What is Endpoint Protection and Why is It Important? 

Woman sitting at a laptop.

To say that endpoints are vulnerable would be an understatement. According to Verizon, 90% of successful cyberattacks and as many as 70% of data breaches originate at the endpoint. Clearly, it’s essential for all businesses to secure their endpoints—without delay or without fail.

What is Endpoint Protection?

An unsecured endpoint provides cyber criminals with the opportunity to access unauthorized networks, to steal or corrupt company data, or to install malware and viruses. These may be external attacks or insider threats, made on mobile devices, desktop computers, virtual machines, embedded devices, or servers.

Endpoint protection (a.k.a. endpoint security) involves monitoring and protecting endpoints against cyber threats. More specifically, endpoint protection consists of centrally managed security solutions that organizations leverage to protect endpoints against malicious actors and exploits.

Endpoint Security Protection

Consider today’s workforce; Pew Research Center found that around 22 million employed adults (aged 18 and over) in the U.S. work from home. This is by no means a fad when you consider that by 2025, an estimated 32.6 million Americans will be working remotely—about 22% of the workforce. Is there a workstyle/breach correlation? Absolutely. Over half of all companies (62%) have experienced a breach that was at least partially attributable to remote working in the past three years.

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have exacerbated vulnerabilities, allowing employees to use their personal smartphones, tablets, laptops and wearables to access enterprise data from anywhere. A lack of adequate network security and weak remote access authentication has given hackers an “in” into organizational networks and data.

Yet despite the increase in security risks associated with remote working, only 47% of organizations monitor their networks 24/7, and only 50% encrypt sensitive data that’s stored on devices. Additionally, less than half of businesses both monitor their network and protect company-owned devices with up-to-date antivirus software, device encryption and firewalls. That’s not a smart strategy as cyberattacks become increasingly more sophisticated.

Types of Endpoint Attacks

Businesses generally deal with six types of cyberattacks on endpoints:

  • Phishing - a hacker uses social engineering tactics to trick the target into handing over sensitive information or downloading malware.
  • Ransomware - malware prevents an organization from accessing its information, systems, data, or networks until a ransom is paid.
  • Distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks - disrupts the normal traffic of a targeted website, server, or network by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic.
  • Botnet - a group of internet-connected devices are compromised and controlled by a malicious cybercriminal. This can include anything from CCTV cameras and smart home appliances to smartphones and tablets.
  • Drive-by download - involves unknowingly clicking on a malicious link or downloading malware to a device that leaves the target vulnerable to an attack.
  • Outdated security - patches that go unhandled are a prime target for outside threats.

A Very High Price to Pay

Did you know that 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses and only 14% are considered prepared, aware, and capable of defending their networks and data? These attacks come at a very high price—IBM found the average data breach cost companies $4.45M. Breaches involving remote work—the prime reason for unsecured endpoints—cost an average of $1.05 million more. That’s a very high price to pay for an attack that could potentially be circumvented. What comprises the loss? Customer turnover, system downtime, and the cost of acquiring new business due to tarnished reputation, take a significant toll on the bottom line.

Next Steps for Businesses

So what can businesses do to for endpoint security protection? Rule of thumb: act proactively versus reactively. A solution must be put in place before an attack hits. This includes conducting a vulnerability assessment to identify security gaps that put endpoints at risk, and patching everything early and often.

It’s also wise to introduce new endpoint protection software for comprehensive endpoint security such as GoTo Resolve Endpoint Protection. Offered from GoTo—a trusted partner for companies of all sizes to connect, collaborate, secure their workforces, and support employees and customers—the software helps IT teams manage each endpoint from a single view, with a central dashboard and diagnostic reporting.

The fact is, with hybrid and remote work a fact of business, endpoint protection must be firmly in place now—and for the long term. Learn more about GoTo Resolve Endpoint Protection today.

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