The option to work remotely has been around for years. However, the acceleration of this work set-up in 2020 is unprecedented. Because of the global pandemic, companies needed to shift their operations to accommodate health restrictions. To maintain a level of productivity, most businesses opted to allow their employees to work from home.
This transition has been beneficial for both business owners and employees. Remote work allowed workers the flexibility to work from home. It cut commute times, and it lessened the stress of having to prepare to go to work. Likewise, business owners have enjoyed the savings of forgoing a physical location.
While the benefits of remote work are undeniable, it isn’t without its drawbacks. This work setup is vulnerable to various corporate cybersecurity risks. It is challenging to maintain a robust cybersecurity protocol when employees aren’t congregated in the same location. A slight lapse in cybersecurity from one employee is enough for malicious individuals to access a network. In this case, endpoint security should be an essential part of your cybersecurity strategy. This article explores endpoint security, including the benefits, the efficacy, and its best practices.
The New Normal: Remote Work
The impact of the COVID-19 in the workforce has been tremendous. More than the concerning unemployment rate, the pandemic has paved the way for alternative work set-ups to accommodate for health restrictions.
Before the crisis, only 20% of the workforce were provided the option to work from home. The transition to telework increased to a whopping 71% as the health concerns heightened. While the challenges brought on by the pandemic are waning, more than 54% of employees prefer the current remote setup.
The transition to remote work has not been seamless. Arguably, one of the major concerns is maintaining heightened remote work cybersecurity. In such cases, an endpoint security strategy is necessary.
What is Endpoint Security?
Endpoint security is concerned with protecting entry points of end-user devices. This may include anything from a desktop, a mobile device, or even a Smart TV connected to a corporate network or as with remote work, and the off-network cloud via the internet.
Companies especially those with work-from-home policies are vulnerable to malicious activities because of endpoint vulnerabilities. Even small lapses such as connecting an official device to an unsecured public network can place a company’s entire network at risk.
Cybersecurity Challenges Posed by Endpoint Devices
As with most cybersecurity concerns, knowing the challenges prepares you for mitigating the damage of a successful attack. Below are a few of the most common challenges posed by endpoint devices:
- Unsecured Wireless Access Point
Most people associate unsecured wireless access points with public wifi connections as is in cafes, hotels, and malls. While these connections are unsafe as far as cybersecurity is concerned, a private home network can be just as vulnerable to malicious attacks. According to a recent survey by tech company CyberArk, 77% of employees that work from home use unsecured endpoints to gain access to corporate networks.
- Data Breach
Data breaches are an expensive and serious cybersecurity problem. According to the IDC, 80% of companies have experienced at least one breach. From 80%, 43% experienced more than 10 instances of an attack.
Especially without cybersecurity and remote work training, remote employees are prone to uploading sensitive information to a public cloud. With the data easily retrieved, hackers can use the information to further cause damage to a company.
- Internet of Things
Internet of Things devices refers to appliances and equipment that are connected to the internet. This may include a smart TV, security systems, and even digital wearables. These too are vulnerable endpoints that can be avenues for malicious players.
- Malware and Phishing
Instances of malware and phishing attacks increased over the course of the COVID-19 crisis. During the peak of the lockdowns, hackers often name regulatory bodies like the World Health Organization in order to lure unsuspecting employees to open documents and download malicious hardware.
Endpoint Security Best Practices
When it comes to protecting your digital assets, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your steps should make sense for the kind of data that you store and your operational processes. That said, there are endpoint security best practices most businesses can benefit from:
- Upgrade Endpoint Security Measures
Endpoint security traditionally meant downloading antivirus software on endpoint devices. This is no longer enough to safeguard an entire network from malicious attacks. Hackers have become more sophisticated in the way they infiltrate a network, so there are definitely benefits to investing in reliable endpoint detection and response security tools for malware prevention and threat hunting.
- Implement Multi-Factor Authentication for All Applications
A Two-Factor Authentication protocol adds an extra layer of security before gaining access to an account. It works by requiring additional information from the user beyond just the username or password. Two-factor authentication can come in many forms. In fact, some companies go beyond two requirements in order to ensure that their networks are secured. It is important to place this security measure for all corporate applications that remote employees use daily.
- Choose a 24/7 Security Monitoring Software
Knowing the current status of your network is invaluable. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes company owners make when responding to malicious attacks is waiting too long to deploy their mitigation plan. A 24/7 real-time security monitoring software allows you to manage corporate devices outside of your network at all times of the day.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. This statement, while a cliche, rings true for your cybersecurity efforts. Ensuring that your network is protected is key to preventing or minimizing the damage from a successful attack. In the age of remote work, endpoint security is no longer optional. It is an essential tool in this new work landscape.
Interested in taking your company’s remote work cybersecurity efforts to the next level? SecureBrain’s AI-powered endpoint security software is powered by Cycraft. Inquire now to learn how our advanced endpoint security tool works.