Antivirus software isn’t enough anymore to protect your business from cybersecurity threats. You need a comprehensive endpoint security solution. But what does that mean? Why is it important? How is it different from the antivirus software you may already be using? And how can it protect your company’s data from threats?
Endpoint security goes further than traditional antivirus to protect your company’s data from security threats. It secures all of your network’s many endpoints, from laptops and desktops to mobile devices, servers, and other hardware. It serves to address the risks inherent in connecting devices and hardware to an enterprise network, to protect your business from the many and evolving cyberthreats facing it. Here’s how:
Why Your Business Needs Endpoint Security
The threat to businesses from cyberattacks is massive, and growing. In 2016, 61 percent of data breaches affected small businesses; in 2015, it was 53 percent. A severe cybercrime can cost a small business between $84,000 and $148,000. Notifying customers of a breech can destroy their confidence in your business; 60 percent of small businesses are forced to go out of business within six months of an attack.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) policies leave many businesses vulnerable to attack. These policies may result in employees using unsecured devices to conduct business, or storing sensitive data and other valuable information with vulnerable cloud storage services like DropBox or OneDrive. If your company has a BYOD or BYOC policy, you need to consider what endpoint security can do to protect company data and assets from cyberattack.
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Endpoint Security vs. Antivirus Software: What’s the Difference?
Many business owners simply install antivirus (AV) software on company computers, hardware, and devices, then consider themselves protected from threats. But it’s not that simple – not anymore.
AV software simply isn’t equipped to protect fully against today’s malware threats. Today’s hackers are increasingly relying on polymorphic or metamorphic malware that changes its code to evade detection by conventional AV software. Even when malware threats don’t change their codes to mutate like living viruses, AV software isn’t always great at detecting them. That’s because conventional AV software relies on signature detection, and it must regularly update its signature database in order to detect new threats. But malicious software can exist on a system – stealing data the entire time – for up to six months before a conventional AV program detects it.
What Endpoint Security Can Do for You
Today’s endpoint security solutions contain a range of features to protect all of your network’s endpoints from cyberattackers. Some of the functions you can expect from modern endpoint security solutions include:
- Data loss prevention, to protect sensitive data from hackers and maintain your customers’ faith in your company
- Encryption for endpoint devices, emails, and disks to make data more secure.
- Protection from insider threats, to ensure that employees are vetted before hire and that disgruntled former employees don’t still have access to the network and the data therein
- Control of network access, to guarantee that only trusted, vetted individuals have access to the network.
- Application whitelisting, to make sure that your network isn’t compromised by suspicious software downloads.
- Privileged user control, so that access to sensitive data can be restricted to those trusted users who need it.
- Data classification, so that different layers of security can be applied to different kinds of data, as needed.
- Security hygiene, to educate team members on cybersecurity best practices, so that your network and systems aren’t compromised by employee security mistakes.
- Endpoint detection and response, to fend off many attacks and mitigate the damage associated with those that can’t be deflected.
Endpoint security software is usually installed on both your company’s central servers and the individual desktops and devices being used within the company. Usually, endpoint security involves the implementation of a range of applications and measures, and may include the use of AV software, firewalls, and other forms of protection with which you may already be familiar. Many solutions also include some form of cyberattack insurance, to help your business recover in the event of significant losses due to an attack.
If you don’t have endpoint security solutions in place for your small business, you may be more vulnerable than you know. Fourteen million American businesses are at risk for cyberattack. Put your protections in place before your business suffers.