What Is an Endpoint Protection Platform?

Endpoint protection provides essential security for many types of endpoints, from smart phones to printers. An Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) is an integrated suite of endpoint protection technologies—such as antivirus, data encryption, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention—that detects and stops a variety of threats at the endpoint.

An endpoint protection platform provides a framework for data sharing between endpoint protection technologies. This provides a more effective approach than a collection of siloed security products that lack the ability to communicate.

The volume and sophistication of cyberattacks are on the rise, and information technology (IT) systems and data are under constant threat of attack. Cyberattacks have become increasingly layered, using multiple, coordinated techniques to slip into an organization's IT systems. Endpoints are frequently the door through which attackers gain initial access.

EPP versus individual endpoint products

There are multiple categories of endpoint security products. Some common ones include anti-malware, web browser security, mobile device security, embedded device security, and endpoint detection and response (EDR). These different products help to protect a variety of endpoints, including servers, desktops, laptops, smartphones, and embedded devices such as printers and routers.

The challenge of individual endpoint security products is the difficulty of managing them all effectively. IT departments often monitor multiple endpoint solutions. These individual applications all have different interfaces, requiring employees to switch between screens, decreasing effectiveness.

Siloed point products also may not be able to exchange data, which wastes the opportunity for deeper analysis of security issues. This means that not only are the products less efficient, but they are also potentially less effective.

A more integrated and centralized approach to endpoint security is an endpoint protection platform (EPP). An EPP provides multiple endpoint security technologies and remediation capabilities in one place.

How to choose an endpoint protection platform

The first step in selecting an endpoint protection platform is to inventory the various endpoint security products already in the organization. Organizations often find they have multiple types of outdated security software. An IT department can evaluate these existing applications to decide which to keep and how they might fit into an EPP implementation.

What does a best-in-class endpoint protection platform include? The following are the main characteristics of leading endpoint protection platforms:

Multiple threat detection and remediation approaches. An EPP includes multiple detection and remediation technologies integrated into the platform. Some of these capabilities include anti-malware signature scanning, web browser security, threat vector blocking (to prevent fileless malware), credential theft monitoring, and rollback remediation. An EPP vendor may include different technologies and approaches for threat detection and remediation. Two technologies that are increasingly being added to endpoint security platforms are:

Real-time threat data. An EPP requires continuous access to real-time threat data, both in the organization and globally, to detect and block zero-day attacks. The EPP vendor should provide access to a global database of ongoing threat activity.

Integration framework. An endpoint protection platform is ideally built on a framework that supports the sharing of information between security products, including third-party products that may already be installed in the organization. The latter may include intrusion prevention, DLP, and EDR. An open architecture permits all endpoints and endpoint security products across the organization to be visible and monitored via a single console or dashboard. Additionally, the collaborative exchange of information between products can enable identification and remediation of potential threats more quickly.

Centralized management. An EPP should provide a central console for managing all endpoints and security capabilities. This single pane of glass gives visibility into both security threats and compliance issues, and relieves IT staff from having to move from screen to screen, manually analyzing threat information. A central console should offer an easy-to-use, configurable dashboard with alerts, key performance indicators (KPIs), current security status, and the ability to drill down into individual endpoints and threats.

Cyberattacks, data breaches, internal data leakage, and other types of security breaches are common in most organizations. But customers and partners expect organizations to reliably protect their sensitive data. One data breach can pose a significant negative impact on the business.

Endpoint protection platforms help protect organizations from attacks on vulnerable endpoints. An EPP also enables different security technologies to exchange information about security events, enabling deeper analysis and a better understanding of how to improve the organization's endpoint security. An endpoint protection platform provides a unified framework and interface for visibility and control.

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