On one hand, businesses are integrating more and more devices, many of which are personal devices brought by employees. On the other hand, businesses are more often relying on the cloud and off-site data centers that remove the network edge. In the first case, network security is hardly as important as secure endpoints; in the latter case, the opposite is true.
In truth, it doesn’t matter whether you think endpoint security or network security is more important; you need both. Here are a few ways to help endpoint and network security work together to ensure your business’s data, devices, employees, and customers are safe:
When connected devices were large and fixed, network security could have been enough to prevent the most pernicious attacks. However, now that users are incredibly mobile, endpoint security is indispensable. Users can connect to internal resources on insecure networks around the globe using devices like smartphones and tablets that rarely come with even basic security tools. Thus, organizations that allow workers to use mobile devices must be fastidious in persistently protecting all endpoints and networks – regardless of type, location, or user. Endpoint security must extend beyond the traditional network perimeter, or organizations will invite attack on the least visible aspects of its network.
Traditional security solutions are designed primarily to defend against known threats, like well-used phishing tactics or malware. However, as cybercrime is shown to pay – largely because authorities are uncertain how to investigate and prosecute cybercriminals, many of whom launch attacks from foreign countries – we are certainly at the beginning of a major cyber-arms race. Already, attacks of incredible complexity are being launched on organizations who are hardly prepared to fend off even known threats.
Worse, traditional security products tend to be people intensive, time consuming, and inefficient, as they rely on detection and remediation on either the network or the endpoint. When networks and endpoints work together in a security system – especially when they do not rely on signatures or prior knowledge of vulnerabilities – security strength is maximized.
Machine learning is the most efficient method of developing network and endpoint security that is more than up-to-date on the latest known threats. Cybercriminals have long used automated tools to launch successful attacks; it is time for organizations to adopt the same technologies in defense.
Automated hacking tools can launch intense, sustained attacks that human IT teams simply cannot match. Even top cybersecurity experts lack the ability to keep up automated attacks, due to both the large volume of attacks as well as their speed and intensity. Meanwhile, automated cybersecurity – much of which crosses the boundaries of network and endpoint – is as strong and fast as cybercriminals’ tools. Unfortunately, many organizations are hesitant to adopt automation, preferring to rely on slow, faulty human reasoning even when faced with malicious robot precision.
If some members of the community are hiding their behavior and knowledge from other members, attacks have a better chance of landing, and attackers are more likely to get out with valuable data. Conversely, if an organization is sharing information effectively, nearly all incoming attacks should be blocked.
As network and endpoints gather information on attempted and successful attacks, they should share that intelligence with one another to enhance the protection capabilities of the community. What is identified and checked on an endpoint can be identified and checked on the network. As intelligence on known and unknown threats grows, network and endpoints should be able to apply that knowledge to their own environments to ensure thorough security.
Inarguably, the most fundamental need for a security system that thoroughly protects network and endpoints is visibility. When an organization can see all users, devices, and data across all networks, endpoints, and cloud storage, it has a better chance of understanding the context of attacks and become better prepared for the future. Plus, the more visibility an organization has, the less likely it is to attract opportunistic cybercriminals or to endure successful attacks.
It is important to have network security and endpoint security – but it is as important that these two services work together. Modern organizations, most of which claim a highly mobile workforce, need a comprehensive security system. Without a melding of endpoint and network security, organizations’ security strategies are inefficient and vulnerable to even the most basic attack.
[image source: pixabay.com]