Endpoint devices are laptops, desktops, iPads, Surface tablets, or any phone that can connect to the Internet. Any of these devices can be compromised if they are not protected with cybersecurity software. But with hundreds of vendors selling some version of cybersecurity software, finding a solution that offers the right fit for your business can be difficult — especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT team. In this article we’ll explain how to select software for cybersecurity, including the features and benefits to look out for.
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Table of Contents
- What Devices Need Cybersecurity Protection?
- How to Select the Best Cybersecurity Software
- Make a Plan to Install Cybersecurity Software
- Why Is Endpoint Device Software Needed?
- Protecting Your Network
What Devices Need Cybersecurity Protection?
For very small teams, endpoint device protection software can come in 1, 3, 5, or 10-license packages. Protecting more than 10 devices falls into the small business category, so protecting 10 or fewer endpoint devices is a general guideline for managing endpoint devices in small offices. Note that it’s easy for a team of four or five to reach a maximum of 10 devices with laptops, tablets, and cell phones all needing protection from cyber threats.
Identifying the devices you want to protect is the first criteria for finding the right endpoint cybersecurity software. Not all cybersecurity vendors support every endpoint device, and some vendors support specific endpoint devices better than others.
Once you’ve identified your devices, you should understand the kinds of protection you’ll need. For instance, a business that is not using a cloud service to store all their data should lean towards an endpoint cybersecurity package that offers backup capabilities. Once you prioritize your cybersecurity concerns, you can start looking for an endpoint cybersecurity software solution to meet your needs.
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How to Select the Best Cybersecurity Software
The most important features you want in endpoint device protection software are antivirus and malware protection, and each is slightly different in how they protect endpoint devices. Antivirus software uses signature-based detection that compares the behavior of a potential file against an already known virus contained in its database. Therefore, antivirus software can only protect against viruses already discovered and listed in said database.
Antimalware software can detect a malware virus that has never been seen before with heuristic-based detection, which uses rules and algorithms to identify and isolate a file behaving suspiciously. You will want both features included in your endpoint protection software package.
Other features commonly available in endpoint protection software are the following:
- Ransomware rollback allows you to roll back to a point in time before a ransomware attack occurred.
- Administrator controls create rules to automatically block particular websites or restrict certain user actions.
- Password manager allows you to store passwords securely.
- Webcam protection informs a user when an application is accessing the computer’s webcam.
- VPN provides the user a virtual private connection while using a public internet connection.
- Firewall protects a computer from unauthorized access or unnecessary network traffic.
- Backup software makes a copy of all data on a computer in case of failure or infection.
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Make a Plan to Install Cybersecurity Software
Installing cybersecurity software is not difficult, but you do need to check specific items before and after installing:
- Check the system requirements to make sure the solution is compatible with the device, such having enough RAM, storage space, and processor speed. Also ensure the version of the operating system is compatible with the cybersecurity software.
- If you downloaded a zip file from the Internet, unzip the file and look for the setup.exe or install.exe, and then double-click on this file to start the installation process. If the software is on a disc, insert that and the installation process will start automatically.
- Follow the installation instructions to complete the installation process, and accept any prompts during the installation process that immediately update the software with the latest virus and malware definitions.
- Restart the device, go to the settings, and enable the option to automatically download and update any definitions as they become available.
Why Is Endpoint Device Software Needed?
Most small business owners mistakenly think they are not important enough for a hacker to target. However, because hackers often target thousands of systems at once, small businesses can be caught up in large-scale, scatter-shot operations. Here are a few examples of how cyberattacks can occur:
- Malware attacks: Malicious software like spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms can get installed onto an endpoint device by clicking a link, often from an unknown user.
- Phishing: A malicious email that looks like it’s from a legitimate source.
- Zero-day exploits: A known software or hardware vulnerability is exploited before a released patch can fix the vulnerability.
Another common misconception is that certain devices or operating systems are not vulnerable to attack. However, the reality is that all devices connected to the internet are at risk if they’re unprotected.
Protecting Your Network
For small teams that don’t have dedicated IT, it’s important to know that a lot can be done on the router side to protect your office network. For instance, you can limit access to your wireless network, turn on WiFi encryption, and turn on your router firewall.
At the endpoint device level, users need to ensure automatic updates are enabled, use complex and unique passwords, and use a proven antivirus software package. Without question, updated endpoint cybersecurity software minimizes the chances of any device becoming infected.
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