All Articles

Endpoint Security Monitoring: A Complete Overview

Mark Stone

With the number of cybersecurity threats escalating considerably, protecting an organization’s ever-growing army of endpoints has become absolutely crucial.

An endpoint primer

Here’s the operational definition we’ll be using for this article regarding endpoints: an endpoint is a device that sends and receives communications on a computer network. An endpoint could be a desktop, workstation, tablet, laptop, smartphone, server, IoT device, or POS system.

The endpoint is also typically the entry point to corporate systems or applications for cybercriminals. Attackers gain entry into your systems through an endpoint and can then execute malicious code, exploit vulnerabilities, and steal or manipulate data.

From a cybersecurity perspective, the skyrocketing amount of endpoints represents a significant organizational risk.

Why is the endpoint attack surface increasing?

The attack surface is the entire area of an organization or system that is vulnerable to an attack. 

In today’s new workplace that includes work from home (WFH) and hybrid arrangements, employees are connecting to networks, applications, and systems from endpoints originating outside the office at unprecedented levels. 

Not long ago, most endpoints connecting to a network were laptops. Today, smartphones, tablets, and IoT devices are connecting constantly, resulting in a far greater attack surface than ever before. These devices are also more connected to the other devices, so they are more vulnerable to attacks that originate from anywhere. 

With the sheer quantity of complex and sophisticated devices connecting to each other increasing dramatically, an organization’s attack surface widens. The threat landscape, too, is evolving, as the threat actors and the techniques they use to attack are evolving.

This is why endpoint security is becoming more important.

Defining endpoint security monitoring 

At its most basic definition, endpoint security monitoring refers to the process of using technology to monitor the endpoint devices. 

Endpoint security monitoring is the process of continually assessing the security posture of an endpoint. Often, it includes scanning for malware on an endpoint and also looking for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. The goal of endpoint security monitoring is to identify any potential risks before they can cause damage to your network.

Typically, when organizations set out to create an effective strategy for protecting customer data, they will leverage antivirus, firewalls, and other software to monitor networks and systems.

But for many organizations, endpoint security monitoring is required because it’s difficult to find all the malware on a device without more comprehensive scanning. Endpoint security solutions will often include everything: antivirus detection, malware detection, firewalls, intrusion detection, and data loss prevention. With endpoint security, the entire security infrastructure is taken into account. 

Today’s endpoint security monitoring solutions should not only address the security of your endpoints but should also identify threats and then take action against them.

What are the unique benefits of endpoint security monitoring tools?

The unique benefits of endpoint security monitoring tools are that they may allow you to see everything — providing visibility into which devices are being used and how often. However, it’s important to note that in some cases the tools do not necessarily allow security teams to see everything. Remember, security tools are only as good as an organization’s adherence to security policies. 

When an organization deploys a best-of-breed endpoint security monitoring tool, they can take advantage of several critical benefits. 

  • Gain unified management and visibility
    All of an organization’s business-critical devices, such as mobile devices, server environments (on-premise and cloud), and fixed endpoints, must be easily secured and managed via a single pane of glass.
  • Identify and shrink security gaps
    With clear visibility into an organization’s endpoints on the edge of its business perimeter, any overlooked security gaps can be uncovered and addressed.
  • Protect and defend against threat vectors
    Especially as more mobile and remote endpoints are connecting to the network, both home and office employees must be protected against key threat vectors.
  • Maintain and improve company reputation
    When your organization boasts robust endpoint security, the risk of staying out of the cybersecurity breach headlines diminishes. People want to do business with secure companies, and those suffering a data breach have taken significant hits to their reputation.

The role of SIEM in endpoint security monitoring

With today’s modern security platforms, IT teams can manage threats with more flexibility, convenience, and power across multiple environments. Logs and data from on-premise and cloud environments can be managed from a single pane of glass solution.

When the SIEM identifies a threat through monitoring, an alert is generated — and, based on preconfigured or manually configured rules, a threat level is assigned. 

Summed up: the SIEM provides threat detection and security alerts. 

As endpoints are monitored, their activity and status feed into the SIEM’s custom dashboards and single pane of glass event management to improve efficiency of threat detection and even reduce the amount of resources spent on false positives.

Remember, the attack surface is expanding, and as the frequency and efficacy of attacks keep increasing, every second counts. 

Today’s SIEM should not only offer you a real-time (or at least near-real-time) view of everything happening to and from endpoints on your network, but should provide the same visibility for users and applications.

How Panther fits in

With Panther’s modern threat detection platform, your security teams can: 

  • Dramatically reduce SIEM costs 
  • Detect threats in real-time
  • Retain petabytes of data cost-effectively 
  • Improve detection efficacy 
  • Enhance the agility of incident response

To learn more about how Panther makes security operations effortless, book a demo with us or check out our platform overview.