Endpoint Security Best Practices for your SaaS Business

What is Endpoint Security and How does it Work?

Endpoints are referred to the client or end-user devices such as laptops, mobiles, tablets, personal computers, as well as IoT(Internet of Things) devices. These devices serve as an entry point to a cloud, network, or other internal assets of an enterprise. As the IT industry moves towards the cloud, IoT, BYOD (bring your own device), and remote access, end-user devices are becoming a favorite target for cybercriminals. User end devices or endpoints have a larger attack surface and are easier to exploit than the internal premises of an enterprise. Gaining access to the endpoint not only allows an attacker to exploit the client device but also allows access to the internal infrastructure of an organization.

Likewise, the cybersecurity industry has also developed in recent years and introduced better endpoint security solutions. Today’s leading companies recognize that endpoints are sophisticated access points, and that endpoint security is an essential component of their security stacks. The advanced endpoint security software can assist these enterprises in protecting the frontline of their corporate infrastructure from malicious users and other bad actors. These solutions are capable of detecting, investigating, and responding to malware attacks, data leaks, zero-day threats, hacktivists, and other inside and outside threats.

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How does Endpoint Protection Work?

As the attacks towards end-user devices are becoming more sophisticated, it has become an essential need of enterprises to deploy effective endpoint security solutions. Endpoint Protection Platforms offer rapid time to detection, architectural integration, as well as continues monitoring of the end-user devices that interact with the corporate network.

EPP, Endpoint Security, and Endpoint Protecting are all terms used to refer to a cloud-based security solution that protects endpoints of an organization’s infrastructure by storing the latest and ever-growing database of threats information on the cloud. EPP scans the files, processes, and system activities on all nodes of the enterprise against the threat information present on the centralized cloud. This approach not only keeps the end-user devices bloat-free but also removes the necessity of updating databases on each node. Administrators can also use the centralized management console to connect remotely or on-premises to the enterprise network for monitoring, protecting, investigating, and responding to suspicious activity.

On the contrary to the cloud-based approach, the Traditional or Legacy approach aims to secure endpoints by offering on-premises security controls. They use a locally hosted data center as a hub to keep track of security threats and push these updates to end-user devices. Additionally, the administrators can only operate within the perimeters of the enterprise in this scenario. The traditional or legacy solution cannot be effective if the companies shift towards globalization of their workforce, BYOD, or work from home strategies.
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Traditional Antiviruses VS Endpoint Security Solutions

Conventional antivirus software are directly deployed on the endpoints and offer protection for only that particular endpoint. These software safeguard end-user devices by scanning for patterns that match the signatures or definitions of a virus. Traditional antivirus software does not have advanced capabilities like endpoint detection and response and threat hunting, rather they just look for known viruses and other malware and just remove them.

While endpoint protection platforms are much more powerful and can handle the security of every individual device that interacts with the corporate infrastructure. Apart from it, endpoint security solutions offer access control for all endpoints whether they are in a datacenter, cloud, virtual, or on-premises.

Core Functionality of an Endpoint Protecting Solution

Endpoint protection solutions are equipped with the following fundamental tools to offer consistent and continuous protection of endpoints:-

1. Prevention

Prevention tools like traditional Antiviruses, have antimalware capabilities that allow them to scan malicious signatures, or bits of code against the threat intelligence database. The contributors of the threat database keep it up-to-date whenever a new malware signature is discovered. The downside to these antiviruses is that they scan only discovered threats and cannot protect the environment against threats that are yet to be identified hence not present in the threat intelligence database.

This gap is filled by Next-Generation Antiviruses aka NGAV, that are powered by cutting-edge technologies such as Machine Learning and AI. Utilizing these technologies, NGAV is able to identify system vulnerabilities that aren’t currently present in the threat database by examining system elements such as URLs, file hashes, and IP addresses. As a result, NGAV can protect the enterprise environment better against unknown threats than conventional antivirus software.

2. Detection

Hardening defenses is always better, but it cannot guarantee that they will never be breached. If any malicious attacker manages to get past these defenses, then your security tools should be able to detect and hunt down any silent attacker. Unfortunately, traditional security solutions are unable to achieve this task effectively, leaving many hackers unchecked if they gain access to internal corporate networks.

Endpoint Detection and Response or EDR can mitigate this problem by offering comprehensive and continues visibility of endpoints in real-time. Along with the capabilities like threat detection, investigation, and response, EDR also packs some other exciting features like alert triage, threat hunting, malicious activity detection and containment, and suspicious activity validation. The capabilities of EDR solutions allow it to detect beyond just signature-based attacks and provide security against ransomware, fileless malware, and polymorphic attacks.

3. Managed Threat Hunting

While automated software solutions can provide pretty good security, they also have their limitations. This is why it is crucial to have a team of skilled security professionals in your organization to work alongside these automated solutions and close any holes that might be left by security software. Growing sophisticated attacks can be countered by elite cybersecurity teams that are experts in managing threat hunting. These professionals are well versed in handling these kinds of incidents, know how to aggregate crowdsourced data, and are capable of providing guidance in case of a data breach.

4. Threat Intelligence Integration

With the advancement of technology, modern cyber-attacks have evolved to such an extent where they are capable of penetrating well-secured defenses. Advanced persistent threats and sophisticated adversaries can stealthily exploit endpoints without being detected by automated software and security teams.

The only way to deal with these troublemakers is to keep your threat intelligence updated with the latest threats information. Additionally, your security team should receive threat information regarding emerging threats in the market and details about hack incidents around the world. Such techniques can help your organization generate custom indicators of compromises for endpoints in an effort to patch the vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

You might have probably heard of the term “business process” but you will be wondering what exactly it means. Business process consists of a series of steps that are taken by stakeholders in order to achieve any solid goal or objective. A stakeholder is assigned a specific task at each step. Business Process serves as a dependency for several other corporate frameworks such as process automation, business process management, etc. You simply cannot ignore the importance of business processes in an enterprise. It helps businesses to allocate their resources effectively and align individual activities in the favor of enterprise’s goals.

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Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services

MDR services offers protection for endpoints and corporate networks from ransomware, malwares, and other security threats. MDR offers quick threat prevention with advanced threat intelligence, threat detection, and AI-driven solutions to counter these threats. By utilizing the MDR solution, the security teams of the enterprise can maintain the security of the enterprise 24/7. Some perks of using MDR are:-

    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Enhanced productivity and speed response
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Prevent future incidents
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Comprehensive security with complexity

 

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

XDR goes beyond typical threat hunting that usually focuses on one data point and correlates and collects data across multiple layers including emails, clouds, endpoints, networks, and servers, hence also named cross-layered detection and response tools. In addition to endpoint security, XDR lets you control multiple data points so that your security team can better contain a cyber threat. Extended Detection and Response really shines where sophisticated cyber threats manage to trick endpoint security and hide in between multiple layers of your corporate network. Some state-of-the-art XDR solutions come with features like:-

    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Single Pane of Glass Management
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Integrated Visibility
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Improved Productivity
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Lower Cost of Ownership
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Rapid Time to Value
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Analyst Support

 

Connected to multiple endpoints through multiple layers of the corporate environment, XDR provides unified control, improved attack understanding, and remediation, as well as full visibility to the security team of the organization.

Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR)

SOAR is something that cybersecurity firm Gartner came up with. SOAR is designed to complement the efforts of security teams by sharing their tasks. SOAR provides automated responses to a variety of events. Furthermore, the flexible nature of the system allows organizations to customize it according to their needs. Along with the introduction of the system, Gartner also coined its capabilities which are

    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Incident Response Workflow
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Data Enrichment
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Security Controls Automation

 

SOAR works by collecting a large sum of security data from various sources. By utilizing this data, it can effectively standardize threat detection and remediation processes, respond to low-level security events, and outline automation strategies. By implementing SOAR effectively, enterprises can not only save time but also reduce their security staff or free up their existing personnel to work on other projects.

Security Operations Center (SOC)

SOC serves as a HQ for the security team of an enterprise, from where staff monitor all the activities of the enterprise’s information system. The SOC team is responsible for detecting, analyzing, and responding to cybersecurity threats in order to maintain the security posture of the enterprise. The IT staff members utilize different security solutions to ensure that the integrity of corporate infrastructure remains intact. SOC teams may have supervisors overseeing the security operations of their staff as they work closely with the organizational incident response team. The purpose of this cooperation is to identify and contain any vulnerabilities in the corporate system as soon as possible.

The scope of the SOC team comprises endpoints, servers, databases, applications, networks, websites, and other systems. As a result, the SOC team monitors the organization’s security 24/7 and notifies the authorities of any suspicious activity.

Conclusion

Modern organizations are dealing with a dangerously broadened threat landscape due to the increasing number of end-user devices. It is also due to the fact that the protection of end-user devices is usually neglected within the enterprise security stack. It is this negligence that allows malicious users to gain access to the corporate network through any of the available endpoints, since exploiting endpoints is relatively easy compared to exploiting the corporate network.

Companies understand that endpoints are sensitive points of entrance and that they should not be left unchecked. Therefore, they implement an Endpoint Protection Platform powered by cutting-edge technologies to track and patch vulnerabilities in the environment intelligently. Technological advancements have brought various cybersecurity solutions aimed towards maintaining the security posture of the organization’s information system. Many of them focus on endpoints, while others integrate into multiple layers of the corporate infrastructure. Enterprises can have better control over the increasing number and types of access points if they adhere to the defined data security standards.


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