Protecting network endpoints has become increasingly challenging as more businesses move towards remote working environments, with devices outside of the network security and out of sight of management staff.
Thankfully there are certain clear steps you can take to ensure that all endpoints of your network have heightened security, making it much more difficult for hackers and malicious actors to gain access to your network.
What is an Endpoint?
An endpoint is any physical device that connects to and exchanges information with the network. This includes things like mobile phones, desktop PCs and tablets but also devices such as smart speakers, thermostats and even refrigerators can be endpoints.
Endpoints are like the gateways into your business and this is the reason why cyber criminals target them. They fall outside of networks accurately and require staff members to keep the correct security procedures in place and keep up to date with any software updates that are needed. This means they are prone to human error and cyber criminals can capitalise on this.
According to a study from Verizon Data Breach Investigations, 43% of cyber attacks involve small businesses. In a way, small businesses work almost like an endpoint themselves connecting to larger corporations, with fewer cybersecurity defences in place.
What are the Main Endpoint Security Risks?
As an increasing number of businesses move towards remote working environments, they are open to more cyber threats on devices that fall outside of the security network.
Some of the more common endpoint security risks include:
Phishing—where cybercriminals trick employees into sharing sensitive information in order to gain access to the network and secure data.
Ransomware malware—locks a victim out of their device until an amount of money is paid to the cyber-criminal.
Losing devices—one of the main causes of data breaches for all businesses, especially when company login details are saved to the device, leaving the doors open for malicious actors and cybercriminals.
Outdated software—another cause for concern, with remote workers, there will be an increased risk that they will not update the device regularly enough without any supervision.
Malware ads—use online ads to spread malware and infect devices can be an issue, especially if the employees are using a combination of their own devices and work devices that are used for non-work related web activity.
When workers are operating in a remote environment, there is also a risk from what is known as drive-by downloads where software is automatically downloaded onto a device without the user's knowledge.
How to Enhance Endpoint Security
There are a number of ways you can strengthen the security of any devices connected to your network. These include:
Keep Systems and Software Regularly Updated
In order to strengthen the security of your endpoints, it is important to carry out regular updates of all operating systems.
Having a data security policy helps you define what procedure staff should take. Within this policy document, you can include mandatory software updates at regular intervals.
You can further strengthen the security of your endpoints with encryption—this will add another layer of protection to your devices and data.
With encrypted endpoints, any cybercriminal who gains access will not be able to view the data or access any information.
As human error is one of the leading causes of data breaches it is vital to ensure that all staff get regular cybersecurity awareness training. This forms the basis of your company’s security as it is your staff members who will determine the overall integrity of your security systems based on their actions (or inaction).
They are the front line in the war against cyber criminals and as such need to be properly equipped to be able to ensure the security of your endpoints.
Mandatory Password Changes and Password Strength
Even today, the most commonly used password is still 123456, despite everything we know about cyber criminals and their activities. Enforcing strong passwords is often overlooked by employers but is relatively easy to set up.
Most programs will have settings that enforce regular password changes and require certain levels of complexity. In your data security policy, you should include the requirements for password strength and how often they should be changed by the user.
Track All Devices
To fully secure the endpoints of a business it is necessary to keep track of all devices and update the inventory regularly, as well as keeping all the required software regularly patched.
At Lyon, we provide businesses with full end-to-end solutions that help them keep track of all devices and a range of cyber security services to ensure a robust defence against any cyber threats.
With live operation monitoring and infrastructure analysis, we keep a constant watch over all devices in the network with a sophisticated alert system allowing our engineers to quickly inform the customer of any issues and proactively manage any potential threats, ensuring continual operation.
For more details on how to secure your business endpoints or which cybersecurity and infrastructure monitoring services would be beneficial to your business, get in touch with us today or find more information here on professional cybersecurity services.