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Endpoint Security Solutions: Capabilities and Potential Areas for Improvement

Updated on: April 24, 2022

Key Findings

☑️ According to AT&T’s 2019 Endpoint Security Survey Report, 82% of organizations face at least one challenge with their endpoint security solutions.
☑️ 49% of organizations reported that their endpoint security solutions don’t adequately protect them against the newest cyberattacks.
☑️ End-user productivity loss and IT productivity loss, which have impacted 52% and 40% of organizations respectively, are the two most commonly reported impacts of endpoint attacks among organizations.

Endpoint security is more important than ever before, due to the rapidly growing amounts of data that organizations are storing and the increasing frequency of cyberattacks. However, the process of adopting and using endpoint security solutions isn’t as seamless and protective as organizations tend to hope for. 

In this article, we’ll examine what endpoint security is, the impacts that endpoint attacks have had on organizations, and the areas in which endpoint solutions fall short. We’ll identify concrete ways in which endpoint security solutions can be improved to better serve their customers.

What Is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint security refers to protecting endpoints from cyberattacks. Endpoints are computing devices, including, laptops, mobile phones, and IoT devices, that connect to the Internet. Organizations use endpoints to store data and perform essential operations, such as functions required for manufacturing and sales. Endpoint security has become an increasingly high priority for organizations to prevent attacks resulting in the loss or leakage of sensitive data or the halting of business operations, which can impact consumers’ data privacy and result in financial damages.

As a result, organizations have incorporated endpoint security solutions into their computer systems. Organizations use these products for threat monitoring, detection, and response. 

Most up-to-date endpoint security solutions monitor for cyber threats using techniques such as machine learning, which is used to efficiently analyze large volumes of files and other data to detect signs indicative of potential cyber incidents. These solutions also provide threat mitigation and remediation features, often including functionalities such as automation, which minimizes the need for human intervention to allow for swift incident response, and endpoint isolation, which helps prevent attackers from moving laterally through a system.

However, even after deploying endpoint security solutions, organizations are still vulnerable to cyberattacks. Since attackers are rapidly evolving their tactics in an attempt to “outsmart” threat monitoring tools, endpoint security solutions are unable to detect and resolve all cyber threats, particularly the newest ones. As a result, organizations are still targeted by endpoint attacks, which result in data privacy breaches, productivity losses, and other negative impacts, as we’ll see in the next section.

Impacts of Endpoint Attacks

When asked about the most significant impacts of endpoint attacks, organizations had the following responses shown in the graph below:

The two most significant impacts reported were related to productivity loss. This includes end user productivity loss, which impacted over half of the organizations surveyed due to consumers’ inability to properly use these organizations’ services, such as software products and client portals, which stopped functioning properly due to the cyberattack. These two most significant impacts also include IT productivity loss, which 40% of organizations reported, caused by the need to redirect IT, staff, to incident response and away from other essential responsibilities such as helping employees resolve technical issues and maintaining the network infrastructure. 

The remaining four endpoint attack impacts resulted in significant damages for about a third or more of the organizations surveyed. System downtime prevented organizations from conducting their usual operations smoothly, and reputation damages affected these organizations’ relationships with clients and customers, who had trusted these organizations to provide services and products safely and reliably. Information theft due to attackers’ exfiltration of confidential data, such as business sensitive information and customers’ financial or health data, resulted in data privacy concerns and increased the risk of the use of consumers’ data for malicious purposes, such as identity theft. Business and revenue impacts due to effects of cyberattacks, such as reputation damage and the paying of ransoms in the case of ransomware attacks, also resulted in significant damages.

Endpoint Security Product Issues

The frequency of cyberattacks and their devastating impacts raises the question of what changes can be made to endpoint security solutions to make them more effective. 82% of the organizations surveyed reported facing at least one challenge with the endpoint security solutions they used.

Some of the most commonly reported issues were directly linked to the endpoint security solutions’ threat monitoring capabilities. 49% of organizations reported that the endpoint security solutions they used didn’t adequately protect their computer systems against new cyberattacks. 31% of organizations reported experiencing a high frequency of false positives with their endpoint security solutions. Frequent false positives can result in lost productivity, as well as inadequate employee responses to true cyber threats if employees who are so used to seeing false positives doubt the legitimacy of these tools’ alerts.

Organizations also voiced usability and feasibility issues with endpoint security solutions. 43% of organizations said that deploying and operating their endpoint security solutions was a complex process. Loss of user productivity (27%) and high operation costs (also 27%) were also commonly reported. Although these undesirable issues accompanying endpoint security solutions don’t directly affect organizations’ threat monitoring capabilities, these issues may make organizations more reluctant to adopt robust endpoint security solutions due to the significant time and resources required to install and operate them.

Key Takeaways

Although endpoint security solutions are widely used among organizations, these solutions don’t yet provide ideal threat detection and response capabilities and are often complex and resource-intensive. Even when organizations adopt endpoint security solutions, they still experience cyberattacks with damaging impacts such as service disruptions and productivity losses. 

Innovation in cybersecurity products is resulting in new and improved solutions, both of which incorporate features that seek to outpace attackers. In the future, we can hope to witness endpoint security solutions that adapt to organizations’ needs by better protecting endpoints against the newest cyberattacks and by improving ease of adoption and operation.

Therese Schachner

Cybersecurity Specialist

 

Therese is leading the cybersecurity projects at VPNBrains. If you are a journalist and could benefit from data-driven infographics or would like to ask her for a pitch or interview for your articles, she can be reached at [email protected] or Twitter.

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