What is endpoint security?

Endpoints, any devices that connect to your network either on-premises or remotely, are a common target for hackers. Which is where endpoint security comes in.

What are endpoints anyway?

As you might have already guessed, endpoint security is the securing of endpoints.

What is an endpoint? Simply anything that connects to your business networks, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and printers. That’s where the list used to end, but it now it includes “Internet of Things” stuff such as security cameras and thermostats.

Endpoint security measures work not only to protect the endpoint itself against compromise but also any attack on the network resulting from any such compromise. In the broadest sense, therefore, endpoint security encompasses security strategy, policy and product.

Who needs endpoint security?

Everyone needs endpoint security, from the individual consumer right through to the largest enterprise.

From the consumer perspective, a webcam vulnerability might lead to a system compromise and stolen data, for example. But the same threats are multiplied many times for the smallest of enterprises upwards, both in terms of device volume and potential breach consequences.

As such, enterprise-level endpoint security will extend way beyond the typical antimalware software that consumers may employ.

Why does it matter?

To understand the importance of endpoint security, it helps to consider each endpoint device as a network security vulnerability.

Now throw in the proliferation of such devices across the average enterprise in recent years, with the rise of hybrid working and cloud computing.

Plus the Internet of Things, of course. The latter adds to the diversity of both devices and threats.

Endpoint security also matters because threat actors flock to endpoints as one of the easiest ways to gain initial access to a network target.

How does endpoint security work?

An endpoint solution can be on-premise or based in the cloud, although most enterprises will opt for the latter as it provides greater scalability. Not only that, but a cloud-based solution will couple up-to-date threat intelligence feeds and continuous monitoring to provide mostly automated functionality when it comes to the detection of and protection from threats.

Remember, though, that endpoint security is an umbrella term. It encompasses everything from vulnerability and patch management through to identity & access management (IAM). Not to mention log analysis and even real-time analysis looking for suspicious patterns of behaviour.

Through these (and other) continuous detection and response capabilities, an endpoint security solution offers the enterprise active threat protection.

Think in terms of threat monitoring, detection, analysis and blocking – across all devices and entry points into your network – and that’s endpoint security in a nutshell.


  • Endpoints encompass any and every device that connects to your network. 
  • Compromised endpoints are a favoured method of unauthorised network access among cyber criminals. 
  • Endpoint security protects the data on an endpoint as well as the network it is connected to. 
  • A good endpoint security solution will be cloud-based and provide active rather than purely reactive protection. 
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Davey Winder

With four decades of experience, Davey is one of the UK's most respected cybersecurity writers and a contributing editor to PC Pro magazine. He is also a senior contributor at Forbes. You can find him at TechFinitive covering all things cybersecurity.