under central supervision. Let us consider each of these pillars in detail:

  1. Endpoint Hardening

The first pillar goal is to ensure that the systems in the network are updated with the latest defensive technologies. Typically, the major causes of the threat are email attachments and compromised websites that are efficient in propagating viruses over the network.

A good practice to combat these threats is, to have an effective antivirus or anti-malware software. These threats can also be treated easily by isolating the vulnerable device and fixing it independently so that it should not spread to other devices on the network.

Endpoint hardening also ensures that the third party application is safe and working seamlessly. By monitoring the endpoint hardening, you can identify the unexpected behavior of the network assets and avoid intrusions in a scalable way.

  1. Endpoint Resiliency

The second pillar, endpoint resiliency, is to ensure the monitoring and recording of health information on devices and applications. This is done to repair the failed devices or applications automatically, without disrupting the operations.

A few of the technologies that can help in making the endpoints more resilient are Microsoft System Center, Network Access Protection, etc. For better results, these technologies can be implemented together to establish auto-healing behavior based on scalable and standardized baselines.

By monitoring the endpoint resiliency mean, considering trends in the areas like machines that are out of compliance, duration of non-compliance and the reasons for non-compliance. These recordings can help in identifying potential threats and their nature of occurrence. By monitoring the resilient pillar, you are making the endpoints robust to stand against the increasingly sophisticated attacks.

  1. Network Prioritization

Network prioritization is the third pillar of endpoint security which has a goal of ensuring that your infrastructure is capable to meet the requirements of application bandwidth. This is made to prepare the network to deal with unexpected surges, peak demand times and distributed internal and external attacks.

Technologies like DiffServ and QoS can be used to manage application bandwidth. This pillar serves to represent the technology gap between what is needed and what is commercially available. Later, it may also help to understand application identity, user identity, and business priorities. This will enable network routers to partition bandwidth based on the information.

The network routers when doing the flow logging for trend analysis, the pillar can be monitored to understand the difference between the flow patterns daily. Information like changes in load on the network, new addresses hitting the network, location of the new addresses, etc.

  1. Network Resiliency

This pillar is similar to endpoint resiliency where the goal of it is to facilitate auto-healing of the network to minimize the management burden. It is done by allowing for seamless asset failover. There are few techniques which can in real-time afford to reconfigure the network as performance degrades.

The network resiliency pillar focuses on the fact that redundancy and failover should be implemented on small as well as on a large scale. Technologies like clustering, replication, and virtualization can be considered to provide failover at the single node as well as at the larger scale.

The failover technologies need to be monitored using load data for resource planning as they evolve.

Each of the endpoint security pillars has sufficient security, network and business-continuity technologies which are often not deployed or not used to the full potential. With the available commercial security and technologies in place, the IT managers can –

  • Exploit the four pillars to identify threats on the path of network defenses.
  • Involve with the decision makers on the comparative costs and benefits of the strategy.
  • Initiate additional investments in automation and monitoring.

Many of the enterprises may be operating on the edge of available resources in one or more of the pillars. The critical issue is to restructure your thinking in a way that you should accommodate each of these four pillars independently.

The significance of endpoint security is increasing as the major threats often appear to be the result of unattended or ignored endpoint security standards. The monitoring and recording of fluctuations in the endpoint security pillars give a potential input to the management in taking necessary security actions, setting up security controls, forming security strategy for each pillar,  or practicing employee awareness programs and explaining to them the need for updating their systems.

Does Endpoint Security Excite You?

If yes, then you can explore EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender program which is a vendor-neutral, hands-on, instructor-led comprehensive network security program. It is a skills-based, lab intensive program based on a job-task analysis and cybersecurity education framework presented by the National Initiative Cybersecurity Education (NICE). The course has also been mapped to global job roles and responsibilities and the Department of Defense (DoD) job roles for system/network administrators. The course is designed and developed after extensive market research and surveys. The job roles that demands this C|ND certification are – Certified Network Defender, Cyber Network Defender, Network Defense Architect, and more.

To learn more about our Certified Network Defender (C|ND) program, visit: https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-network-defender-cnd/


[1] https://www.ponemon.org/blog/the-2017-state-of-endpoint-security-risk-report

[2] https://techbeacon.com/30-cybersecurity-stats-matter-most

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