Traditional security software works by scanning devices against known threats and, if necessary, taking action to deal with any threats it has identified. Over the years, security software has become noticeably more sophisticated. It has had to because the nature of malware has become more sophisticated. In particular, there is much more emphasis on preventing malware from getting on a device in the first place, rather than on detecting and removing it once it’s there.
Basically, traditional security software is your first line of defense against cyber threats to your endpoints. Endpoint management solutions take it from there. In simple terms, endpoint management solutions are designed to detect the most sophisticated cyber threats (like memory-resident malware), block malicious activity and facilitate remediation action.
Managed endpoint security services take this a step further by having skilled cybersecurity professionals monitor alerts so as to be able to identify threats as quickly as possible, giving their targets as much time as possible to take remedial action.
1. Managed endpoint security services can help manage the entire lifecycle of a device
A large part of endpoint security revolves around making sure that devices have the right security updates applied to them during their working life and that they are swapped out for newer devices when they cease to be able to support new updates. Even though this is, in principle, routine, the sheer volume of work can quickly swamp in-house IT departments, especially if there are a number of different types of devices not only running different operating systems but running different versions of the same operating system.
Managed endpoint security services can be invaluable here. Firstly, they can provide guidance on how to streamline the nature (and number) of devices used for business purposes, even in a “bring your own device” (BYOD) environment. You may not be able to standardize completely on one device, but you usually can, and usually, should minimize as much as you can. As a minimum, you need to ensure that all devices are on an operating system that is still actively supported and hence receives security updates.
Secondly, possibly most importantly of all, they can keep on top of updates and make sure that they are not just applied but applied promptly. This is a massive part of IT security and can easily gobble up the resources of an in-house IT team.
Thirdly, they can provide guidance on lifecycle management. In other words, they can help you to implement a policy on when devices need to be replaced and to make sure that it is actually properly enforced, even if there is initial pushback from users or the finance team.
2. Managed endpoint security services can help to keep auditors happy
Anyone with any knowledge of IT security will be only too well aware that endpoints and end-users are often the weakest link in any security chain. This is a large part of the reason why modern security best practice is not just to educate users but also to protect them from themselves by using software tools to compensate for common user errors, like clicking on links or attachments without checking them properly first. This approach also helps to make life more difficult for the small minority of people who are genuine malicious actors.
Using a managed endpoint security service can bring all kinds of compliance-related benefits. For example, they will often include proactive threat hunting as well as continuous monitoring of the device and the way it is being used. Managed endpoint security services are often able to create visualizations of threats to assist with their resolution and with deciding what steps, if any, need to be taken to prevent further attacks.
Managed endpoint security services also tends to place a strong emphasis on data retention and forensics. As a minimum, this can be used for intelligence-gathering, to help identify emerging trends, either in general or with specific reference to the client company. They can also potentially be used as evidence in court (or to discourage rogue employees from raising lawsuits claiming that they are the actual victims).
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