Endpoint Security Management: How to Centralize and Control Endpoint Threats
Endpoint security management enables you to standardize authentication and access authorization across endpoint devices. Implementations of endpoint security management involve the application of security policies.
This process involves establishing dynamic connections, enforcing whitelisting and blacklisting practices, and leveraging EDR tooling. Or you can move beyond EDR with newer Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions.
In this article, you will learn:
What is endpoint security management
The importance of endpoint security management
Endpoint security management policies
How endpoint security solutions work
Best practices for endpoint security management
What Is Endpoint Security Management?
Endpoint security management is a set of practices used to authenticate and supervise the permissions granted to endpoint devices. It involves applying security policies to prevent both internal and external threats caused by lax permissions.
Any device or user accessing your network needs to be managed with endpoint security. This includes workstations, laptops, mobile devices, and smart devices (such as Internet of things sensors). Typically, management is accomplished with either specialized hardware or with software agents, installed on devices.
You should use endpoint security management practices to:
Restrict network access to authorized endpoints and users across your network
Apply, monitor, and enforce security policies on endpoints
Manage endpoints and perimeter processes
Why Is Endpoint Security Management Important?
As organizations grow they tend to accumulate more endpoints. Endpoints are added as systems expand in size and the number of users increases. This increases accessibility to an organization’s resources. Unfortunately, it also increases the attack surface of an organization and provides attackers with more entry points to a system.
If attackers manage to breach these entryways, they can steal valuable data, abuse resources, or cause other harms to your system. One of the best ways to prevent attackers from exploiting your endpoints is with robust endpoint security management.
This management includes remote devices, such as those allowed by bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Without sufficient management, these devices can introduce vulnerabilities to your systems and provide attackers with access to otherwise protected endpoints.
Endpoint Security Management Policies
Endpoint security management policies are policies that define which endpoint events are allowed and when. For example, which devices can connect to an endpoint and what those users can do once connected. Policies also include how users are authenticated and authorized prior to access, how long users can remain connected, and how endpoint activity is monitored.
An endpoint security policy should clearly define how user connections are handled and help teams restrict connections from being abused. This includes enabling administrators to apply policies on the fly.
Many endpoints accept dynamic connections and consistently allow new devices. If administrators cannot apply and modify policies on an as needed basis, these connections are left vulnerable.
Whitelisting and blacklisting
Endpoint security policies should enforce whitelisting or blacklisting practices. Whitelisting restricts connections and activity to only those descriptions that are specified. Blacklisting prevents specified descriptions from occurring.
The former is more secure since it does not require knowing all threats. However, it requires knowing all valid users which isn’t always possible.
Endpoint security tooling
Typically, IT teams manage these policies with the help of endpoint protection platforms. For example, endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions or endpoint protection platforms (EPPs).
EPPs are composed of a variety of tools integrated together for more robust protection. These can include, antivirus, firewalls, and network security controls. Traditionally, these platforms were designed to provide passive protections while EDR solutions were designed for proactive protections. Because of this, many EPPs now integrate with or include EDR.
You can learn more in our article about EPP vs EDR, which explains the main differences between these two endpoint technologies.
How Endpoint Security Solutions Work
Endpoint security solutions typically combine multiple layers of security tooling into a centralized platform. These platforms provide teams with visibility into endpoint devices and traffic, enable remote control of devices, correlate event information from devices, and help standardize policy application.
Often, these platforms work through agents or proxies installed on endpoint devices. These agents collect and report event data to the central console. Some agents can also be used to control the behavior or settings of endpoints.
Depending on the platform you use, there are many features you can gain access to. Below are some of the most important features to look for in an endpoint security solution:
Endpoint monitoring—solutions should provide continuous monitoring with alerting features. Monitoring should cover all endpoints and include features for device discovery to ensure no connections are missed.
Advanced threat detection—AI such as user and entity behavior analysis (UEBA) should be included in solutions for the detection of advanced threats. For example, fileless attacks or advanced persistent threats. These attacks can bypass traditional detection methods but can be detected by dynamic protections like UEBA.
Integration with SIEM—system information and event management (SIEM) tools are often used by security teams to monitor inside the perimeter of a network. Endpoint security solutions should integrate with these tools to enable teams to keep operations centralized and to enable end-to-end tracking of threats.
Automated response—solutions should include the ability to automatically respond to threats based on predefined policies. For example, blocking connections when suspicious activity is detected or sandboxing files that are uploaded or downloaded to endpoints.
Deception technology—this technology is designed to lure attackers away from legitimate resources to decoys. These decoys are then used to alert teams to attacker activity, isolate attackers, or collect information on attack actors or methods.
Best Practices for Endpoint Management Security
When managing endpoint security there are several best practices you can apply. These practices can ensure that your policies are sound and your endpoints are as secure as possible. Below are a few practices to consider.
Use solutions that support bandwidth throttling—this enables you to prevent users from abusing connections without having to completely cut them off. This is useful when you have demanding but legitimate users who are affecting system performance.
Consider cloud-based systems—these systems enable you to remotely patch a device even when it isn’t’ actively connected to your network. This helps ensure that Internet-facing devices are patched proactively and reduces the chance of infection or compromise.
Choose solutions that are scalable—it doesn’t make sense to invest in a solution that cannot scale as your company grows. Solutions should be able to support more than your current number of endpoints without significant performance losses or significant resource increases.
Consolidate your tools—try to keep your tools universal and centralized. This includes showing preference for tools that can be used across environments, devices, and operating systems. The fewer tools and agents you need to learn, install, or monitor, the easier it is to manage your perimeter.
Periodically audit your data—many perimeters are constantly changing and your solutions are only effective if they reflect these changes. You should periodically audit your monitoring data and alerts to ensure that visibility is provided in real time and that all assets are covered.
Endpoint Security Management with Cynet
Cynet 360 is a holistic security solution that protects against threats to endpoint security and across your network. Cynet provides tools you can use to centrally manage endpoint security across the enterprise.
Cynet’s intelligent technologies can help you detect attacks by correlating information from endpoints, network analytics and behavioral analytics with almost no false positives.
With Cynet, you can proactively monitor entire internal environments, including endpoints, network, files, and hosts. This can help you reduce attack surfaces and the likelihood of multiple attacks.
Cynet 360 provides cutting edge EDR capabilities:
Advanced endpoint threat detection—full visibility and predicts how an attacker might operate, based on continuous monitoring of endpoints and behavioral analysis.
Investigation and validation—search and review historic or current incident data on endpoints, investigate threats, and validate alerts. This allows you to confirm the threat before responding to it, reducing dwell-time and performing faster remediation.
Rapid deployment and response—deploy across thousands of endpoints within two hours. You can then use it to perform automatic or manual remediation of threats on the endpoints, disrupt malicious activity and minimize damage caused by attacks.