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When strategizing a security approach for the coming year, many solutions will cross a CISO’s desk, all useful in covering some part of the network. Organizations must scrutinize every layer and each solution to make sure their security stack runs efficiently while still boasting a Defense-in-Depth approach. There cannot be an overload of alerts, the learning curve must be worth the cost, and all solutions must integrate with each other. Not surprisingly, the search can be tedious, complex, and confusing.
Broadly speaking, cybersecurity defends the network and the devices on that network. Both are key and must be protected. Endpoint security and response includes “not only the automated monitoring and detection of threats on the endpoint, but also a combination of autonomous and manual investigation, remediation, and response.” While not every tool will make the cut, here are seven reasons why Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) should not be ignored.
- Cybercriminals aren’t ignoring endpoints. It’s not surprising that in a recent study, 76% of IT decision-makers reported their company use of endpoint devices has gone up. This can include workstations, servers, tablets, smartphones and a host of IoT devices like cameras, smart speakers, and lighting. However, it is equally unsurprising that bad actors have capitalized on this gain, and consequently, 79% of IT teams have seen a rise in endpoint-related security breaches.
- The cyber talent crisis creates the need for autonomous response on the endpoint. With an increase of both endpoints and endpoint-related attacks, a proportional increase in endpoint security measures is needed; unfortunately, the ongoing cyber talent deficit hamstrings those efforts and makes whatever qualified cybersecurity experts are available difficult to attain for many small to medium-sized businesses. Endpoint security solutions use automatic investigation and monitoring techniques to spot threat 24/7/365 and often respond autonomously to mitigate them. This cuts back significantly on the work remaining for already-strapped security teams to do.
- EDR offers cloud-based security for end-user devices. One of the primary security problems facing fast-expanding, digitally native, and mid-transition companies is how to secure both on-premises and cloud-based assets. Endpoints, while not in the cloud, connect to it and bad actors can use vulnerabilities in device software to pivot to the rest of your network. State of the industry endpoint security platforms can deploy patches and run reboots from the cloud and offer enterprise-wide centralized cloud management.
- Remote device security trends downward as workers mix personal with professional. The rise of BYOD has been significant and ubiquitous in the wake of the remote-work migration, and a study by Gartner revealed that over 50% of workers used their own laptop or smartphone for work activity. Interestingly, a Ponemon study indicated that 67% of respondents reported that personal mobile devices have negatively impacted their company’s security posture, and 55% cite smartphones as the most vulnerable endpoint in their organization.
- EDR secures email. As many as 91% of all breaches begin with a phishing email. Email servers are a widely exploited endpoint. Endpoint security solutions can clean email messages before they reach the network, isolate and investigate links, and alert users when sensitive data is about to leave the organization.
- Firewalls are not foolproof. While having a firewall is a best practice, it only represents one part of a defense-in-depth approach. Firewalls are susceptible to misconfiguration, and their signature-based policies miss new exploits that recompile their code or use fileless malware. Additionally, freshly spun-up domains can cause many malicious sites to slip by undetected, and the popularity of this method is rendering firewalls even more ineffective. Not having an additional layer of defense directly on the endpoint device can be problematic as these trends continue.
- EDR can proactively prevent zero days from entering your network. Macros used to be the loose cannon of inboxes, infecting the victim device directly upon opening. While Macros are largely disabled by default now, malicious code (largely HTML) still lurks in attached documents that only require a bit of social engineering to get the user to click. By sandboxing email attachments and vetting them for safety prior to opening, email security tools can prevent zero days from detonating on your network.
Remote work leaves endpoints more exposed than ever, vulnerable to human error and consumer-side attacks. Cybercriminals continue to target firmware, and the shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals can leave various parts of the network at risk. Struggling SOCs can offload some of the burden of network monitoring as EDR solutions autonomously investigate and respond to incidents on the endpoint. Next-generation EDR tools can aid ongoing security measures by collecting data at the source.
Keeping EDR an integral part of a Zero Trust security strategy will be ever more imperative as time goes on and threats continue to evolve. Cybercriminals aren’t lessening their attention to the endpoint, so organizations shouldn’t either.