Beating Vulnerabilities Proactively: The Evolving Paradigm of Endpoint Security

By Chandan Pani, Chief Information Security Officer, Mindtree

A great deal has changed over the last few years. Accelerated digitalization has significantly transformed lives and businesses. The proliferation of multiple connected devices has led to heightened concerns around ransomware attacks, making data privacy and endpoint security top priorities for organizations. The recently released global Ransomware Index Report Q1 2022explains why.

Organizations are having to adopt measures that improve security from the perspective of not just effectively resolving incidents, but also detecting, addressing, and recovering from risks ahead of time.

Endpoint Threat Detection and Response

Signature-based approaches to endpoint security are no longer enough to moderate the risks. Malwares, today, are capable of launching complex ransomware-like attacks through endpoints using sophisticated polymorphic malware and file-less approaches. Organizations will need to invest in solutions that are predictive and prescriptive in their approach.

A complex combination of next-generation antivirus solutions and more robust Endpoint Threat Detection and Response (EDR) systems has taken over. These systems are capable of self-healing and have built-inartificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) engines to rapidly process signals for providing enhanced security. Password-based authentication is being replaced with multifactor authentication, long passphrases and biometric attributes, providing the much-required confidence to end users in the security of their devices.

Vulnerability Management

At the core of an endpoint security system is the software running on it. Any vulnerability makes it a soft target for adversaries. Vulnerability management—the process of managing endpoints’ attack surface and security threat exposure— is therefore a key prerequisite. It includes processes to detect inventories, vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, correlate and prioritize vulnerabilities and threats, and build remediation workflows, vulnerability program intelligence, and feedback loop. The first step in assessing vulnerabilities is to understand all available endpoints and how they are being tracked. The key here is balancing the availability of endpoint systems to support work and guarantee the timely implementation of necessary fixes.

Endpoint security solutions continue to be in play, with security teams expecting ever higher coverage and capabilities. The evolving threat landscape and changes in the way we work —a shift induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes in the roles and locations of endpoints— have popularized frameworks like Zero Trust, and turned the spotlight on advanced detection and response.

With today’s workforce becoming increasingly mobile and dispersed, the risks inherent in any environment that lies outside the security zone of a company network become prominent. It is essential that data is protected regardless of the physical location of endpoint devices. By using endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP)solutions and factoring in necessary privacy aspects, companies can truly become flexible and allow employees to work from anywhere without worrying about data security.

As the diversity of devices and workloads continues to increase, so do the expectations of security teams for endpoint security solutions with greater coverage and extended EDR/XDR support to IoT devices, mobile devices, and cloud workloads. They expect additional capabilities, vulnerability assessment, and DLP support to be added to the offerings. Cloud-delivered deployments will be desired at some point.

Endpoint security is entering an important transition period, as it gets redefined and realigns with newer work models in a world of zero trust and XDR. Today, endpoints are in the vanguard of warding off threats and adversaries. This trend will continue into the foreseeable future with a more unified and device-agnostic approach to threat assessment and management.


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