Choosing the Right Endpoint Security Solution
In the current cybersecurity landscape, it’s essential that organizations implement a layered approach to endpoint security. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the right endpoint protection suite.
Endpoint protection is one of the most critical components of a multilayered cybersecurity approach. It’s important to choose an endpoint data protection solution that is reliable, allows you to focus on your business, and doesn’t interfere with your other systems.
Deciding which endpoint protection suite to choose is a big decision. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide to help you choose the right platform for your protection needs.
Evaluating Your Business Needs
The first step in choosing the best endpoint data protection solution is to understand what your business needs. Consider the following when examining and evaluating your needs:
Capacity and Scalability
The bigger your business or organization, the greater the number of endpoints you’ll need. This means capacity is an important consideration. For especially large organizations, the endpoint solution must be prepared to handle a large number of users from the beginning. Scalability should also be a key consideration for any business or organization that anticipates rapid growth. This applies to both new and established enterprises, SMBs, or startups.
What sector you are in can influence the security you need. Regulatory requirements in a given sector may influence your choice of an endpoint protection platform (EPP). For example, government and military sectors have incredibly stringent security policies and requirements that they must adhere to. Federal agencies may need specific types of endpoint security solutions in order to comply.
Endpoint security is absolutely indispensable when it comes to securing your company or enterprise’s data. However, budget is still a factor that organizations have to consider when choosing their endpoint protection suite. In fact, 70 percent of IT leaders admit that budget considerations have forced them to compromise on security features.
Another factor to consider when determining the right endpoint protection platform are your work policies, such as whether employees can work remotely or not. If there is a remote work policy, you should consider an endpoint security suite that allows for secure remote access.
Cloud vs. On-Premises
Deciding between a cloud solution and on-premises can be a difficult task. Both have significant benefits.
Cloud solutions offer flexibility and scalability. They’re much easier to manage and integrate, allowing your IT staff to work on more high-value tasks. There is also a great deal less overhead since there is no infrastructure to maintain. The installation process is simple and fast, and it’s much easier to switch to another endpoint security solution if the one you choose doesn't meet your needs.
However, if your organization’s security policy wants greater control over the process and data, or wants to restrict internet access on your networks, it might be better to choose an on-premises endpoint data protection solution.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Endpoint Data Protection Solution
Here are some things to consider when choosing an endpoint data protection solution.
Detection and Response
An endpoint protection suite must be able to detect all threats that enter the network. Most malware is designed, of course, to evade detection. The problem with this is you won’t always know if something has gotten through defenses unless your system starts behaving erratically or slows down. This is why it’s imperative to regularly audit your network traffic. You can check authentic and real-world tests by going with a software or vendor that has a proven track record.
Protection from Exploits
An advanced endpoint protection suite should have exploit prevention (EP) which specifically targets malware that takes advantage of vulnerabilities in software. This is an additional layer of protection. EP provides a non-intrusive and efficient way to detect and block both known and unknown exploits.
Incidence of False Positives
Make sure to choose a product that doesn’t have a high incidence of false positives. A false positive is an alert on a link or file that isn’t malicious at all. Even though some industry professionals don’t think they are a big deal, they really are.
A false positive can cause serious problems, including rendering crucial applications or the operating system unusable. Even if it doesn’t cause system problems, each requires investigation, which wastes IT resources. Make sure to research the incidence of false positives on the endpoint protection platform that you’re considering.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data loss prevention is critical to organizations. The right endpoint protection platform will have a proven record of preventing insider threats that are focused on infiltration attempts and data theft by external attackers.
DLP is an incredibly important feature- especially if employees are working in a remote or hybrid environment. DLP does not depend on a enterprise network to function, but instead is applied at the computer level, meaning security can be achieved without restricting employees' mobility.
Security software varies a great deal in the amount of resources required in terms of processor load, disk space, memory, and network impact. When you’re evaluating an endpoint protection platform, you should make sure to listen for user complaints.
If system scans or updates impact your system performance, you’ll hear about it as soon as users notice their systems are slowing down. You don’t want the endpoint protection platform to affect the ability of your employees to get their work done efficiently.
You shouldn’t have to pay the price of a system slowdown just to have security. Nor should you have to upgrade older machines in order to be able to effectively use the endpoint data protection solution.
Trusted endpoint protection platforms, like those provided by Merlin Cyber, regularly do performance testing to determine the impact that endpoint solutions have on the machines that they are installed and running on.
Ease of Management and Maintenance
This is an important consideration when choosing the right endpoint protection platform for your organization. You shouldn’t have to use multiple devices to configure, upgrade, maintain, or administer security across all of your systems.
Look for the ability to manage all endpoints from a central console to be able to push out updates, automate tasks such as creating and deploying configurations, and easily create the needed reports.
The best way to manage IT security is from the cloud. It’s easy and convenient. It’s also highly cost-effective since you won’t need additional software or hardware. With a cloud based console, you can connect anywhere or anytime from the browser of your choice- without sacrificing quality and security.
Making the Decision
Now that we’ve looked at critical components and things to consider when choosing an endpoint protection platform, it’s time to take steps to narrow down products and make a decision on which will work best for your organization.
Assess Relevant Products
After narrowing down your options and determining what security products will work best for your organization, it’s important to research the products to make sure that they have a strong reputation.
The best endpoint security solutions come with an effective mix of prevention capabilities. Cybercrime is on the rise and has become incredibly sophisticated. As such, organizations need complex endpoint security solutions with next-generation capabilities. The best endpoint protection suite is one that protects against all types of malware, APTs, and zero-day threats.
Test and Compare Products
It’s imperative to do a trial run before purchasing. This allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the endpoint protection platform in terms of handling the needs of your organization.
One of the best ways to test and compare products is to do a gradual rollout to determine how the endpoint protection solution affects overall performance and to make sure that the new software doesn’t cause your system to crash. You can roll back if problems are detected, which can save your organization valuable time and money in the long run while ensuring security needs are met.
Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing the right endpoint protection service is critical to security. There are a lot of factors to consider, and as such, decision-makers typically have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that might help you choose the right endpoint protection.
How do I choose an endpoint protection?
To recap, these are the main things to look for when choosing an advanced endpoint protection suite:
- Exploit Protection (EP)
- Low incidence of false positives
- High detection rates
- Data loss prevention (DLP)
- Easy management and maintenance, preferably on the cloud
- Low impact on current systems
These factors should be carefully considered depending on the needs of your organization, industry regulatory requirements, ease of deployment, and budget.
How Do You Evaluate Endpoint Protection?
It’s important to evaluate endpoint protection. You shouldn’t take vendor claims as fact. You can actively test and evaluate EPP solutions for yourself. Here are some tips on what you should do to make sure the endpoint protection platform you choose is sufficient for your organization.
- Run known malware on and off the network to ensure the platform detects and prevents them
- Check how much memory sources and CPU the platform consumes when idle
- Change policies to see how long changes take to propagate to endpoints
- Run suspicious shell commands to determine if activity is detected and how much information is provided
- Run a fileless attack to test EDR and prevention abilities
- See what it involves to deploy the platform on an endpoint and uninstall
- Create a whitelist for websites, applications, or files to check if they are actually blocked
- Test visibility features and remote control to get information on processes
- Try killing a process and quarantining the endpoint to determine if network access is actually blocked
What are the 10 Requirements for Securing Endpoints?
Knowing the 10 requirements for securing endpoints is critical to helping you make the right decision on the appropriate endpoint protection suite for your organization.
1. Be Proactive by Blocking Both Known and Unknown Threats
To prevent breaches in security, you must shift from detecting and responding to incidents that have already occured to preventing them from happening in the first place. Endpoints must be protected from zero-day, known, and unknown threats delivered through malware. These exploit a machine whether on or offline, on-premises or off, connected to the network, or not. A key step in doing this is to do a cloud-based threat analysis to prevent evasive and unknown threats.
2. Have No Negative Impact on User Productivity
Endpoint protection systems should allow users to conduct business as usual and be able to use cloud and mobile-based technologies without the fear of cyberthreats. Users should be able to focus on their job scope and responsibilities instead of worrying about updates, security holes, and more. They have to be confident that they won’t accidentally run into exploits or malware that can compromise their systems, and as a result, their productivity.
3. Turn Threat Intelligence into Automatic Prevention
An advanced endpoint protection suite should use AI to gain threat intelligence through encounters with unique and new attacks and enable endpoint systems to instantly prevent known malware. Additionally, it should be able to automatically protect against unknown and known malware to stop both from infecting the endpoints. Merlin Cyber uses AI to detect, mitigate, and prevent all threats in your IT, OT, and IoT environments.
4. Protection of All Applications
Applications are integral and at the core of the organization's ability to effectively function. However, many applications have bugs or security flaws that give threat actors an attack surface that traditional or less advanced endpoint protection systems can’t protect. The security infrastructure of an organization should be able to provide full protection against application exploits, including proprietary and third-party applications. Additionally, an advanced endpoint protection suite should be able to quickly expedite the approval process for new applications by determining security verdicts.
5. Don’t Allow Security to Impact System Performance
Security products shouldn’t burden resources such as disk storage, CPU, or RAM. Security prevention shouldn’t jeopardize system or user experience. Endpoint protection platforms must be strong enough that they will protect against threats in an increasingly complex environment, but still be user-friendly enough that they don’t require significant resources on your systems. Otherwise, this will cause system performance to deteriorate, along with user performance. The bottom line is that security should improve, not burden, business impact. It’s important to go with an endpoint protection platform that has a proven track record for both security and system performance.
6. Make Sure to Keep Legacy Systems Secure
Organizations may not always deploy security patches and updates immediately because sometimes doing so may diminish, interfere with, or even eliminate operational capabilities. This is especially true if patches are not readily available for legacy systems at their end of life. An advanced endpoint security solution must be able to support these systems that are not able to be patched by preventing system vulnerabilities from being exploited.
7. Be Flexible and Enterprise Ready
Any endpoint protection solution that is intended to replace antivirus software should be flexible, manageable, and scalable enough for deployment up to an enterprise environment. Endpoint security platforms should integrate and support the way an organization uses and deploys resources and be able to scale to as many various endpoints as needed. An advanced endpoint protection suite should also be flexible in that it can support critical business needs while providing protection from unknown and known threats. This is critical since one part of a business or an organization may differ completely from that of another. As such, it needs to be flexible in order to manage all parts of the organization with enterprise management in mind, without creating additional burden to processes.
8. Provide Independent Verification as a Replacement for Antivirus
Any endpoint protection platform that is intended to replace the legacy antivirus software that you already have should have its performance evaluated and reviewed by an independent third-party analyst. Having an independent reviewer makes sure that the endpoint protection suite is capable of replacing an antivirus product of an organization.
9. Provide Independent Verification for Industry Compliance Requirements
Depending on the industry that your organization is in, regulatory compliance may require antivirus stipulations to secure their endpoints. To protect endpoints and meet compliance requirements, endpoint security suites should be able to provide third-party independent validation to make sure that compliance is achieved.
10. Receive Recognition from a Top-Tier Industry Analyst and/or Research Firm
To ensure real endpoint security, it’s important for the suite to have received recognition from a research firm or top tier industry analyst. Any organization that wants to find an endpoint protection platform to replace traditional antivirus should ensure that a respected research firm or analyst ensures the solution is viable and will meet security requirements as an advanced endpoint security platform.
It’s more important than ever to protect your endpoints proactively due to today’s rampant use of vulnerability and unknown malware. Merlin Cyber is one of the industry’s leading endpoint protection platform providers and replaces legacy antivirus software with next-generation innovative endpoint protection, blocking threats before they compromise endpoints. This allows you to harness the power of analytics, AI, and rich data to detect and prevent all threats.
Is Endpoint Protection Enough?
Believing that endpoint security solutions can keep endpoints completely secure can be detrimental to your organization’s security, especially if it causes you to skimp out on actual security procedures, policies, and training. No technology – no matter how good it is- can deliver security if its users undermine it.
Failing to properly incorporate endpoint security into an overall security program is a huge mistake. Ad-hoc security isn’t sufficient anymore. Lacking an overall program is going to create gaps that can, and most likely will, be exploited.
Endpoint protection is not enough to keep your organization’s data and technology secure. It takes innovative and holistic solutions to stay on top of endpoint protection and management. The best advanced endpoint protection platforms are part of an overall architecture. Effective endpoint management and security requires full control and visibility of all of the endpoints in your environment.
To ensure endpoint protection, organizations must take a multilayered approach to their endpoint security. Layering solutions that protect various vulnerabilities helps cover gaps left by individual solutions. This means that optimal security and protection can be achieved.
It’s important to go with an advanced endpoint protection platform, such as those Merlin Cyber offers.
Merlin provides solutions to keep you safe, including:
- Real time query and remediation of endpoints
- Visibility in your OT, IT, and IoT environment
- Detection and mitigation of endpoint peripherals and rogue network devices
- Discovery of every IP connected devices for ongoing and continuous protections
Choosing the right endpoint protection service is a critical component for your security architecture. Cyberattacks have become more and more complex and sophisticated. Having a multilayered approach to security is the best way to protect your organization from data breaches, malicious activity, malware, and zero day threats.
It’s important to focus on the many features that advanced endpoint protection suites offer, compare each diligently, and even give each endpoint protection service a test drive before determining which is best for your organization. Make sure to choose a reputable endpoint protection provider who is well established and proven as an industry leader in endpoint security.