What is endpoint security?

Endpoint security is an approach taken to protect end user devices and ensure they are safe to connect to corporate networks. End user devices can include laptops, smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Whenever end users connect to an organization’s network using these devices, they create an entry point that can allow attack paths for security threats. An endpoint security solution ensures users follow specific security management protocols before their devices can access an organization’s resources in their network or workspace.

While endpoint security was once focused on antivirus software and device-specific solutions, more modern endpoint security strategy adopts a zero trust security model. This model focuses on securing the entire user rather than only their devices or endpoints, requiring authorized users to pass identity management protocols before granting access to the enterprise network.

Why is endpoint security important?

Endpoint security is important because the increased number of connected devices in use has also increased the security risks organizations face. To improve their employee experience, many organizations have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices to give employees their choice of devices. However, any employee device that accesses the corporate network is a possible entry point for attackers, especially if that device is lost or stolen. Also, as companies allow more employees to work remotely, they may use public or home wi-fi connections that lack network security. A lack of endpoint security can expose organizations to risk of data breaches and not being in compliance with government regulations or service agreements.

Making matters worse, the proliferation of connected devices in the Internet of Things (or IoT) has also increased endpoint security risks. Forecasts suggest by 2030 there will be 50 billion IoT devices in use around the world. These IoT endpoints are often ripe targets for advanced threats because their wide proliferation makes it difficult to effectively secure them all.

This increase in endpoints means IT departments have to protect a larger attack surface from data breaches, malware, and other cyber security risks. Because these threats go after endpoints rather than the network itself, a centralized security platform is often not enough to protect organizations. The best solution is a comprehensive endpoint security approach that includes threat detection, device management, data leak protection, and behavioral analytics.

How Citrix unifies your endpoint management in one location

As more and more employees work remotely, IT needs a way to monitor and manage mobile, IoT, and traditional endpoints in a single dashboard.

How do you secure and manage an endpoint?

To secure an endpoint, IT needs to ensure that device can only access your network or company resources if it is used by an authorized user for approved tasks. While access security tools like two-factor authentication can help prevent unauthorized users from using an endpoint to access sensitive data, it’s also important to be able to manage endpoints to protect against internal bad actors.

To manage an endpoint, IT needs to be able to monitor user activity through that endpoint and recognize whether users are behaving suspiciously—before they cause data breaches. Because of the sheer number of endpoints in most organizations, it’s important that IT can monitor and manage all endpoints from one central console. In addition, taking a proactive approach to endpoint management often requires machine learning and behavioral analytics in order to stop the bad actor immediately and automatically.

How to get started implementing endpoint security

Because every organization has its own employees with their own devices, no approach to endpoint security is exactly the same. However, there are best practices to implementing endpoint security across an organization:

  1. Discover: Implementing endpoint security begins by discovering and identifying all devices connected to a company’s network. IT should use endpoint detection and response to monitor all new device connections, paying special attention to those they do not recognize. These unknown connections could be a sign of an attacker attempting to enter the organization’s network.
  2. Inventory: Once IT has discovered all endpoints on their network, they need to inventory which versions of the OS, firmware, and apps running on each of these devices. This gives IT visibility into how endpoint devices function on the network as well as any known software vulnerabilities that need to be patched.
  3. Monitor: Now that IT has visibility into the endpoints on its network, IT should centrally monitor these devices and their files to recognize any changes. By using a single dashboard to unify all endpoint oversight, IT can use machine learning and behavioral analytics to detect unusual behavior across their infrastructure.
  4. Protect: When suspicious activity is detected on the network, a strong endpoint security solution will proactively shut down access to that device before a breach occurs. This behavior-focused approach protects the organization without preventing employees from using the devices they choose to get their work done.

The most comprehensive approach to endpoint management is to unify all business apps and tools inside a secure digital workspace. This simplifies the employee experience and makes it easier for IT to gain holistic visibility into every device and endpoint across the organization. Two important use cases for this approach to endpoint management include: