The Ins and Outs of Endpoint Protection

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Once upon a time, a castle-and-moat security strategy may have been enough to protect a company’s network. But now, as IT infrastructure expands and employees adopt remote work, companies must adapt their strategies to secure their rapidly expanding attack surface.

Cybercriminals target endpoints to gain entry to a company’s network and data, which means companies must continuously find new ways to ensure entry points remain secure. A modern security strategy demands a multilayered approach to thwart threats.

Endpoint protection is even more essential for service providers, who often support multiple companies with cybersecurity management. Securing client endpoints is a burgeoning responsibility for managed service providers (MSPs), and learning how to employ endpoint security effectively plays an important role in expanding MSP services.

Here’s what MSPs need to know about endpoint protection.

What is endpoint protection and why does it matter?

Securing client endpoints starts with understanding what an endpoint is and the impact endpoint protection has on a company’s security posture.

An endpoint is any device that connects to, communicates with, and could provide an entry point into a company’s network. Common endpoints include desktop computers, laptops, cell phones, and tablets. Protecting those endpoints involves monitoring and securing devices to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack.

For decades, employees almost exclusively used company-issued devices within the confines of a physical office to work. Since employees could only access the company’s network while on site, security teams weren’t as concerned with monitoring each device. Instead, they focused on defending the company’s security perimeter and monitoring the network on premises.

But now, companies have less control over how their employees use devices to access work materials. Alongside the rise in remote work and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies came an influx of new security threats. As employees started working on public or less secure Wi-Fi networks, companies discovered they needed new tools and strategies to keep their data secure.

Adapting to today’s remote-first work environment has been especially challenging for the MSPs tasked with protecting their clients against cybersecurity breaches. A whopping 98% of MSPs say they’re struggling to provide comprehensive cybersecurity services amid the rise of remote work.

To keep their clients safe, MSPs must now prioritize securing any potential entry point into the company’s network. The best way to do that is through expanding MSP services to offer a multilayered endpoint protection strategy.

MSPs need a multilayered approach to secure endpoints

With so many opportunities for malicious actors to breach the perimeter, MSPs must be extra vigilant and manage threats with an integrated, multilayered protection strategy.

At Acronis, our approach focuses on three security layers: Proactive, Active, and Reactive.

First, companies should adopt proactive, pre-execution strategies to prevent breach attempts. A vulnerability assessment can help companies preemptively recognize and patch security weaknesses.

Second, MSPs need the right resources to detect and thwart active threats quickly. For example, companies often defend endpoints with instantaneous malware detection technology, which analyzes behavior, checks matching signatures, and leverages heuristics to recognize malicious code. Many organizations leverage real-time monitoring and AI-based analysis to find security gaps, detect irregular usage patterns, and learn from past attacks to prevent future attacks.

Finally, MSPs need reactive solutions to respond to threats, mitigate the impact, and streamline remediation after a breach occurs. For example, using remote control to access their clients’ IT infrastructure and individual endpoints is essential to stop the attack, minimize the impact, and protect data stored both on the device and across the network. From there, MSPs should have predefined processes for managing disaster recovery and restoring client data from backups.

Endpoint security relies on real-time monitoring and visibility to keep threats at bay. Building MSP services that include a tiered endpoint security strategy plays a major role in increasing client trust and showing the value of your managed cybersecurity offerings.

Addressing endpoint security with the right solutions

With so many new ways cybercriminals use to exploit endpoint vulnerabilities, MSPs must consider endpoint protection from a more holistic perspective.

As sophisticated in-memory or living-off-the-land attacks become more common, MSPs need more comprehensive observability, monitoring capabilities, and innovative security technology to keep client data safe. While AI and ML tools may catch fileless attacks, they may not be enough to proactively deflect threats or detect novel threats effectively.

Introducing solutions like URL filtering play a vital role in preventing threats by preemptively blocking suspicious links. These links may compel users to download malware or unintentionally expose their credentials, giving malicious actors ready access to their device and the company’s network.

Still, even with powerful URL filtering and malware detection, companies still need the right tools to protect and restore data in the event of a cyberattack. Data loss prevention prevents data leaks and good continuous backup helps businesses restore data that is stolen, compromised, or deleted to its most recent version.

Four ways MSPs can strengthen their endpoint security strategy

As companies shift away from a traditional perimeter security approach, MSPs must guide their clients to embrace a modern endpoint security strategy. Here are four steps MSPs should take to prioritize endpoint protection.

  1. Complete a vulnerability assessment to identify security gaps that put endpoints at risk.
  2. Prioritize patch management to reduce vulnerabilities.
  3. Introduce new security controls to automate endpoint monitoring, URL filtering, malware detection, and data backups.
  4. Integrate security tools and tactics that enhance data loss prevention and unified management.

Disparate solutions make endpoint security needlessly complicated

MSPs must continuously enhance their services to deliver exceptional service to their clients. Yet 43% of MSPs say they don’t have the right tools to manage an increasingly remote workforce.

While most MSPs turn to multiple vendors to support their client needs, using disparate tools can often lead to integration issues, poor observability across IT infrastructure, and bloated costs. That’s why MSPs should look for a single vendor that covers multiple security elements within a single unified solution.

The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud platform makes it easy for MSPs to manage full-scale security strategies for all their clients in one place. It combines data backups, next-generation AI-based threat detection, and endpoint management into one comprehensive solution, reducing complexity and saving MSPs significant time and money.

Make endpoint security simple with Acronis

Securing client endpoints doesn’t have to be hard. Acronis gives MSPs the security capabilities they need to manage even the most complex remote-first environments for their clients.

Ready to become a better partner to your clients? Try Acronis free for 15 days and start offering comprehensive endpoint protection today.

This guest blog is courtesy of Acronis. Read more Acronis guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.