Endpoint security doesn’t always get the same attention as or share the high profile of network and Internet security, but that doesn’t diminish its importance within any organization. Endpoint security is your primary bulwark against threats from within.

Any security professional knows that once an attacker gets inside your network, damage is near inevitable. Endpoints — all the clients, computers, phones, tablets and IoT devices — provide that many more opportunities for someone or something malicious to slip through.

Endpoint security is also your safeguard against honest and simple human error. Most employees are woefully unaware of even common-sense security practices. It’s very easy for an employee to mistakenly cause a security breach or even accidentally destroy data themselves.

Thanks to the changes brought about by the rise in mobile and IoT devices as well as the increased presence of SaaS and machine learning, the overall picture of endpoint security is rapidly evolving.

And the endpoint security market isn’t just evolving, it’s growing at an alarming rate. According to CSO Online, the current market is worth around $7 billion U.S., but growth projections are taking the endpoint security into the stratosphere within the next six years or so. Grand View Research has the overall endpoint security market reaching $27.05 billion by 2024. Transparent Market Research is even more liberal in their predictions, stating that the industry will be worth a whopping $40 billion annually by 2026.

In any case, all indications point to a massive boom in endpoint security happening right now, and it’s no wonder why. Mordor Intelligence estimates $8 billion in losses to credit card fraud this year in the U.S. alone. With global desktop computer markets leveling off and smartphone market penetration exceeding 50% by large margins in most developed nations, the sheer number of connected devices and the increased threat of cybercrime, the demand for endpoint security solutions is sure to grow rapidly for as long as anyone can predict.

More Robust and Feature-Complete Software

For a long time, endpoint security primarily meant antivirus software. Capabilities were limited from the client side, while at the same time, network environments could be controlled much more easily. That is definitely no longer the case.

In 2018 and beyond, endpoint security software is actually a complete software suite. It may be stored and run from the cloud. AI and machine learning empower it, making threat detection and prevention smarter and faster.

More Than Just an Antivirus

Endpoint security suites are multi-faceted. The goal of an endpoint suite is to provide a complete client security solution, defending against malware, active attacks, online threats and data loss.

Antivirus capabilities are still at the core of endpoint security software. The software should be able to defend against known malware threats and block malicious code from being executed. In the event that something slips through, the software should be able to minimize damage, remove and quarantine malware.

As an extension of that, a reliable endpoint security suite also protects from online threats. Web browsers have grown and mutated into unruly beasts that are practically operating systems in their own right. They’re capable of executing code, and for better or worse, JavaScript is now everywhere. Endpoint security suites need to protect against malicious code execution from the web and control the amount of access that code executed from a browser has to the system as a whole.

On a similar note, a firewall is crucial. Most solutions either contain a firewall of their own or are configured to use a firewall on the network, or both. Firewalls control the flow of traffic, and in doing so, both protect the device and protect the network from a compromised device.

Encryption is also a vital piece of the equation. It’s the best defense for your data. Encryption protects data as it’s transferred over a network as well as the data stored on our drives. Strong data encryption prevents unauthorized access and modification of vital data from employees along with malware and attackers.

Covering Multiple Platforms and Devices

Windows PCs aren’t the only client devices on most networks anymore, so endpoint security software needs to be ready to cover much more than just Windows. In a world where BYOD has taken over and a ballooning number of devices are connected, your network needs to be ready to secure every platform imaginable.

Of course, Windows and MacOS devices are going to be the most commonly supported for client workstations, but ChromeOS and Linux clients are becoming more common than ever before.

Mobile devices, though, are still making the most impact. Tablets are a viable desktop alternative for plenty of tasks, and even if they’re not being used as a primary work device, employees are still bringing them into work and connecting them in ever-increasing numbers.

Endpoint security software should either run natively across nearly all platforms or should offer support in the form of SaaS. This might be the strongest case for a SaaS option.

Protect Your Data

This was touched on a bit earlier, but it can’t really be overstated: Data is more valuable than gold. Endpoints, client machines, are the perfect gateway to data even if they don’t contain it themselves.

Endpoint security software will increasingly employ encryption as a primary means of data protection. They will also make wider use of data segregation as a means to control and limit access to data, both to users and individual applications.

Cloud Integration, SaaS, Machine Learning and AI

Endpoint security will increasingly move away from the endpoint. The need to support a wide array of platforms and the raw processing power that cloud solutions provide, especially in the form of AI and machine learning, are making cloud-based solutions more attractive.

SaaS options aren’t just good because they offer greater compatibility. They also offer a centralized interface to manage all of your clients and do so without the need to maintain any additional infrastructure on your network. It simplifies the process without placing any additional burden on you or your network.

AI and machine learning are still new. No one can say with certainty how much impact they’ll have in the long term, but they are already starting to change the way software can handle threats. These technologies are great at crunching thorough massive chunks of data, analyzing it and detecting trends and patterns.

For information security, that means that means a greater understanding of how threats appear, evolve and spread. It also means the potential to detect and stop attacks in real time, without the intervention of an actual person. In fact, these technologies are currently in play and showing real promise for the future.

Conclusion

So what does endpoint security look like in 2018 and beyond? Increased connectivity, and increased scope are the biggest two points. Endpoint security software is taking more and more advantage of the latest technologies. SaaS is a serious option, and like most SaaS, it helps to take pressure off of admins. AI and machine learning will continue become more prominent players, assisting security professionals and even catching attacks in real time. The future for endpoint security is still evolving, but it looks from here like it will empower admins and security pros like never before.

 

Sources

The new endpoint security market: Growing in size and scope, CSO Online

Endpoint Security Market Size Worth $27.05 Billion By 2024, Grand View Research

Global Endpoint Security Market: Snapshot, Transparency Market Research

Global Endpoint Security Market, Mordor Intelligence