Every organization wants to expedite processes, reduce costs, and bolster their staff. And in today’s modern digital world, these objectives are largely attainable, but can occasionally come with some unwarranted side effects. With all the devices an organization uses to achieve its business’ goals, things can occasionally get lost in the shuffle, and cybersecurity issues can emerge as a result.
Balancing your business’ objectives while ensuring your organization’s data is secure can be a challenge for many. But that challenge can be assuaged by addressing cyberthreats at the start – the endpoint. Adopting an effective endpoint protection strategy is crucial for a modern-day organization and defines a strong security posture. In fact, the importance of endpoint security has even caught the eye of venture capitalist firms, who are investing billions a year in the cybersecurity sector. But what exactly are the components of a successful endpoint security strategy? Let’s break it down.
Ensure the Basics Are in Place
If there’s one thing my previous experience with consumer security has taught me, it’s that the proliferation of connected devices is showing no signs of slowing. The same goes for the connected devices leveraged by businesses day in and day out. Organizations often give multiple devices to their workers that will be used to communicate and contain crucial business-specific information. These devices are used by employees that go just about anywhere and do just about everything, so it’s important businesses equip their people with the tools they need to protect these devices and the data they safehouse.
The first important tool – VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks. The modern workforce is a mobile one, and professionals everywhere are carrying their devices with them as they travel and connect to public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are not typically the most secure, and VPNs can help ensure those mobile devices connect securely to avoid potentially exposing data.
These devices should always have strong authentication as well, which acts as the first line of defense for any security issues that arise. Remind everyone that their devices should be locked with a strong and complex password that acts as the gatekeeper for their device. That way, the company will be protected if that individual endpoint device becomes lost or stolen.
Empower Your Employees to Do Their Part
One of the most important tools to equip your employees with is proper security training. In order to keep endpoint devices safe and networks secure, employees should undergo regular security training sessions. This training should keep everyone up-to-date on the latest threats, the necessary precautions they need to take when browsing the web, and how their individual devices can impact an organization’s network.
One main point to hit upon during employee security training – the importance of updates. Updating your device software can feel like a menial task, but the gravitas behind the ask cannot be understated. Outdated software was the cause of the WannaCry global cyberattack and will be a differentiator moving forward for when attacks do come after individual endpoint devices.
Make Predictive Technology an Essential
Now, in order to anticipate major cyberattacks like WannaCry, adopting predictive technology for your endpoint security strategy is of the utmost importance, as these innovations can be used to guide your incident response strategy. Take it from hundreds of IT professionals, who in a recent SANS survey expressed that predictive technologies – such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) – are required in order to go from already knowing bad elements to focusing on identification of abnormal behavior.
ML and AI technology are also particularly crucial for visibility. This technology can empower security teams to gain insight into their endpoint detection and response systems, which automatically reduces the time required to address threats. Therefore, businesses need to have this predictive technology in place to anticipate and quickly gain insight into all threats affecting their organization’s network.
Adopt Innovative Technology
For those unsure where to start when it comes to AI and ML, there’s good news – there are actually endpoint security solutions out there that have predictive technology included in their build. Solutions such as McAfee MVISION Mobile and McAfee MVISION Endpoint have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help identify malicious behavior and attack patterns affecting endpoint devices.
Innovative solutions such as these will act as the cherry on top of your endpoint security strategy. So, it is crucial to take the time to invest in the right technology, irrespective of the nature of your enterprise. By creating the right combination of process and product, your organization’s network will be secure, and you won’t have to pick between business growth and a healthy security posture.
Shailaja Shankar - 24 April 2019
Partner Executive Blog
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Senior Vice President, Consumer and Mobile Engineering at McAfee