If you’re going to try and improve your cybersecurity, it is important to understand the key principles. Without a firm grip of the basics, anything you do is likely to be ineffective. Today, we are going to talk about two different cybersecurity principles. We have sometimes been asked to explain the difference between endpoint security and antivirus software. These terms are sometimes used as if they meant the same thing, so the confusion is understandable. When it comes to computer IT services, it is crucial to understand the difference between these two things.
What Is Antivirus Software?
We will begin here since most people have some understanding of antivirus software. As the name implies, it is meant to protect against viruses and other malware at the device level. Thus, it must be installed separately on each network-connected device.
A lot of people don’t understand what an antivirus program actually does. First of all, it scans all the files and folders on your device and compares the results to a list of known malware. If it finds a match, the file is marked as “suspicious.” from there, it can usually be examined, quarantined, and/or deleted. These scans can be conducted on-demand or on a scheduled basis.
The better antivirus programs will also provide real-time monitoring. This means that the software will monitor all your files and folders. As with the scan, its results are compared to known patterns of suspicious activity. When something suspicious is detected, the user is alerted and offered some appropriate options.
What Is Endpoint Security?
Endpoint security is a general term that refers to a variety of cybersecurity measures. This can include things like firewalls, sandboxes, security-focused browser extensions, and (of course) antivirus software. Thus, the difference between endpoint security and antivirus software becomes obvious: One is a component of the other.
When describing the structure of a network (including all the devices to which it is connected), it is useful to draw a “tree” that shows all the different parts of the system. It’s kind of like a family tree, except that the lines show connected processes rather than familial connections. An “endpoint” refers to any user-level device that is connected to the network. There are many ways to diagram these connections.
Is Antivirus Software Enough?
In most cases, antivirus software alone is not enough to create a reasonably secure network. It is not possible to create a system that is 100% impenetrable, but you can definitely get that percentage higher by using a combined approach.
The main problem with antivirus software is the fact that it can only protect against known threats. Obviously, that list of known threats must be updated as often as possible. However, that is not always enough, particularly when dealing with new or obscure threats.
If you really want a tight security setup, you should combine your antivirus software with other forms of endpoint security. These include:
- Application access controls
- EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) software
- Sandboxing or other isolation measures
- Security-focused browser extensions
- Disk encryption/file encryption
- Cloud monitoring software
- IoT security features
In addition, you ought to look at the other end of the network as well. Apart from the user end (where the devices connect to one or more routers), there is the network end. This would start at the place where the internet cable enters the premises. That cable usually goes to a router, and from there it can go to any servers that might be in use. Many people like to add a second router for extra security and the boosting of the wi-fi signal. From there, the “tree” goes outwards to all the connected devices (endpoints).
Ways to secure the entry side of your network:
- VPN routers
- Dedicated VPN servers
- Dedicated firewall devices
- Router-level encryption
- Router-level firewalls
- MAC address filtering
- DNS encryption
- Turning network visibility off
Is There A Program That Can Handle All My Endpoint Security Needs?
Unfortunately, no such all-encompassing program has yet been made. However, there are many programs (antivirus and otherwise) that bundle numerous services together in a single piece of software. Although you can’t reduce the process to one program, you can cut it down to a handful. For this reason, it is always best to look for antivirus software that offers as many different types of endpoint security as possible. Each of those features is another box that you can check and another feature that you won’t need to find elsewhere.
How Effective Is Antivirus Software?
It is important to realize that antivirus software is not meant to be a one-shot solution. However, within its respective area of operation, it tends to be effective. Of course, we want a more specific idea, but how do we get such? There is a lot of diversity in antivirus products, making it hard to evaluate the big picture.
We did find one study which evaluated a large number of different antivirus programs. It seems that these programs will protect against known viruses with a high degree of reliability. They found that the brand actually didn’t make a large difference. Rather, these researchers said that the biggest factor was the human one. Specifically, they refer to the willingness of an organization’s leadership to adopt anti-virus measures before a problem occurs. Far too many have failed to protect themselves until something went wrong.
We hope that we have answered this question in a complete and thorough manner. Endpoint security is a crucial part of any cybersecurity plan. Antivirus, likewise, is an essential part of any endpoint security plan. These two things are not the same but they are closely interrelated. It is, therefore, impossible to consider one without giving a thought to the other. If you would like more information, you can always call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500. We are an excellent IT support provider and can surely tell you more.