Tackling Endpoint Security Head-On in 2020
As cybersecurity hazards increase, every organization needs an endpoint security solution that can face the modern threat landscape with ease.
Technology and the inherent interconnectedness it fosters provides businesses with near-limitless possibilities.
But with that potential comes no small amount of risks.
The broad spectrum of cybersecurity hazards is perhaps the clearest manifestation of that danger, and endpoint security lies at its core. Already a complicated issue by any standard, it’s only liable to become more complex and urgent to address in 2020.
Many factors play into this forecast. The rise of newer and more dangerous threats, from crippling denial-of-service ransomware to large-scale records theft, is certainly among them, but so is the proliferation of mobile devices as IoT endpoints. What’s undeniable is your organization’s need for an endpoint security solution that can face the modern threat landscape.
Maybe it’s your client database, including all of the financial and personal information you’ve collected in the partnership process, that suddenly becomes inaccessible. Perhaps key files are abruptly encrypted in a way that you’ve never seen before. Or maybe systems grind to a halt and won’t function. You see a message telling you, in so many words, to pay up or lose the data (or remain locked out of your mission-critical networks and devices). It’s a simple and often successful exploit tactic.
The Dollars-and-Cents Factors
To members of the C suite who aren’t chief information or technology officers, the urgency of cybersecurity threats may not be realized.
- Although average organizational cybersecurity spend is up — from $584 per employee in 2012 to $1,178 in 2018 — that may not be nearly enough for large enterprises, or those within commonly targeted industries like finance or health care.
- The average data breach anywhere in the world costs an organization $3.92 million. Specific figures vary by country (unsurprisingly, the U.S. average is highest, at $8.19 million), industry (healthcare breaches cost the most, at $6.45 million per incident) and incident severity.
- All told, the impact of cybercrime costs the world as much as $600 billion each year.
The Endpoint Numbers Game
88% of IT professionals understand the importance of endpoint management and security, but a significant number of those individuals may not know exactly how many endpoints their organizations’ networks have.
Based on the current pace of tech development, the number of endpoints in any given system is bound to increase exponentially in 2020. Significant upticks in overall mobile device use, as well as expansion of the internet of things, will drive this, increasing organizations’ endpoint security risk by default.
More access points mean more vulnerabilities.
Cyberattackers’ Main Goal
Cyberattackers go about their criminal activities for various reasons: monetary gain, the excitement of causing chaos, information misuse, state-sponsored espionage and more.
But your IT team doesn’t have time to speculate about the reasons. There is only room for you to deal with attackers’ goals. Login and access credentials are going to be the primary target of their interloping efforts, with the intention of obtaining and purloining confidential information.
The initial shock of a cyberattack belies how adversely impactful it may be over an extended period of time. A breach’s lifecycle, from initial compromise to containment, lasts an average of 314 days, with about 279 of those directly spent on identification and eradication. You need to cut down that time frame as much as possible, and securing your endpoints is the best way to do that.
Major Endpoint Threats to Watch in 2020
Endpoints, everything from PCs and smartphones to IoT-enabled printers, represent an attractive collection of weak spots to malicious online actors. Such cybercriminals will use malware to attack said endpoints in any way they can: through the operating system and application layers as well as at the firmware and BIOS levels.
Threats of particular note include:
- Ransomware: These high-profile dedicated-denial-of-service attacks have successfully shut down municipal governments including Baltimore, Atlanta and Greenville, North Carolina during 2018 and 2019, and also devastated the healthcare sector.
- Phishing: Social engineering threatens mobile endpoints just as much as desktops.
- Rootkits/backdoor-access attacks: Cyberattackers who care more about theft (monetary or informational) than havoc may use subtler methods like these to gradually take what they want.
- Employee negligence: Lax security-protocol adherence can leave endpoints more open to attack. For example, employee-owned mobile devices are the endpoints least likely to be properly secured.
Consistency in Endpoint Security
You can’t protect your network’s endpoints by operating on a case-by-case basis, going with the flow as different issues arise independent of one another. Doing so amounts to treating this as a “fly by the seat of your pants” issue, which is neither feasible nor responsible in the context of any aspect of cybersecurity (endpoint-related or otherwise).
It is critical for organizations to adopt consistent approaches to endpoint security in 2020 and beyond, fully comprehending and addressing all risks associated with its endpoints. This involves vetting the security capabilities of new devices before they are introduced to the network and continuously monitoring device vulnerability levels to ensure they never become dangerously outdated and unprotected.
Enforce Endpoint Security Hygiene
IT must relentlessly hold the organization to high endpoint security standards:
- Retire and replace legacy hardware/software: Such resources are more likely than not to have unmanageable vulnerabilities.
- Ensure all endpoints matter equally: An attacker entering via a networked printer (a commonly under-protected endpoint) likely isn’t interested in taking over that machine, but rather something far more destructive.
- Keep up with trending threats: Note which scams are most prevalent among your industry peers and in general (like ransomware/DDoS attacks and botnets), without losing sight of less obvious possibilities (logic bombs, man-in-the-middle attacks, formjacking).
- Maintain up-to-date patch management: Enable automatic updates for the most critical security patches, while handling less mission-critical patches manually. (Also, ensure patch application disrupts day-to-day operations minimally or not at all.)
Turn to Syxsense for More Secure Endpoints
Endpoint security is a complex and multifaceted issue requiring vigilance and cooperation across all departments within any given organization. Turning to the broad complement of endpoint security solutions offered by Syxsense will be an excellent place for you to start.
- For a “one-stop-shop” with vulnerability scanning, patch management and endpoint detection and response in one package, look no further than Syxsense Secure. Available as a standalone software product or alongside 24/7 managed services from our dedicated, experienced team.
- The similarly comprehensive Syxsense Manage solution offers additional endpoint, OS and patch management oversight to complete the picture of meticulous and wide-ranging threat management.
Begin your organization’s journey toward airtight endpoint security with a free trial of Syxsense’s products and services.
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