Small Business Endpoint Management Components

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With cyber threats on the rise, how does a small business manage computer security? Endpoint management tools and services can help you control all your devices.

Endpoint management tools require an experienced IT professional to configure and manage them day to day, so for most small businesses without IT staff, this can be a challenge.

The solution can be endpoint management services or even basic computer security services. These are services offered by your local IT support companies which are aimed at reducing risk, blocking computer threats, keeping computers up to date and helping business to run smoothly.

Today we look at some of the basic components of endpoint management (also known as computer management, device management and endpoint security, though depending on the title used, varying components and levels of security would be included or not). This primer will help you understand some common functions of endpoint management and help you to seek out solutions that work for your business. Let’s dive in.

Components of Endpoint Management

Endpoint Management has several key components. Often, people learning about cyber security confuse patch management and endpoint management, when in fact patch management is a component of overall endpoint management.

Endpoint management is looking at each device as a breach point, and taking all actions to limit the risk of breach or minimize the damage upon breach. This is the foundation of Zero Trust Security and modern IT practices.

Patch Management

Lack of patch management is one of the most common culprits in SMB breaches.

The software you use to run your business is pulled apart by cyber criminals, looking for vulnerabilities in the code that can be used to hack into your accounts and gain a foothold.

Software developers write new code to “patch” the vulnerability and push the fix out to all users. Most users ignore software update notifications for days, weeks or months. Every single security audit we have performed on a small business has had multiple unpatched, and therefore highly vulnerable computers in the bunch.

As your Managed Services Provider, we automate patch management for you. Patches are applied daily and weekly depending on priority and risk level. Then, all patches are double checked every Wednesday.

This significantly reduces your vulnerability and risk of breach.

Managed Antivirus

Cyber criminals work on coding new malware, adware, spyware, ransomware and threats everyday, and then sell those exploit kits on the black market to other cyber criminals. They make money both from the application and sale of their code kits.

To combat these threats, antivirus companies have to also work everyday to write new software code identify and block those threats. They earn money to pay their team of computer scientists by charging for their antivirus products.

Free antivirus software is not updated regularly enough and is considered by IT professionals to be fairly useless. This is why you must invest in actively updated antivirus for small business, such as BitDefender. However, AV software alone is not enough.

Some vulnerabilities are not immediately detected and coded for, and can get through antivirus filters, causing damage to your business. This is why a layered approach to computer security is necessary.

Endpoint management and all its components are just one layer of a cyber security posture. Other layers might include Identity Access Management, password policy enforcement and other policies applied from within Active Directory or Azure AD, a firewall and IDS/APS systems, and more.

Administrative Restriction & Control

Administrative restriction is an important part of reducing cyber risk.

All new computers ship with full administrative privileges which allow you to install new software on to your new computer. That same administrative power also allows users to accidentally install a virus or ransomware, or to download innocent looking software apps for various parts of their job that contain keyloggers or malicious code.

A simple click on a bad link or opening of an infected attachment is enough to launch the malware program to run.

These drive by and accidental installations are all but eliminated with the right settings.

It’s best practice to create and use a standard user profile for day to day computing needs.  An administrative profile should only be used by a trained technician to make approved changes in line with your company security policies.

Endpoint Detection & Remediation (EDR)

Endpoint Detection & Remediation (EDR) or endpoint detect and repair, is a highly sophisticated cyber security toolset which gives you visibility into activity on your devices so that threat detection can occur at a deeper level.

Antivirus is a prevention tool in endpoint security. It aims to stop known threats at the border, so to speak. Some threats slip past the AV software and this is where EDR comes in, seeing the abnormal activity on an endpoint, and quarantining it for a security check by your IT team before it is allowed to move laterally to another computer via email or network connections.

Application Control

Application Control and Ringfencing offers additional protection for your devices from spoofed apps and malicious browser extensions.

Application controls are installed on each device and work by checking multiple authentication points including digital certificates and developers to ensure authenticity before allowing you or a team member to install an app. This helps allow authentic apps and block spoofed apps that contain malware, as well as high risk browser extensions from being installed. Since the internet is full of fake apps and malware, app controls are a smart addition to your computer security toolkit.

Endpoint Compliance Requirements

Endpoint Management is now becoming a common risk and compliance requirement for many industries and business service agreements. This means that your company may be asked to complete an information security screening in order to win a client or become an authorized vendor in your industry. Be ready to do business with secure systems, including an endpoint management solution that matches your business needs.

Now that you have an understanding of endpoint security and management, you might see the value in working with a technology provider who will automate, monitor and manage these systems for you.

Talk to us about your total IT & endpoint management services today.

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