The endpoint security market is estimated to be worth $8.69 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $24.7 billion by 2026 or a CAGR of 19%. This rapid growth is attributed to the increasing demand for security solutions in view of the rise of cyber attacks as more people go online. The number of internet users has increased considerably during the pandemic, as it became a necessity to use the internet for schooling, shopping, business meetings, and other activities.
Not many may have an idea what endpoint security is about, but it should be a crucial concern for everyone. Various cyber attacks target endpoints – and these endpoints are what end users are using: desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, servers, workstations, as well as IoT devices.
The need for endpoint security
What is endpoint security? It basically refers to the protection of various endpoint devices. It is about making sure that a laptop or desktop computer, for example, is free from malware and from being used unwittingly as a tool to undertake attacks such as phishing or smishing. It is about ensuring that printers, fax machines, routers, and other office appliances are not infected by bugs that provide backdoors for different kinds of cyber assaults. Endpoint security infers proper defenses against cyber threats for all devices directly used by end-users.
Endpoint security matters because endpoints are the most common targets of attacks. A 2020 study by Ponemon Institute found that 68% of organisations experienced one or more endpoint attacks that managed to compromise their IT infrastructure or data. Small and midsize businesses are regularly faced with threats on their workstations, printers, routers, IoT appliances, and other web-enabled gadgetry. Ordinary internet users are also ceaselessly exposed to different kinds of cyber threats because of their smartphones and wearable devices.
The rise of work-from-home and BYOD arrangements over the years also contributed to the growing instances of endpoint attacks. As more employees use devices that are not regularly evaluated or maintained by a dedicated IT or cyber security team, bad actors find more potential targets with below par or nearly nil endpoint security.
Cyber security provider ReasonLabs explains that using free basic security tools no longer suffices at present. “Free antivirus software isn’t adequate because they usually lack the capabilities to deter more than just basic attacks. What’s needed is robust, comprehensive endpoint protection.” Cyber criminals are already well-versed with basic protections, and they know how to get around unmaintained or barely updated security controls easily.
Standard freeware anti-malware solutions are not built to withstand attacks designed to defeat enterprise-grade defenses. It is advisable for home users to take advantage of enterprise-level protection since they are widely available and inexpensive. RAV EDR, for instance, delivers endpoint security intended for enterprise protection to all kinds of users.
Endpoint threats to watch out for
According to Ponemon, credential theft is the leading cyber threat encountered by employees. This is followed by phishing/social engineering, account takeover, general malware, and denial service. Other significant threats include web-based attacks, compromised or stolen devices, zero-day attacks, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and ransomware.
Cyber criminals may use combinations of different kinds of attacks to successfully defeat cyber defences. A denial-of-service or DDoS attack, for example, may serve as a smokescreen for a complex attack aimed at stealing sensitive data or buying time for ransomware to successfully encrypt data in a device.
Ransomware is often ignored by many ordinary internet users, thinking that it is unlikely to victimise them. However, this is an indiscriminate attack that can affect just about anyone. Ransomware perpetrators do not only target large enterprises but also ordinary employees or those working from home because the attack is not that difficult to undertake and most victims are inclined to pay the ransom. According to a 2021 survey about ransomware, around 83% of ransomware victims give in to the ransom demand.
Because of cryptocurrency and technologies like this tumbling, the ransoms paid become very difficult to trace, and identifying the recipients of the payments becomes an insurmountable challenge. Ransomware costs are expected to reach $265 billion by 2031. This amount is higher than the GDPs of more than 75% of all countries around the world.
On the other hand, phishing or social engineering is already a perennial problem online, and it can deal a big blow on endpoint security. Social engineering is more complex than it sounds and it has one of the highest success rates among cyber attacks. These attacks have success rates of around 80%, and they are quite difficult to block because they focus on the weaknesses of people, who are often regarded as the weakest link in the cyber security chain.
Ensuring adequate endpoint protection
The good news is that nobody has to be helplessly defenceless against endpoint attacks. There are many inexpensive security solutions that can provide enterprise-grade protection to all device users, and these solutions employ advanced security technologies to ensure the best outcomes.
Endpoint security may be achieved using three progressive layers of protection: EPP, EDR, and XDR.
EPPs or endpoint protection platforms usually employ integrated entry point technologies to spot and stop suspicious activities at the endpoint. It scans every file that enters the system to make sure that nothing harmful goes through.
EDR or endpoint detection and response serves as a backup for basic EPP. It is designed to continuously monitor threats and respond to them accordingly. With its advanced capabilities, it can handle high-level threats including zero-day exploits as well as file-less malicious software.
XDR or extended detection and response, as the phrase suggests, goes beyond standard EDR. It gathers and correlates vast amounts of data across various network entry points to detect and prevent threats more effectively. It has a broader scope of protection and more advanced functions compared to EDR.
Some EDRs, however, can pass as XDR solutions with their advanced features. RAV EDR, for example, features an advanced threat intelligence centre to catch the latest threats or implement measures to mitigate the impact of an attack. It provides 24/7 endpoint detection and response with the help of a machine learning engine capable of analysing patterns of activities to detect threats or potentially harmful files, particularly those laced with viruses or malicious software.
Taking endpoint threats seriously
Every user of web-enabled devices needs to understand the necessity of endpoint security. With the high volume and level of sophistication of cyber threats at present, a cavalier attitude towards cyber security can result in a serious mess that does not only lead to financial loss and operational disruption but may also create serious reputational damage and adversely impact the recovery from an attack.