According to Deloitte, there is an increasing number of cybersecurity weaknesses originating from remote workers and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. This ecosystem, alongside the emerging tendency for Shadow IT, allows employees to log into corporate networks anytime from anywhere.
Unfortunately, employees may use devices that may be vulnerable to cyberattacks, e.g., outdated laptops and operating systems. They may also use unsecured networks to log in, like public Wi-Fi.
In addition, various studies including one by IBM show that 70% of successful data breaches start from such devices.
That is why endpoint security is becoming increasingly important for businesses today, and you certainly need to have the best solution.
This guide explores the leading endpoint protection solutions for organizations.
If you want to learn more about how employees and stakeholders can pose security threats, please check our comprehensive resources on insider threat.
Defining endpoint security
Endpoint security is a cybersecurity approach focused on protecting individual devices from unauthorized access and data breaches. The goal is to safeguard the endpoints in a network and the data they contain, making it a crucial element in overall network security strategies.
Of course, an endpoint is any physical device that connects to a network, such as:
- Desktops and laptops
- Smartphones and tablets
- Point of sale (POS) systems
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart appliances
- Servers, etc.
Through these devices, a hacker can access your corporate network and launch a cyber attack. An endpoint security solution detects malicious activities on these devices and prevents breaches. It enables a business to monitor all devices accessing its network from any location, in real-time.
Meanwhile, we have a much more elaborate endpoint security guide. Please check it out if you are new to the field of endpoint security.
Endpoint security versus anti-virus software
Many tend to confuse between endpoint security and antivirus solutions. There are certain key differences between these two that are worth understanding.
Here are the most important differences.
- An anti-virus software is installed directly on individual devices, e.g., on each employee's desktop or laptop. An endpoint security software on the other hand, is hosted on one computer or cloud to protect all connected devices.
- An anti-virus software mainly prevents malware. An endpoint security software prevents a wider range of risks, e.g., attacks on external devices like flash drives.
- An anti-virus software is usually updated manually by the end user. An endpoint security solution is maintained by an IT administrator. The administrator configures and updates the software across all devices.
Based on the above differences, you can easily tell that endpoint security solutions are more robust than anti-virus solutions. They also offer all-round protection against cyber threats throughout an enterprise.
Talking of threats, there is a new threat that is emerging. It’s called quishing. Please get familiar with it and learn how to best prevent it.
The critical components of an endpoint security solution
Components here refer to the integral parts or elements that together form the comprehensive system for protecting individual devices within the network.
A good endpoint security solution should have the following elements in its architecture:
1. Anti-bot protection
Bots are automated programs that disrupt a company's website. They can steal personal data or spam the website with unwanted content.
An example of anti-bot protection is CAPTCHAs (completely automated public Turing tests to tell humans apart). CAPTCHAs are normally used to verify that end users are humans, not bots.
Another example is rate limiting, which restricts the number of requests a user can make within a specified time frame. This measure prevents bots from overwhelming a system with excessive requests and allows legitimate users to access services.
2. Malware and ransomware protection
An endpoint solution should have built-in features that identify and stop malware and ransomware. These include blacklisting suspicious applications and blocking suspicious emails.
For more on tackling ransomware, please check our comprehensive guide that explains how to remediate a ransomware attack.
3. Removable media protection
The removable media protection component focuses on safeguarding sensitive data when it is being transferred to or from external devices. Such devices could include USB drives, external hard disks, or optical media. All device ports undergo scanning, during which any detected malicious files are automatically deleted.
Of course, these devices are often used for legitimate purposes but can inadvertently compromise security.
Besides scanning, this protection also involves encryption of data on removable media. The encryption ensures that even if the media falls into the wrong hands, the information remains inaccessible without the necessary decryption keys.
In addition to encryption, removable media protection often includes access controls. This allows administrators to restrict which users can write data to removable media and which types of data can be transferred.
4. Complete disk encryption
An endpoint security software protects all company data both on-premise and on the cloud. This means that no user can access or read the data without the right credentials or permissions.
5. URL filtering
An endpoint security solution blocks end users from visiting malicious websites through company networks. The websites are filtered automatically, whether the user enters them manually into a browser or finds them via a search engine.
6. User education
Users are often the first line of defense against various forms of social engineering attacks, phishing attempts, and inadvertent security breaches. To be effective, users need fundamental awareness on secure online behaviors.
This includes training programs, workshops, and awareness campaigns. The activities are typically designed to help individuals recognize and respond to potential threats.
Moreover, user education initiatives serve as a critical bridge between the technical components of endpoint security and the human element in the security chain.
Cyber education is critical. Learn more about the importance of cybersecurity awareness training.
The best endpoint protection solutions
In formulating this list, we've tapped into our extensive industry experience, meticulously evaluating numerous solutions to pinpoint the absolute best among them.
We went a step further. These featured endpoint protection solutions not only bear the hallmark of IT Companies Network’s rigorous assessment but also shine under the spotlight of industry authorities.
Renowned platforms such as Gartner and Forrester have bestowed high accolades upon a number of these solutions. Some have also achieved recognition from esteemed cybersecurity analysts like MITRE Engenuity and SE Labs.
Join us, let’s unveil the best endpoint protection solutions.
1. ESET Endpoint Security
ESET Endpoint Security offers a unified threat protection console to monitor all endpoint devices. It also prevents ransomware attacks and blocks hijacked applications containing malware
This solution can be deployed on premise or on the cloud, and it covers all operating systems, as well as Android and iOS devices.
The ESET endpoint protection has five license options for businesses to choose from:
- Protect Entry which is low maintenance and easy to deploy
- Protect Advanced for server security and disk encryption
- Protect Complete for cloud, email, and collaboration endpoints
- Protect Elite for extended detection and response (XDR)
- Protect MDR (managed detection and response).
2. Crowdstrike Falcon
This endpoint security solution is an extended detection and response (XDR) platform. This means it can cover a wide range of endpoints in addition to desktops and mobile devices.
Crowdstrike Falcon protects servers, cloud workloads, and firewalls as well. It utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to cover 100% of an organization's networks and endpoints.
Falcon includes the following solutions:
- Endpoint Security (anti-virus, USB device control, and mobile protection)
- Security and IT Operations (threat hunting, vulnerability management)
- Threat Intelligence (automated malware search and analysis)
- Cloud Security Solutions (for cloud workloads and containers)
- Identity Protection Solutions (zero trust and identity threat protection)
3. Trend Micro Apex One
The Trend Micro Apex One is a 2023 Gartner Peer Insights Customers Choice for endpoint security. It is a comprehensive tool that scores highly on threat detection and ease of use. It also uses machine learning (ML) to monitor and block malware.
Apex One covers endpoint security using four built-in tools:
- Vulnerability protection for automated patching
- Sensitive data security for compliance requirements
- Application control for blocking malicious software
- Real-time insights for monitoring the overall security status.
4. SentinelOne Singularity for Endpoint
This solution is ideal for businesses that have unmanaged endpoints that expose the corporate network to cyber threats. SentinelOne automatically finds and protects all devices that other networking tools may miss.
SentinelOne Singularity Endpoint also integrates seamlessly with numerous applications, providing extra functionality to existing tools. The solution offers three packages:
- Singularity Core: This replaces a standard anti-virus software with AI-driven endpoint protection (EPP) tools.
- Singularity Control: Combines EPP tools with endpoint detection and response (EDR) features.
- Singularity Complete: The extended detection and response (XDR) feature that covers USB and Bluetooth devices as well.
Pricing: The pricing for SentinelOne is quotation-based. You can also request a demo from a SentinelOne expert.
5. Symantec Endpoint Security (SES)
Symantec Endpoint Security is a comprehensive endpoint solution designed for enterprises. This endpoint protection platform is powered by the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, which provides real-time cyber threat information from millions of endpoints around the world.
6. Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection
Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection is a lightweight endpoint solution that offers a user-friendly dashboard. It uses a patented artificial intelligence and machine learning model to detect malware accurately. It is also low maintenance and easy to implement across all devices and networks.
The main features include:
- Protection from malware, ransomware, and phishing
- Preventing unauthorized users from uninstalling business applications
- Automated security reports
- A simple, centralized console.
Pricing: Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection costs $69.99 per device per year. You can also sign up for a demo. If your company already has other endpoint solutions, you can consider upgrading to Malwarebytes for cost savings.
7. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business
While Kaspersky is best known for anti-virus, their endpoint security solution is a more comprehensive endpoint protection option for businesses. It uses machine learning to find and block ransomware.
The most noteworthy feature of this endpoint solution is flexibility. You can deploy it on all operating systems and mobile devices. It can also work on premise, on the cloud, and in hybrid setups using a user-friendly installation wizard.
There are three options, all of which cover between 10 and 100 devices. The prices below are for a minimum of 10 devices:
- Select: $450 per year
- Advanced: $770 per year
- Total Security for Business: purchased via authorized Kaspersky partners.
This endpoint security solution is ideal for small businesses that want a scalable endpoint solution. Developers can also review and rebuild the source code to learn how the solution works. Kaspersky offers a free 30-day trial for this solution.
8. Sophos Intercept X
The Sophos Intercept X comes with a host of integrated features to cover ransomware, data loss, and breaches.
This is the only endpoint security solution that comes with Zero-Trust Network access (ZTNA). This essentially replaces virtual private networks (VPNs) to increase security for remote workers. Intercept X and ZTNA deploy together on the same console and apply to all devices simultaneously.
There are three Intercept X license options for businesses:
- Advanced (protection against ransomware, breaches, and data loss)
- Advanced with XDR (extended detection response)
- Advanced with MDR complete (managed detection and response)
Data loss is a big deal for any organization. Please implement these best practices for preventing data loss and keep all company data safe.
9. VMware Carbon Black Endpoint
VMware Carbon Black Endpoint is best suited for businesses migrating from legacy systems to cloud computing.
If your company implements cloud migration using containers like Docker, then you know that you definitely need additional endpoint protection. We particularly recommend thinking about each container as an endpoint that must be protected from cyber threats.
This is where Carbon Black performs best. It offers visibility into container processes to stop threats faster.
Not familiar with containers? Please go through our detailed guide on containerization. And please do not mistake containerization for virtualization as many tend to do. We have previously discussed elaborate differences between containerization and virtualization.
This is a very effective antivirus replacement that offers:
- Uninstall codes visible only to Carbon Black administrators
- Behavioral analytics to spot and prevent ransomware activities
- Proactive background scans to identify malicious files already in the system
- Endpoint quarantine features to isolate vulnerable containers.
You can ask your developers to try Carbon Black Endpoint for free in a hands-on lab simulation. The simulation is valid for two hours. It has a beginning level and an advanced level.
Pricing: You can request a quote by contacting VMware sales and support.
10. BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT
BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT uses Cylance AI, a pioneering cybersecurity solution launched in 2012 by BlackBerry. This endpoint protection solution is also a 2023 Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice for endpoint protection.
CylanceENDPOINT has a 98.9% cyber threat detection rate for online and offline devices. A distinctively amazing feature of this solution is that it doesn't require an internet connection to detect threats. This makes it accessible for small businesses and remote workers that may struggle to get stable internet access.
There are three license options for BlackBerry CylanceENDPOINT:
- Standard: Carries the basic AI-based endpoint protection tools for small businesses, e.g., cross-platform support, device control, and real-time alerts.
- Advanced: Includes threat hunting tools, automated workflows, and 30-day data storage.
- Pro: All the above features as well as threat intelligence reports.
Pricing: You can schedule a demo to speak with a BlackBerry representative about CylanceENDPOINT pricing options.
11. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
Microsoft Defender is the built-in anti-virus for Windows systems. However, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is the enterprise cybersecurity solution for endpoints. This is what was previously called Advanced Threat Protection. It combines security information and event management (SIEM) and extended detection and response (XDR) into one tool.
Pricing: The E3 license costs $23 per user per month, while the E5 license costs $38 per user per month. That means the endpoint solution is included in these fees. However, it’s also possible to try Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for free for one month. The trial supports 25 users.
Endpoint security in action: case study
We found an example of endpoint security implementation at Hitachi Consulting. Hitachi needed an endpoint solution that would automate threat responses for their legacy systems.
They implemented SentinelOne endpoint solutions to cover 6,000 endpoints in various operating systems and versions. With SentinelOne, endpoint security was handled autonomously. This meant that the organization's IT staff did not need to dedicate more working hours to endpoint security.
You can read the rest of the case study here.
Observe these best practices for endpoint protection!
- Allocate enough resources for endpoint management. This includes the budget for endpoint solution subscriptions and staff training.
- Involve all stakeholders in choosing the endpoint solution, from the chief information security officer (CISO) to remote teams.
- Keep up with overall cybersecurity industry standards. This will help with maintaining up-to-date endpoint security approaches as new threats arise.
Please remember that the right endpoint defense transcends mere technology—it becomes an indispensable guardian of your company’s digital properties. The true worth of an endpoint protection solution lies not just in its features but in its alignment with your organization's specific needs and risk landscape.
Finally, choose not merely a solution, but a sentinel for the evolving cyber age. The solution you choose should align not just with the threats of today but also with the resilient demands of tomorrow's digital challenges.
Before you leave, please check the overall steps that are essential for handling cybersecurity threats.