How Do I Select the Best Endpoint Security?
When choosing the best endpoint protection for your company, in a very real sense, you are choosing a company to partner with to help manage your company’s security. You are trusting the company to provide you with the necessary technologies to protect your company, and you want assistance available when you require it. You also want the company to evolve alongside cybercrime technologies to provide new technologies in a timely manner. If you suffer a major security issue such as a targeted attack, loss of data or theft, you need to know that you can get one-on-one or even on-site help if needed. For these reviews, we looked at company reputation, years in business, customer base and market share, and malware detection scores. We also compiled information on what kind of endpoints each business security company can protect, the tools it provides for administrators, resource usage expectations and professional services offered. Using the information in these reviews, you can create a list of the top two or three companies to contact for additional information and a customized quote.
Targeted attacks on small businesses are increasing rapidly, as are fines and public-relations nightmares resulting from breaches and data losses. The best endpoint security provides multiple barriers against malware, network intrusions, data loss and theft. The most adept also provide technologies for managing employee-owned devices that often have access to corporate resources to further help administrators protect networks. When considering a new endpoint solution, consider the type and number of endpoints, how it is be hosted (cloud-based endpoint protection, hosted on-site or in a virtualized environment), what management tools are required (on-site, remote, mobile), performance expectations and professional support options.
The reviewed endpoint protection solutions were chosen from a range of global security companies that all have high malware detection scores and a proven ability to protect millions of endpoints. Most offer a range of deployment solutions software (with updates via the internet) or cloud-based business security hosted by the security company. Some technologies can be hosted in inter-company clouds or from a virtualized environment. Some also offer service provider options for those that want to partner with the security company to provide security to their own clients.
The size of your company does not matter when it comes to endpoint protection; many security companies offer solutions that can secure 10 or thousands of endpoints. To help you make your purchasing decision, read our articles about endpoint protection and reviews of the top security providers: Symantec, whose solution integrates with its award-winning backup technologies; Kaspersky, which provides everything businesses require to centrally manage endpoints as well as many administration tasks; and Sophos, which protects all endpoints – even Windows and Blackberry mobile phones.
Endpoint Protection Software: What to Look For
The best endpoint protection providers offer an efficient management console that can control all endpoints, software deployment and policy enforcement backed by a consistent, proven ability to protect your network from malware. Administrators should be able to use the software to easily manage their networks and to prevent data losses across a range of endpoints that include servers, workstations, gateways, exchange servers and storage devices. The best endpoint solutions create useful performance reports and can manage endpoints regardless of whether they are Windows-, Mac-, Linux- or Android-based.
The best management modules not only control the security software but also include tools to make admins' routine tasks easier to manage. The centralized management console should facilitate software deployment and provide control of remote workstations, tools for organizing profiles and the ability to create customized reports. Using top endpoint solutions, administrators should be able to configure report options, roll out updates, manage patches, detect new endpoints, and audit software and hardware. Most also include remote management tools so admins can instantly remediate issues as they arise, remotely or on site. Capable management tools set endpoint protection apart from standard antimalware software, which is not designed to manage business workstations. Endpoint solutions also enable managers to configure other security measures, such as locking down network access, configuring DLP tools and setting policies for employee-owned devices.
There are two parts to our security criteria. The first is what security features are included, and the second is their malware detection scores. Security features to look at include basic malware detection as well as features to help the admin secure the entire network – such as network access control, email security, gateway protection and remote workstation security. We also looked at a range of detection scores reported by third-party testing organizations. If the provider’s endpoint or business-specific versions have not been tested, we looked at the antivirus and security suite test scores, if available, to get a general idea how well the products may perform in real-world scenarios. In most cases, security companies use the same antimalware databases, heuristics and antivirus engines across a range of products. This year, we also considered the Android device protection scores.
Data Loss Protection (DLP)
We considered the tools available for preventing intentional or unintended data loss. The best endpoint solutions can stop employees from sending blocked files via email, instant chat or internet upload. Most also provide endpoint encryption, which will encrypt files so that even if a laptop or USB drive is stolen, the perpetrator cannot access the data on the device. Other advanced features include the ability to remotely locate laptops and wipe all information off the hard drives to halt potential data breaches. Some also now have the ability to protect corporate information located on employee-owned devices.
Security software's resource usage is a concern for many IT teams, especially those that manage networks with older operating systems and hardware. We looked at a wide range of third-party tests, and used our own tests, to determine a general rating for products' resource usage in comparison with that of other software. We rated each product's resource usage in relation to the industry average. For example, software with a score of +3 runs heavier than the industry average, while software with a score of -3 runs lighter than industry average. These are scores for software running using default settings. Of course, performance depends on many factors, including hardware, system specs and network health. In addition, admins can configure security suites to greatly reduce interference and resource usage.
For an additional charge, some companies offer premium, specialized services such as direct training and implementation support. Many top-tier security companies offer 24/7/365 support, on-site assistance and training, best-practice consultations, and access to a dedicated account manager. Targeted attacks and malware issues occur 24/7; therefore, security assistance needs to be alert and available at all times. The most popular companies also support active user forums that IT professionals frequent to provide or request assistance any time of the day regarding real-world use issues. In the forums, you can either search for your topic of interest or propose questions to the worldwide IT community and often receive quick, helpful answers.
Justifying the financial need for endpoint protection these days requires little effort, since one targeted attack can put a small organization out of business. One privacy violation, such as the loss or theft of patient data, can cost a company millions. Many companies that manage medical or financial records have no choice but to enforce strict policy management. Endpoint protection software can make enforcing policy, protecting assets and blocking malware as simple as possible while using of the fewest resources (human and hardware) necessary to manage the job well.
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