What Is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint Security protects the various endpoints in a network from various threats. Technical and organizational measures prevent unauthorized access to devices or the execution of malicious software. Endpoint protection ensures that the end devices achieve the desired level of security.

What is Endpoint Security?

The term endpoint security covers technical and organizational measures that protect the various endpoints in a network from unauthorized access or the execution of malicious software. Alternative terms for endpoint security are endpoint security, endpoint protection, or endpoint protection. Endpoint protection ensures that devices achieve a defined level of security and meet an organization’s compliance requirements.

Protected devices include PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, point-of-sale terminals, printers, scanners, copiers, and other devices. Devices are protected, for example, from malware such as viruses or ransomware, from exploiting security vulnerabilities, or from unauthorized access via network interfaces. Together with central security measures such as central firewalls, access controls, and intrusion detection or intrusion prevention systems, decentralized endpoint security measures ensure the security of the entire IT infrastructure and IT systems.

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The increasing importance of endpoint security

Endpoint security has grown in importance in recent years as the number of endpoints communicating on an enterprise network continues to increase. In particular, concepts such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), increased use of home offices and access to an organization’s central resources from mobile devices via the Internet make systems to ensure endpoint security indispensable.

More and more, mobile devices are the focus of attackers. They try to overcome endpoint security vulnerabilities, for example, to penetrate corporate networks.

Measures for endpoint protection

In principle, organizational measures are also part of endpoint security. Organizational measures include employee training, guidelines for employees on how to handle endpoint devices or external data media, and raising awareness of the various threats. When manufacturers of security solutions talk about endpoint protection, they usually mean technical measures. Endpoint security solutions usually consist of a mixture of different technical measures. These include preventive, detective, and reactive measures. Typical technical measures for endpoint security are:

  • Malware protection
  • Application isolation
  • Sandboxing
  • Client firewalls
  • Application control
  • URL filtering
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • Device management of peripheral devices such as removable hard disks, USB sticks or Bluetooth components
  • Client-based intrusion prevention

Technical concepts and system architecture for implementing endpoint security

The system architecture of technical solutions for endpoint security is mostly based on the client-server model. The systems consist of a central component within a network or a cloud and decentralized agents installed on the end devices.

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From the central management console, security settings can be made on the endpoints, endpoints can be managed, and statistics or status messages can be retrieved. The actual endpoint security is provided by the agent software. It implements the security policies defined in central management.

Endpoint security and artificial intelligence (AI)

Solutions that act purely statically to ensure endpoint security offer only a limited level of protection. Only already known attack methods or malicious code are detected by the solutions.

In modern systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more important to defend against endpoint threats. Artificial intelligence and machine learning methods allow new sophisticated attack methods to be detected independently.

The systems use intelligent algorithms to continuously analyze processes on the systems and detect potentially dangerous actions. The systems are self-learning and improve the level of protection with increasing runtime.