Network security is of the utmost importance to every organization and company, no matter its size. A network violation can cause loss of data or loss of service and could even be detrimental enough to completely shut down the organization. Endpoints are a crucial component of network security; in the past, they were not regularly secured, as the network itself was the primary focus. However, with the increased mobility of endpoints, protecting them has become more important.
Unfortunately, many IT security specialists still employ the outdated notion of maintaining a secure perimeter solely around the network. This has led unsecured endpoints to become the most exposed element of network security. Prevent your organization from falling prey to this security flaw by understanding what an endpoint is and how you can secure it.
What Exactly Is an Endpoint?
An endpoint is any device or software that can connect to the internal network. This includes any desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones that have network access. However, an endpoint can be any software on these devices that is capable of connecting to the network as well. This means that a single physical endpoint, such as a laptop, can contain dozens of endpoints within it — such as network cards, firewalls and anti-virus software. Protecting every endpoint on the network is vital to complete security.
How Can I Protect Our Endpoints?
Advanced security software is required to truly secure each endpoint on the network. Endpoint protection has become the most important element of network security. The following are five steps that you can use to secure your endpoints and gain confidence in your overall security.
1. Employ Multi-Layered Security: Multi-layered security relies on multiple methods of securing various endpoints. Some software suites will include every type of security platform that you’ll require, while others may require you to pursue additional programs. For example, a multi-layered approach will ensure regularly updated security patches, updated virus definitions, personal firewalls and data encryption.
2. Use Network Access Control Solutions: Commonly known as NAC, Network Access Control solutions are a type of software that enforces security policies on every computer and device connected to the network. Whenever someone attempts to access the network, NAC software performs a check to confirm that the device is in compliance with your organization’s security programs and policies.
3. Stay Informed: Hackers are always changing and updating their tactics. You must keep up-to-date on the latest threats. Connect to network security communities online and regularly update your security programs. When a new threat is developed that may harm your system, provide training to each employee within your organization.
4. Remember Physical Security, Too: Endpoints have become increasingly mobile, with laptops, tablets and smartphones staples of most offices. Physical security is one of the most basic, and often overlooked, elements of endpoint security. Make sure that every device has comprehensive screen-locking software. Lock every endpoint when not in use, and also make sure that portable endpoints receive an added level of security.
5. Back Up Your Data: Even if you are prepared against every other threat and you have guaranteed that your endpoints are secure, you may still experience an intrusion and loss of data. Performing regular data backups keeps this data from being completely lost. There are several available automated services that perform regular backups as necessary.
You Can Secure Your Endpoints
Securing every endpoint in your network may be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor; however, it will pay off by providing the highest level of network security. All-encompassing network security is required to truly secure your organization’s data and operational ability.