Endpoint protection has become a key aspect of many cybersecurity plans. With the increase in devices connecting to corporate networks, from employees using their own devices to IoT gadgets including printers, copiers, and other office equipment, the number of potential entry points for hackers is higher than ever.
However, because the idea of endpoint protection is relatively new, many companies still aren’t entirely clear about what to consider when purchasing a solution. In some cases, companies purchase a solution, install it, and forget about it, which doesn’t offer much protection. In other cases, companies assume that the security that’s already in place is adequate, and don’t invest in the protection at all.
Neither of these scenarios is ideal, which is why it’s important to consider some of the most important aspects of endpoint security before you spend money on a solution.
Key Things to Consider When Buying Endpoint Protection
1. Endpoint Protection Does Not Replace Other Security Tools and Policies
Endpoint protection should be viewed as a tool in an overall security strategy – not the strategy itself. Threats to your network can come from multiple sources, so it’s important identify and mitigate all of those risks. Focusing on just one area of security – or even just a few key points – will inevitably create holes in your overall security that hackers will exploit. Not to mention, no security tool can be effective if the users of your network aren’t trained and educated about security risks, and if you don’t have policies in place to maintain acceptable use and access standards. Endpoint protection, therefore, must be viewed as a weapon in your arsenal against cyberattacks.
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2. Size Matters
If your business is a small, 10-20 person shop with a minimal number of devices connecting to your network, then you need a different endpoint protection solution that a major, multinational company with thousands of employees connecting to the network from all over the world. That doesn’t mean that smaller companies can get away with less security, however. Small companies are still targets for hackers, and the effects of a breach can be even more devastating. That being said, a smaller company can probably afford to use an easy-to-deploy all-in-one endpoint security solution, whereas a larger organization might need to invest in a more tailored solution that works in concert with existing network architecture.
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3. You Need an Implementation Plan
As with any new tool, you need to develop a plan for implementation before deploying it. This means determining how the endpoint protection will interact and work with existing tools and software, and ensuring that the security solution will not interfere with user experience. If it does impact user experience, you can expect employees to look for workaround solutions, or even find ways to disable to endpoint protection, that could create vulnerabilities and put your company at risk. Before deploying the protection, then, you need to have a plan for doing so without disrupting normal daily activities in the business.
4. Endpoint Protection Requires Ongoing Maintenance
Endpoint security is not a “set it and forget it” tool. As with any aspect of your network, you need to conduct ongoing maintenance to ensure that it is up-to-date and working as it should. This typically includes installing updates and patches, maintaining logs, and testing to ensure the product is still working as it should. Because this necessary maintenance can disrupt the function of the tool, or even activities on other applications, you need to not only expect to conduct maintenance, but also plan for it, so as to ensure that it is as non-disruptive as possible.
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5. You May Need to Make a Case for Endpoint Protection
For some IT professionals, convincing the CEO that endpoint protection is the most difficult aspect of installing it. Often, those outside of the IT trenches don’t see the same threats that you do – and they may assume that all of the tools that you have in place are more than adequate for protecting against all the threats. Therefore, it’s very likely that it could take some convincing to get everyone onboard with investing in an endpoint security tool. When you do, your best approach is to reiterate how the product will make the network and the company safer, save time and money, and be easy to use. If you can accomplish those three things, then you should be able to successfully convince leadership of the need for such a product.
Data breaches can cost a company hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars. As you consider your strategy for protecting against these costly incidents, you need to consider all possible entry points, and that’s where endpoint protection comes in. Before you invest, though, make sure you have all the facts, and know exactly what you’re getting into.