2020 Endpoint Hardening Checklist - Top 8

Increased endpoint security is a New Year’s resolution organizations of every size can share. In our 2020 endpoint hardening checklist, we'll go over the top tips, tricks, and trends that every enterprise should consider when taking stock of their endpoint cyber security practices.

Endpoints are end-user devices, such as laptops, tablets, and desktops – but they also can serve as points of entry for cyber attackers. In fact, endpoints are some of the most sought-after targets for malicious actors. And with the use of AI, bots, and machine learning on the rise, cyber attacks are becoming more intricate and difficult to prevent. Firewalls and antivirus software just won't cut it anymore. In fact, estimates suggest that 70 percent of all breaches originate on endpoints.

firewalls and antivirus software won't cut it

For this reason alone, endpoint security should be a major focal point for organizations of every size and industry, and endpoint hardening – the process of minimizing endpoint attack surfaces and reducing the impact of compromised endpoints – is a critical element of overall cybersecurity.

Here’s our run-down on the top things you need to know for hardening endpoints in 2020:

1. Malware and other threats are becoming more sophisticated

Whether it be ransomware, fileless malware or cryptocurrency mining (cryptojacking), these programs can be highly damaging – and also quite costly. In many cases, these programs are built to exploit known vulnerabilities that have available patches and can skirt around traditional antivirus options.

Endpoints are often easy targets for these kinds of attacks. Limitations in endpoint visibility and low patching rates mean that multiple devices on your network could be vulnerable – and you'd never even know it.

remote work is on the rise

2. Remote work is on the rise

Remote work is becoming an increasingly desirable option for many people, and the companies they work for. Whether your employees are working remote full time or just a few days a month, ensuring those remote endpoints are secure is essential. Remote endpoints can tend to “fly under the radar” for any number of reasons, but they can still be a major security risk. An unpatched endpoint is vulnerable to attack, no matter where it is located.

3. Consider segmentation and configuration

Network segmentation allows organizations to separate critical and non-critical systems within their network. This can reduce the impact a compromised endpoint may have on your network. Overall, a properly configured network is a crucial element of endpoint hardening.

4. Keep an inventory

Maintaining an inventory of all endpoints, third party apps and off-site assets on your organization's network is a critical step for endpoint hardening. Keeping track of everything that needs to be protected  is crucial to ensuring that those devices, apps and assets are secure. A strong patch management platform can also provide your organization with hardware, software, patches, and configuration details for all endpoints.

endpoint visibility with the cloud-native Automox agent

5. Endpoint visibility is necessary

In today's digital landscape, it's common for organizations to have a vast array of endpoints on their network. Being able to see all the endpoints on your network (regardless of where they are) and take inventory of all your organization's devices is a critical element of good cybersecurity practices. Seeing what's happening on your endpoints in real-time offers organizations the ability to begin taking action against potential threats and remediate vulnerabilities as soon as they're detected.

Take the time to regularly check-in on the devices on your network. Conducting regular assessments of endpoints can help your organization detect and resolve vulnerabilities before they get exploited.

6. Timely patching is critical

Delays in patching can put your organization at risk – just ask Equifax. Legacy patching solutions can slow you down, but there are more modern, automated patch management solutions out there that can patch all your endpoints from the same platform. When a patch is released for a zero-day vulnerability, the faster you can patch for it, the better.

Because patching is a critical element of endpoint hardening, automated patch deployment allows you to ensure that every endpoint is receiving critical security updates on a regular basis. Patching is critical to minimizing an organization's attack surface.

7. Patch your third party applications

Many organizations today utilize multiple third party applications, but few are patching for them regularly. However, third party applications can be a real threat to endpoint security if left vulnerable. Modern patching solutions like Automox allow users to patch for all your third party apps from a single console.

8. Cross-platform patching is crucial

In addition to multiple third party apps, it's common for businesses to have several OS on their networks. Legacy patching options often have limitations in their ability to patch alternative OS – which means some devices may get overlooked. Newer patch management solutions are better suited for cross-platform patch management and can cover all your endpoints with ease, no matter what OS they're running.

As we go into 2020, don't forget to include endpoint hardening in your cybersecurity strategy.

About Automox Automated Patch Management

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, macOS, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-native patch management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.

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