Endpoint Security 101: How it Works & Why it Matters

Endpoint security protocols are highly sought-after solutions in the cybersecurity space. In 2022, the security software market grew 22.5% — and endpoint protection was the top market segment by market share. In the coming years, endpoint security is expected to continue its popularity streak. Experts predict that the global endpoint security market will reach $31.1 billion by 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3%.

So, what’s caused the heightened interest in endpoint security? Simply put, employees are using more devices (or endpoints) to access company networks in new and diverse ways.  Since the widespread work-from-home movement swept across the States in 2020, many business leaders have incorporated practices to facilitate fluid data access. They ushered in bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile accessibility policies, and substantially increased the endpoints in their organization’s arsenal.  

Endpoints are also being used in novel ways. A recent HP survey reveals that 76% of respondents reported that remote work has blurred their personal and professional lives. More employees are using corporate devices for personal affairs — and one-third admit to lending their work laptops to others.

While keeping track of every company device can seem like a tall task, doing so has never been more critical: 70% of cybersecurity breaches occur on endpoint devices, and an overwhelming majority can be prevented.  In this blog, we delve into the basics of endpoint security, how it works, and the sophisticated features it uses to safeguard company data.  

Endpoint security: the basics

Having evolved from traditional antivirus software, endpoint security aims to protect a company’s devices from the cascade of ever-advancing cybersecurity threats. Every device that connects to a corporation’s network is an endpoint — and each endpoint is considered a vulnerability, providing an entry point for cybercriminals.  

Endpoint security practices enable businesses to spot malware and other threats through early detection and meticulous monitoring. These techniques empower organizations to detect malware, viruses, and other advanced threats before they wreak havoc on their networks. Endpoint devices encompass a wide range of machines that connect to a corporate network, including but not limited to:

• Laptops

• Desktop computers

• Mobile devices

• Printers

• Tablets

• Servers

• Scanners

• Industrial machines

• ATM machines

• POS systems

• Internet of Things devices

• Wearables (including smart watches)

• Medical devices

Endpoint Security in Action

IT specialists can deploy endpoint security solutions through on-prem, cloud-enabled, or hybrid approaches. While cloud tools can seamlessly integrate with existing corporate architecture, certain regulatory rules may also require an on-premises security element.  

Endpoint security involves a centralized management console that connects to an organization’s devices. Technicians can manage endpoints from this console and take action against threats. Software is also deployed to each endpoint to authenticate login attempts, facilitate updates, and administer corporate policies for each device.  

Two central components of endpoint solutions are endpoint protection platforms and endpoint detection and response:

Endpoint protection platforms (EPP) examine the files and data that enter an organization’s network. EPP solutions inspect files that enter a network to check for malicious signature matches. This tool holds an ever-expanding database of threat information — thereby freeing endpoints of the bloat related to storing large archives of data locally.  

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a form of passive threat protection that provides context and data for attacks that span multiple endpoints. EDR solutions can detect advanced threats, such as fileless malware, polymorphic attacks, and zero-day attacks.

State-of-the-Art Endpoint Solutions at Work

As data breach costs continue to surge, organizations are assessing their security toolkits and comparing them to the advanced solutions available today. Endpoint security has evolved considerably over the years and offers cutting-edge tools that keep threats at bay, including:

Threat identification tools that pinpoint and block threats by comparing them to known threat signatures. These also block suspicious code and activities that resemble known threats.

Behavior monitoring, which encompasses machine learning, artificial intelligence, and behavioral analysis to uncover suspicious activity.  

Forensic analysis to monitor all endpoint activity and creates a digital footprint of malicious incidents. All the details of an attack (what took place, the consequences, etc.) are gathered and analyzed to prevent reoccurrences.  

Browser protection tools to protect devices by moving web browsing to the cloud — and away from endpoints. These solutions safeguard devices when an employee inadvertently visits a malicious site or clicks a suspicious link.

Application management functions to ensure applications are valid and up to date, their activities are secure, and they have permission to fulfill their functions.  

Rules-based policies to uphold security, including information access tiers and block lists. These policies can include endpoint firewalls, access management, and more.  

Data quarantine capabilities to rapidly isolate risky files from devices. This technique cleans valuable files rather than simply discarding them to safeguard data.  

Email gateway protection, which allows safe emails to pass through and sends suspicious messages to quarantine. Email gateways block malware and viruses, filter content, and archive emails.

Wrap Up

As the threat landscape continues to advance, security solutions must evolve in lockstep. Endpoint security protocols are a must-have for businesses today — particularly when we consider that over two-thirds of cybersecurity breaches occur on endpoint devices.

Although keeping track of company devices might seem like a daunting endeavor, endpoint security solutions can be seamlessly deployed to do all the heavy lifting. Organizations of all types are taking advantage of endpoint protection — as evidenced by the explosive growth of its industry — and you can too.

At Riverstrong, we believe that securing your data means covering all your bases. Our dedicated specialists will monitor, manage, and uphold the security of your corporate devices while protecting your valuable data. Connect with us to learn how we can take your cybersecurity to new heights today!


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