Endpoint security has become a top concern for IT teams.

Endpoint security has become a top concern for IT teams, be it in the office or from remote locations. Source: Shutterstock

Fortifying endpoint security in the age of coronavirus

So here we are, locked away in our individual isolation bubbles as we practice social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt around the world, affecting all businesses in one way or another including a healthy portion of the global workforce– many of whom have resorted to ‘work from home’ and other remote working strategies for the first time ever.

It is indeed a time of firsts: many enterprise IT teams are also for the first time facing the issue of maintaining endpoint security for a largely – and in many cases, completely – off-premise workforce.

However, for those organizations struggling with the basics, that are some barebones steps companies can take to ensure they’re on the right path to a secure remote working workforce.

Staying patched & updated

Any good cybersecurity specialist would be aware of the importance of keeping IT systems up-to-date with the most current security patches, as each iteration comes with new threat analysis data and the latest in prevention countermeasures.

During a time when the entire talent pool is remotely located, it is important for the security team to have enhanced access and visibility to remote systems and networking infrastructure in order to stay informed of which devices are updated to the newest version and which are potential security weaknesses.

Get used to authentication

Robust authentication such as multifactor authentication (MFA) is one of the surest ways to secure endpoints, in this case to shield both devices and the organization’s network, as well as any other possibilities that might be connected to the same system.

The advantage of authentication is its neutrality: system administrators should embrace the ‘zero trust’ mentality, by requiring every employee without exceptions to log in with their dedicated, authorized security credentials only.

Even with these guidelines in place, there are a variety of authentication means including MFA, SMS-based authentication by sending a one-time secure code to a specific mobile device, and even the likes of biometric authentication.

Utilizing one or a combination of authentication factors can go a long way in making endpoints as impenetrable as possible.

Educating staff on cybersecurity do’s & don’ts

To achieve the best possible cybersecurity protection requires the active participation of every worker with remote access to the organization’s core systems. Without guidance, employees can both knowingly and unknowingly become a part of the problem instead of the solution.

Start them off by educating staff about the capabilities and the boundaries of any existing endpoint security solutions.

IT security specialists should make clear what are the consequences if staff attempt to bypass or manipulate the security protocols in any way, to prevent the workers from causing compromising situations.

Education is vital in times of crisis such as a global pandemic, as many cyber threats rely on duplicitous and misleading means to manipulate the unsuspecting into granting them access. IT teams should help employees recognize the types of threats their company might be exposed to such as email phishing attacks, social engineering attempts, malware and ransomware infection campaigns, and more.

Providing tips on how to identify and avoid such security risks can aid in drastically reducing credible threats from the remote workers’ end. The staff tend to be the single largest source of attack for hackers, so it is in the company’s best interests to shore up this endpoint.

Strengthening Wi-Fi security + EDR

In these extraordinary times, it would be virtually impossible to guarantee each remote worker’s individual Wi-Fi security, connectivity, and reliability. The easiest method would be to install virtual private networks (VPNs) that will provide an additional layer of protection.

Network admins should enable work-from-home security protocols such as additional firewalls and intrusion prevention software, in addition to whatever safety features the network already possesses.

Finally, protect the underlying IT framework with antivirus and endpoint detection and response (EDR) software. These programs should alert the IT operators whenever there is an attempted breach or when being accessed by an unsecured endpoint.

Enterprises anxious to ensure quality system protection while their staff are all working remotely, can download Solutions Review’s Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide which profiles the top 22 providers of endpoint protection solutions.