What is End Point Security?

In the world of information technology (IT), an endpoint is any device (be it a laptop, phone, tablet, or server) connected to a secure business network. When you connect to a network, you’re creating a new endpoint. In a perfect world, employees in the office and working remotely (through a VPN, for example) should be able to log in and get their job done safely, but that isn’t always the case.

Every endpoint is a soft spot that cybercriminals can take advantage of and gain unauthorized access to the network. It could be through an exploit, phishing attack, spyware, Trojan, malspam, or other forms of malware. Endpoint protection is the business of hardening endpoints against potential cyberattacks.

Endpoint security or endpoint protection is an approach to the protection of computer networks that are remotely bridged to client devices. The connection of laptops, tablets, mobile phones, Internet-of-things devices, and other wireless devices to corporate networks creates attack paths for security threats.

How does it works?

Modern endpoint protection (aka endpoint security) generally has eight key features. These features both define how endpoint protection works and, in some cases, differentiate it from consumer-oriented antivirus or anti-malware—even some early forms of endpoint protection too.

What’s the difference between endpoint protection and antivirus?

We’ve covered what endpoint protection is. So, what is antivirus? The term “antivirus” gets thrown around a lot as a catchall term for any kind of cybersecurity. As it happens, computer viruses are more of a legacy threat than a modern-day scourge.

Yes, antivirus protects against old-fashioned computer viruses, but it can also stop the threats most people are worried about today; e.g., Trojans, ransomware, adware, malvertising, malicious websites, etc. This is where we get the word “anti-malware,” which attempts to bring the terminology in line with what the technology actually does. So, when most people say “antivirus,” they’re probably referring to “anti-malware.”

End Point Security Features

  • Machine learning 

    Machine learning is an algorithm that, when fed enough data, allows a machine with endpoint protection to start recognizing patterns in a given data set. In turn, the machine can begin classifying new data in accordance with the patterns it’s learned.

  • Behavioral analysis

    The difference between machine learning and behavioral analysis is subtle. In both cases, the machine is looking for patterns of behavior indicative of malware. With behavioral analysis, however, the machine is specifically looking for benign applications being used in abnormal ways to spread malware.

  • Exploit mitigation

    A strong exploit mitigation layer uses various application hardening techniques to stop attackers from exploiting software vulnerabilities in an endpoint. In turn, stopping them from getting root access and remotely executing code on the endpoint.

  • Known attack detection

    Also known as signature matching, known attack detection compares potentially malicious programs against a list of known threats. Signatures are good at stopping less sophisticated attacks without a lot of fuss. Signatures, however, are not effective against zero-day attacks. That said, it’s another welcome layer of threat blocking that doesn’t add a lot of bloat to a program.

  • Cloud-based centralized management

    While early forms of endpoint protection were designed to be installed locally, or on-premises, modern day versions are built for the cloud. Cloud-based solutions are quick to deploy, easy to manage, and scalable. As your business grows there’s no need to staff up or buy more hardware to keep your endpoint protection running,

  • Single-agent architecture

    Endpoints can become weighed down with resource hogging, potentially unnecessary bloatware. With single agent architecture you get get a lightweight program that’s easy to deploy and easy to manage. But the primary benefit is the ability to see every endpoint on the network through a single pane of glass.


The rise of BYOD and the use of external storage devices have created an ever-changing security perimeter for modern organizations that’s nearly impossible to define. With a variety of endpoints potentially connected to an enterprise network at any given moment, greater visibility and control is necessary. Endpoints are a common entry point for malware and other attacks, as they provide an easy access point to breach networks and compromise or steal sensitive data.

Without adequate endpoint protection, an enterprise loses control over sensitive data the moment it’s copied to an external device or the moment network access is gained through an unsecured endpoint. Endpoint protection is a crucial component of modern enterprise security, supplementing other security solutions to provide protection for data that can otherwise easily escape a company’s control.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are key components of endpoint security?

Endpoint security products may contain features and functionality such as:
  • Data loss prevention.
  • Insider threat protection.
  • Disk, endpoint, and email encryption.
  • Application whitelisting or control.
  • Network access control.
  • Data classification.
  • Endpoint detection and response.
  • Privileged user control.

Is endpoint security an antivirus?

Endpoint security serves as the true successor to legacy antivirus for enterprise cybersecurity. Endpoint security aims to protect the IT infrastructure at large by protecting the endpoints as gateways to it. As such, it does protect against malware and other external threats.

What are endpoint security tools?

Endpoint security tools use encryption and application control to secure devices that are accessing an organization’s network and monitor and block risky activities.

How do you implement endpoint security?

  1. Step One: Triage and Prioritize Resources. Regularly run vulnerability scans of known assets for weaknesses and vulnerabilities, cross-referencing against asset lists.
  2. Step Two: Automate. Automation is the key to maximizing resources.
  3. Step Three: Have (and Practice) Your Plan.
  4. Step Four: Learn From Your Incidents.

How do I update endpoint security?

Updating ESET Endpoint Security can be performed either manually or automatically. To trigger the update, click Update in the main program window and then click Check for updates. The default installation settings create an automatic update task which is performed on an hourly basis.