Enhancing Endpoint Security: The Crucial Role of Digital Risk Protection

An endpoint refers to any user device, such as a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, that connects to a network. Endpoints are often targeted by malicious actors seeking to gain unauthorized access, compromise data, or exploit vulnerabilities. Endpoint security plays a critical role in helping your organization identify and mitigate digital risk. Ensuring that your endpoint security is strong means that your business is far less likely to fall victim to cybercriminals looking to phish financial data, trade secrets, and more.

In this age your current endpoint security program can only get you so far. 

The consequences of relying solely on endpoint security are clear. If a cybercriminal exploits an endpoint to successfully breach your company’s internal systems, massive financial losses stemming from the theft of trade secrets or financial data, irreparable damage to your brand reputation, and consumers and investors losing trust in your organization are just a few examples of potential outcomes. It is evident that digital risk protection is required to effectively mitigate these potential outcomes and complete your endpoint security efforts. If you’re asking yourself how DRP ties into endpoint security? Well, Digital Risk Protection (DRP) and endpoint security are both critical components of an organization's cybersecurity strategy. DRP ties into endpoint security in several ways, including:

  • Providing additional layers of protection for endpoints: DRP solutions will monitor for data leaks and account takeovers on digital platforms, which will help prevent unauthorized access to endpoints.
  • Identifying vulnerabilities in endpoints: DRP solutions will help identify vulnerabilities in endpoints and provide recommendations for remediation.
  • Creating a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy: By integrating DRP solutions with endpoint security solutions, organizations will create a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that addresses a wider range of threats.

The new perspective on customers, partners, employees, and social media as unmonitored endpoints is a fairly new concept in cybersecurity. These interfaces act as potential entry points for external threats, exposing the company to risks similar to those addressed by traditional endpoint security. However, this critical aspect is often overlooked, leading to a gap in providing comprehensive coverage. Many CISOs primarily focus on traditional Endpoint security, neglecting the need for a 360-degree approach to protect against diverse threats stemming from these unmonitored endpoints.  

With DRP, all loose ends are covered, ensuring a safe digital environment for customers, partners, employees, and executives. Safeguard your company and brand effectively.

Distribution channel monitoring: Why it matters

Your brand’s partners or affiliates are two examples of endpoints that can potentially endanger your organization’s cybersecurity posture. The major challenge is that because they’re not officially part of your company, they’re significantly more difficult to control, monitor, and manage.

Rather than hoping for the best, it’s critical that you get help keeping your brand safe, removing any external threats brought on by vendors and partners with whom you work. Any entity or person who has access to your brand’s sensitive data and internal systems must be screened for compliance with security best practices.

Partners, affiliates, and different service providers to an organization can be considered endpoints and pose a threat to the organization's security in the following ways:

  1. Access to sensitive data: Partners and affiliates often have access to the organization's sensitive data and systems. If their endpoints are compromised, it can lead to unauthorized access to confidential information, intellectual property, or customer data.
  2. Weak security practices: Partners and affiliates may not have the same level of security measures in place as the organization. This can make their endpoints more vulnerable to attacks, which can then be used as a stepping stone to gain access to the organization's network.
  3. Supply chain attacks: Attackers may target partners or service providers as a means to gain unauthorized access to the organization's network. By compromising the endpoints of these entities, attackers can exploit their trusted relationship with the organization to launch attacks.
  4. Malware distribution: If partners or service providers have infected endpoints, they can unknowingly distribute malware to the organization's network. This can lead to the spread of malware, data breaches, or disruption of operations.
  5. Insider threats: While not all partners or affiliates pose a threat intentionally, insider threats can still occur. If an individual within a partner organization has malicious intent or is coerced, they can use their endpoint access to compromise the organization's security.

Establishing vendor risk management programs and proactive ongoing monitoring can help you keep on top of endpoint risks posed by vendors and partners outside of your organization. Formulating a strategy for managing and monitoring supply chain risks, including those from third-party apps, is also critical for preventing compromises and keeping your digital surroundings safe. 

Social engineering attacks: The human element is key

Your employees sometimes serve as your last line of defense when it comes to cyber attacks, but if they’re unaware of the realities of phishing and other social engineering attacks, they may end up being your company’s weakest link. Organizations must take steps to ensure that their workforces are savvy enough to recognize the warning signs of social engineering attacks.

A tried-and-true strategy often used by threat actors involves exploiting human vulnerabilities via phishing and spear-phishing attacks. This could look like an authentic-seeming DM on social media or email with a link to a phishing website designed to look genuine, appearing to have originated from a senior executive at your organization asking for sensitive financial data or a text message claiming to be from your company asking employees to confirm their login info. To put it bluntly, employees are not reliable enough to serve as your organization’s last line of defense from cyber attacks. 

Educating your employees about common social engineering tactics helps them recognize the dangers and stop breaches before they happen. However, employee education is not enough to keep your company safe from social engineering attacks. You need to invest in environmental monitoring and controls, leveraging advanced tools, AI-based detection, and professional risk assessment in order to ensure that your brand is as safe as possible. 

Why your customers pose a huge endpoint security threat

The focus on endpoint security is on external factors, particularly the actions of your customers. Unlike employees, you have zero control over what your customers do and the level of security they maintain. This lack of control makes it impractical to rely solely on traditional endpoint security measures, such as anti-viruses and firewalls, which do not address the potential risks posed by your customer base.

One of the key challenges is the rise of bring-your-own-device and remote work, which have become more prevalent in the post-pandemic era. With more people working from home, organizations are more and more confronted with the daunting task of securing endpoints that they may not even be aware of. Unlike employees, who can be trained and monitored, customers often use a diverse range of devices and may connect to unsecured networks, use unapproved applications, or bypass security measures altogether. This exposes your organization to a higher risk of a new type of “Ghosted Endpoints”. Ghosted as in you don’t notice them until it’s too late. 

As previously mentioned, educating employees about common social engineering tactics is important, but it's not enough to guarantee the safety of your company from customer-related security threats. Instead, organizations should consider partnering with a company specializing in digital risk protection. These specialized companies offer advanced tools, AI-based detection, and professional risk assessment to monitor and control the digital environment you don't have control over.

By recognizing that your customers can pose the biggest endpoint security threat, you can take proactive steps to mitigate the risks. Instead of relying solely on basic firewalls and anti-virus tools, or even a traditional endpoint security platform, investing in digital risk protection services and adopting comprehensive security measures that go beyond traditional endpoint security solutions will help ensure that your organization is as safe as possible in today's increasingly complex digital landscape. 

Digital Risk Protection Vendors Are the Answer

When seeking a comprehensive solution to enhance endpoint security, CISOs should prioritize vendors specializing in DRP.

To minimize the impact of breaches, it's crucial to establish cyber resilience strategies. This entails robust automated monitoring of the Internet, leveraging dedicated AI technology, mastering international laws for effective online takedowns, and working holistically and proactively. Keep your CISOs and tech teams informed, collaborating, and prioritizing endpoint security. 

BrandShield’s industry-leading digital risk protection platform for brands can help you stay ahead of endpoint security threats. With BrandShield, you’ll gain unparalleled insights into all the risks facing your brand online, including vulnerabilities within your endpoints. 

Get in touch with BrandShield today and learn more about enhancing your brand’s security with our free risk assessment.