Traditionally, endpoint protection was a priority for security against user error. The biggest concern companies had were having accidental data deleted, lost or stolen corporate devices, and other common employee mistakes. In this day and age, common user errors have become much more catastrophic with the rise of cyber attacks such as ransomware, malware, phishing, and other social engineering tactics. Because of this, endpoint security risk is at an all-time high. Without an evolved endpoint protection strategy, your company is taking that risk head on.

What is endpoint protection?

Endpoint protection is a strategy to prevent endpoint attacks that successfully compromise data assets and/or IT infrastructure. It is necessary as a layered approach especially as cyber attacks become increasingly more frequent and severe. In a 2018 survey conducted by Ponemon Institute LLC and Barkly, 64 percent of respondents reported that their company had experienced one or more successful endpoint attacks involving compromised data. Of which, the average cost incurred by the successful endpoint attacks increased from $5 million in 2017 to $7.12 million in 2018.

Isn’t that what my anti-virus is for?

In the same survey, respondents stated that their anti-virus products missed an average of 57 percent of attacks. In addition to the lack of adequate protection, respondents report high numbers of false positives and alerts with their current solutions. There was a time when relying on anti-virus would have been a reasonable defense.  But those days are long gone and anti-virus is no longer enough even as a baseline defense.  While traditional anti-virus software has improved, it is best to have other backup plans in place. Other layers such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) systems offer a backup to standard antivirus alone.

How do I get started?

A layered approach is the best tactic. You should incorporate next generation anti-virus and anti-malware solutions, vulnerability scanning, intrusion detection and prevention, compliance and auditing, end user security training, incident response and recovery. Some organizations have also found it helpful to take a longer time to test and roll out software patches in order to avoid issues and assess the impact on performance.

As cybersecurity awareness month comes to an end, utilize this time to evaluate your current endpoint protection strategy and make improvements. These best practices and tips could save you from a potentially tragic data disaster.