In IT terms, an endpoint is any device that is used to access the network. This obviously includes desktops, laptops, and all mobile devices with internet access. Smart devices are also examples of network endpoints.
Why do we talk about things in this way? Well, it’s because endpoints are usually the first part of the network to be targeted. Network intrusion generally requires that a person starts by compromising a particular endpoint, though they can also try to compromise things from the network side. As endpoints tend to be frequent targets, you should be employing these 11 types of endpoint security to protect them.
1. Email Security
Most enterprises will exchange a lot of emails between departments and team members. Most of these are simple exchanges of work-related information, but they can be used to hide all sorts of traps. The classic phishing email is the most well-known method, but not all of them are so obvious. The best way to secure your email network is through the use of PGP or GPG encryption. This is the best encryption that is known to mankind, period. secure email gateway software will be needed (Claws and Thunderbird are two popular options). If you really want to get serious, a dedicated email server (also heavily encrypted) is also a must.
2. File Encryption
Since we are talking about encryption, we should also talk about file encryption. In many cases, cyber-attackers are after specific pieces of data. File encryption can be used to “scramble” that sensitive data, making it unreadable. Thus, even if the hacker absconds with the data, it will be useless to them. You can go with full-disk encryption or just use an encrypted file container. Of the two, full-disk encryption is the more secure option.
3. MAC Address Filtering
All routers can be set to block unauthorized devices. This will prevent any device from connecting to the network (through that router) unless it is on a “safe” list. This one simple step can defeat a lot of hacking methods. Every device has a specific address (called a MAC address) and this is used as an ID tag.
4. Sandboxing AKA Isolation
One of the most effective ways of dealing with threats is to isolate them from the rest of the system. This allows them to be identified and removed before they do any harm. This is done using a virtual environment, which is basically just a simulated computer system. The good thing about virtual systems is the fact that they are disposable. If one gets infected, you just delete the sandbox and make another one.
5. URL Filtering
In a multi-user environment (such as a business), it is important to keep people from connecting to suspicious sites. There are plenty of pre-made lists that will help you block access to porn sites, spam sites, known scam sites, etc. For productivity purposes, you might want to block those social media sites as well.
6. EDR Software
This is a fairly new type of security software that has a lot of potential for the future. It basically monitors all the files and applications on your device, alerting you of any abnormalities or changes. Obviously, such software will give some false positives, but it does offer a very high degree of control. It’s basically antivirus software on steroids.
7. Antivirus Software
Traditional antivirus software doesn’t do much good unless it is combined with other methods. However, you don’t want to neglect this area, either. Antivirus software allows you to quickly detect and deal with known viruses. It doesn’t do anything against unknown threats, but it will at least protect you from the known ones. It’s also an essential tool for the scanning of specific files on an as-needed basis.
Much like antivirus software, firewalls aren’t 100% effective. However, they should not be sold short. When configured correctly, firewalls can definitely ward off most of the less serious threats. Even a major threat might find it hard to bypass such a thing, especially if you use more than one type of firewall protection. Most routers include a network firewall, but you want a device-level firewall as well.
9. Browser Customization
All browsers that are used to access the network can be hardened to some degree. You don’t want to go too far or you will end up blocking pages that people need to access. For instance, there is no need to block most scripts. However, you definitely want to use an HTTPS-enabling extension for better network encryption. Trackers and pop-ups can also be blocked.
10. Application Control
You definitely want to control the permissions for each app on your devices. These will simply set parameters for each program. Such measures are mainly used to prevent attackers from hijacking programs and using them to do harm. For instance, you definitely want to employ a “whitelist” of approved apps. Anything that isn’t on the list cannot be installed or executed.
11. VPN Servers
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) represent the best way to protect your network. However, you can’t necessarily trust every VPN provider. As such, you might want to host a VPN server for your organization. It will require one dedicated desktop computer, but shouldn’t be hard for any IT professional to set up. VPN servers give you strong encryption at the network level and yet another layer to discourage intrusion.
These are eleven areas that any cybersecurity plan must address. To one degree or another, all of these are necessary (although #6 and #11 might be considered “optional”). When you consider the potential cost of a data breach, it is worth the extra trouble. If you need any help when implementing your cybersecurity plan, we can recommend a top-notch computer service company that specializes in the finest computer IT services. you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500 to learn more.