Shortcomings of Endpoint Security in Securing Business Email
- by Brittany Day
The tide is turning away from relying on endpoint protection alone, as businesses are quickly recognizing that protection that works at the client level on devices such as laptops, desktops and mobile devices is limited in its ability to safeguard users and key assets against phishing, ransomware and other dangerous threats. Despite the widespread use of endpoint protection, cyberattacks and breaches - over 90% of which are initiated via email - are occurring at an unprecedented rate, with one in five businesses getting hacked daily.
Companies are increasingly acknowledging that they have too much to lose in a successful attack to rely solely on endpoint protection - which should be viewed as the last line of defense - to secure their email, and that a comprehensive, proactive email security solutions capable of intercepting malicious attack attempts, protecting against human error and fortifying an organization’s email infrastructure as a whole is needed to make email safe for business in this modern digital threat environment. This article will explore the limitations of endpoint security, and how companies can bolster this protection with effective supplementary email security defenses to mitigate the risk of suffering an attack or breach.
The Modern Email Threat Landscape is Dynamic and Complex
As we rapidly transition to an increasingly digital society, email risk has never been greater. Attackers are exploiting businesses’ increased reliance on cloud email, inherently vulnerable and frequently misconfigured cloud platforms and distracted remote workers, and are launching sophisticated phishing and ransomware attacks designed to trick users into sharing sensitive credentials or lock up critical files until ransom is paid. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a 600% increase in phishing attacks, and in 2020 businesses lost an average of $283,000 per ransomware incident due to downtime.
While email-borne cyber attacks were once simplistic, “cookie-cutter” phishing scams exploiting unaware users, those days are over. Modern phishing attacks have become so sophisticated and targeted that it is now difficult to blame the user for falling for a scam. After all, even the most security-aware individuals can be fooled by these dynamic, evasive threats, which often employ advanced social engineering techniques to manipulate psychology and stealthy fileless tactics, which exploit legitimate, trusted system tools to bypass endpoint protection.
Malware and ransomware attacks are also becoming more complex and stealthy. Traditionally, the same malware was sent to many users, and once these viruses were identified, endpoint security and antivirus companies used the file’s signature to identify new attacks. This tactic is ineffective today, as attackers now generate a unique file for each recipient or avoid the use of executable files altogether.
Cyberattacks and breaches are becoming increasingly prevalent and challenging to stop, and no organization can afford the data theft, downtime, recovery costs and reputational harm that follow a successful attack. Over 60% of businesses are forced to permanently close their doors within six months of experiencing a cyberattack.
Where Endpoint Protection Falls Short in Securing Business Email
In this modern digital threat landscape, it has become clearly apparent that endpoint protection alone is not enough to keep users and sensitive data safe. Here are some of the key areas in which endpoint security falls short in safeguarding businesses and their clients.
Critical security gaps leave corporate networks, cloud-based services and sensitive data susceptible to attack.
Corporate networks are more than endpoints. They also include the cloud, network data and log data, which all must be secured to prevent compromise. Endpoint protection is limited to the client layer, and cannot intercept traffic between an attacker and a target. Thus, endpoint security must be viewed as the last line of defense against cyber thieves.
There are no preventative safeguards against human error.
Endpoint protection takes a non-specific, retrospective approach to addressing email risk, leaving the responsibility of identifying and responding to these threats in the hands of the end-user. Endpoint security providers get involved once a user has already received a malicious email - and has possibly already disclosed sensitive credentials or downloaded ransomware.
The high rate of false negatives seen in endpoint security solutions makes human error a significant risk. Ponemon Institute reports that antivirus products fail to detect 60% of attacks on average.
Protection is not customized to meet businesses’ unique security needs.
The “one-size-fits-all” approach that is characteristic of endpoint protection fails to assess and cater to the varying risks and requirements of each organization. Endpoint security providers do not evaluate and specifically address factors such as the key people within an organization who are at greatest risk of being targeted in an attack, a company’s security history, and other considerations that must be taken into account to keep businesses safe.
Solutions are complex to manage and difficult to patch, leading to frequent vulnerabilities.
Endpoint security solutions are not accompanied by the expert ongoing system monitoring, maintenance and support required to keep solutions updated and key business assets secure. The average time to fully deploy endpoint security patches is 97 days, and solutions frequently remain unpatched as a result. Many businesses - especially SMBs - lack the in-house cybersecurity resources and expertise needed to keep them safe, and endpoint security solutions are unable to bolster companies’ IT security remotely to ensure they remain secure.
Organizations have limited visibility into their email security.
Endpoint protection does not equip organizations with the real-time insights on the daily risks that they face and the security of their email required to make informed, proactive cybersecurity business decisions. As a result, organizations that rely on endpoint protection alone frequently struggle with visibility gaps across their IT environment, organizational silos and broken workflows that leave them exposed to risk.
Fifty-six percent of companies replaced their endpoint security solution in the past two years, and 51% added an extra layer of protection to their traditional antivirus solution - but cyberattacks and breaches are on the rise regardless. Comprehensive, proactive and fully supported email security defenses are needed to fill the gaps in endpoint protection and make email safe for business.
Bolster Your Email Security Strategy with Proactive Supplementary Protection
Email security is not a commodity. Rather, it is more essential than ever to maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture and experiencing longevity and success in any industry. Too many businesses are making the critical mistake of relying on endpoint security alone to safeguard users and key business assets, or failing to supplement these solutions with the caliber of protection required to make email safe for business. While endpoint security is a great start, it is ineffective in combating today’s sophisticated and rapidly evolving threats without additional layers of proactive protection accompanied by expert, ongoing system monitoring, maintenance and support. This protection must be able to anticipate and learn from emerging attacks, and offer the real-time cybersecurity business insights required to improve decision making and policy enforcement.
How is your company closing the gaps in its endpoint security strategy to repel phishing, ransomware and other dangerous, costly email attacks? Learn about a threat-ready email security solution that picks up where endpoint protection leaves off in securing business email.
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