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Endpoint Security 101: What It Is and Why You Need It

Richard Clayton
Small businesses are the number-one target for cyberattacks. This is because businesses are bloated with valuable data that cybercriminals can use to perpetrate further attacks or else, sell to other hackers for major (crypto) coin.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your business — whether you are just a startup, operating from your garage or an established enterprise growing larger everyday — you need to commit to cybersecurity practices to keep your business, employees and clients safe.
One of the most integral elements of business cybersecurity is endpoint security. This guide will go over what endpoint security is, why you need it and where you can find it, so that you can keep your business strong and safe against cyber threats.

What Is Endpoint Security

The first step to understanding endpoint security is understanding endpoints. Endpoints are the user-facing elements of your business network; tools that connect to the network and are handled by you or your staff.
Vast majority of endpoints are your computers and smartphones, but you may also have routers and modems, servers, IoT devices and other endpoints that need protection. Thus, endpoint security consists of security tools that effectively protect your various endpoints from threats.
Many business owners mistakenly believe that endpoint security begins and ends at antivirus. The truth is that effective endpoint security solutions offer several other features.
A few of the features are:
  • Encryption, for disk, email and/or endpoint
  • Application control, such as whitelisting or blacklisting
  • Endpoint detection
  • Privileged user control
  • Network access control
  • Data classification
  • Data loss prevention
  • Insider threat protection

Why You Need Endpoint Security

Your network might be connected to the vast, dangerous internet, but your endpoints are connected to your network. That means your endpoints are just as juicy targets for cybercriminals as your business network — and what’s more, they are easier to access.
Human error is the number-one cause of data breaches within business organizations. That’s because you or your employees are responsible for controlling your endpoints, which are key gateways to your valuable data.
Humans are wanton with endpoints in many ways. They connect to public or unknown networks; download untrustworthy applications; click on unfamiliar links and images; plug in strange USB drives, and all such activities without updating their software or maintaining a security suite.
Worse, many startups and small businesses have begun implementing BYOD policies, where staff can come to work with their personal devices. This is bad because you don’t know how your employees are using their devices off the clock — or while they are working, if logged-in remotely.
Endpoint security gives you insight into how any device connected to your network is behaving. It gives you control over your endpoints, so you can prevent many human-driven behaviors that may put your business at risk. It’s a simple and relatively cheap solution to what could be a devastating vulnerability in your business.

Where to Find Endpoint Security

You can’t expect every antivirus program to provide you adequate endpoint security. What’s more, you shouldn’t trust just any supposed endpoint product purveyor.
The safety of your business is at stake, hence you need to do your research to find an endpoint solution that meets your current security needs and will scale with your enterprise into the future.
For smaller startups, i.e. if it’s just you and two devices working out of your home, you might be able to use a pre-packaged endpoint protection plan. However, if you anticipate business growth in the near future, or if your business is already booming, it’s important that you find a customized endpoint security plan.
It’s advisable to seek out big names in security and speak with their sales or customer service staff to better understand what their endpoint products will do for you, specifically.
Your business is already under threat of cyber attack. Every device on your network is being targeted by malicious hackers greedy for your data. The sooner you give your endpoints adequate protection, the sooner you can use your endpoints without fear.