Endpoint Security Software Buyer's Guide
The Best Endpoint Security Software is All About Control and Prevention
By Kim O'Shaughnessy, Marketing Research Associate
Technology provides businesses with nearly endless opportunities for improvement and increased profitability. But those benefits can come at a steep cost. Every endpoint in your company is a chance to lose important data. But a great endpoint security solution mitigates that risk, putting the control of your servers, laptops and other devices back in your hands. In order to choose the right solution, however, you need to carefully consider your options. For this reason, we created an endpoint security software selection guide for you to use.
- Endpoint security software protects the end-user devices utilized in your business. This type of software protects against threats to your data and the systems necessary to your business.
- By implementing an endpoint security product you’re able to create hierarchies to dictate which employees can access what data, preventing internal data leaks and protecting against external threats.
- Endpoint software systems work to achieve these goals through a suite of features. These features include policy management, patch management, threat detection and an administrator portal.
- When you’re ready to contact potential endpoint security vendors, make sure you prepare a list of questions (like the ones at the end of this guide) to further evaluate them.
What this Guide Covers
See how the top 10 Endpoint Security Software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
Benefits of Endpoint Security Software
Endpoint security software protects the end-user devices within your company. These include desktops, laptops, workstations, servers, mobile devices and any other device able to connect to the internet. This type of software works to protect devices from external threats — however, the main focus for many endpoint security companies is to protect against internal risks.
Endpoint security software protects against internal and external threats against your company devices.
Endpoint security solutions provide a set of customizable policies for your employees when it comes to accessing data. For instance, your system administrator can use endpoint security software to set up certain protocols that must be followed in order to access certain information or download certain file types. These protocols prevent employees who don’t need certain data to do their job from obtaining access.
Many endpoint security systems provide a simple interface from which system administrators can set permissions for certain users
Your system administrator also has the ability with this system to monitor devices connected to the endpoints. This makes it much more difficult for employees to download sensitive information on something like a USB connected hard drive or even a smartphone. Without endpoint security management, you risk your competitors’ getting their hands on the information and insights you’ve worked so hard to accumulate. Think about all the resources your company has invested to get where it is today. Consider endpoint cybersecurity software as another investment to protect your position.
Endpoint also works to ward off external threats such as malware. The system performs this task through various detection technologies along with web filtering tools. This prevents your employees from stumbling upon websites known to trick users into downloading harmful threats. However, even if a threat makes its way onto your device, endpoint security tools are able to detect and remove it.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Endpoint Security Software
While security and control are the main objectives of an endpoint protection platform, you likely have more specific goals you are trying to achieve with implementation. Some tasks endpoint security software can help your organization achieve are:
|Goal 1||Create access hierarchies to control which employees have access to data|
|Goal 2||Prevent internal data leaks|
|Goal 3||Prevent and address external threats|
These goals are common among all endpoint security software buyers, but the way in which your business achieves them will be unique. The only way you can ensure your business reaches its implementation goals is if you take the time to craft a thorough requirements list. A requirements list is comprised of the must-have features and other considerations for your business endpoint security.
For instance, to create access hierarchies sufficient for your business you might require device-based policies. This would restrict access based on which device an employee is using. However, for increased security, other companies might require user-based policies. This would ensure only employees with the proper credentials have access to data, regardless of device. You can learn more about policy management later in the guide to help you formulate your requirements.
Policy management can also assist with accomplishing goal number two, but there’s also specific features to help with data loss prevention (DLP). Between device monitoring and remote access to endpoint devices, there’s many different ways you could formulate your requirements to meet your goals.
Additionally, the level of protection against external threats can vary from system to system. For some companies, external threats are a major priority. However, many companies are also content with the level of protection provided outside of their endpoint solution. It’s important to include what features you need on your requirements list so you can get the solution perfect for your company.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Endpoint Security Software
Basic Endpoint Security Platform Features & Functionality
Although every solution is different, there are a few common features most, if not all, systems include:
|System Administrator Portal||This is an important piece of endpoint security on an enterprise level. Endpoint security software provides your system administrator with a portal from which he or she can manage all devices. This is especially useful for companies with small IT departments and large or multiple offices. It allows administrators to configure security settings for large groups of devices, eliminating the time it would take to do this individually for each endpoint device.|
|Policy Management||Policy management is a set of tools the administrator uses to set security standards across all devices. Your administrator can create policies, setting access hierarchies, ensuring employees don’t have access to data that extends beyond their needs. Administrators can set policies based on the device or the user. Additionally, administrators can set up override policies. This is useful when a c-level executive needs access to data not already available on the device he or she is using. To prevent abuse of overrides, many endpoint solutions provide audit trails and alerts when a policy is overridden.|
|Patch Management||Patch management ensures your operating systems and applications are regularly updated. Patches are released by vendors to fix weaknesses in the software as soon as they’re discovered. However, not everyone is as mindful of patches and will continue to use the old version of the software. This provides attackers with the perfect opportunity to strike, as they now know where the vulnerabilities in your system are. If you’re not routinely updating your software, your data is likely to be compromised. Patch management allows your system administrator to schedule updates outside of working hours remotely. This ensures your software is always updated without any extra effort from your employees.|
|Threat Detection||Even with strong preventative measures in place, it’s not impossible for malware or other malicious traffic to make their way onto your endpoint devices. When this occurs, it’s extremely valuable to have a system in place that can detect threats and alert the system administrator. Further, many systems will detect the threats and remove them automatically.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Endpoint Security Software
Advanced Endpoint Security Product Features to Consider
In addition to the basic features endpoint security software provides, there are more capabilities this software can provide. These extra features can help your business customize the level of security desired.
|Device Monitoring||Similar to how your system administrator can mass update your devices, he or she can also monitor and control other aspects of your endpoints remotely. This feature allows administrators to monitor all devices connected to your company’s endpoint. This includes local disk, USB and Bluetooth connected devices and even cloud servers. In addition to being able to monitor the devices above, administrators can set permissions for which ones the end-user can implement. For example, your system administrator might allow a USB keyboard but not a USB flash drive.|
|Offline Data Protection||Since a large part of the protection offered by endpoint security solutions involves a connection to the internet, you might be wondering what your options are offline. After all, it would be pretty easy for an employee to take a device to a location without a connection. However, many endpoint security products provide features specifically for this situation. Device control settings can still be put in place, even when the device is offline. This means unauthorized hard drives won’t be granted access, just like they wouldn’t online. The system will also audit all offline activity and report it to the system administrator once back online. If you didn’t set up device control before the endpoint went offline, you still have options. Choosing a system equipped with data encryption can solve this problem, as you’ll read below.|
|Data and Media Encryption||This feature encrypts any data downloaded or sent without authorization. This is helpful, as seen above when an unapproved party attempts to steal information offline. Information downloaded onto a physical device while offline can be encrypted. This means that even though the files may be technically stored on the device, they are locked to anyone without the encryption key. Encryption may be executed when a device is online as well. When protected files are sent through email or peer-to-peer platforms, the files will be inaccessible without a key.|
|Advanced Security||Even though device monitoring and encryption are great ways to prevent data leaks, they don’t protect against more complex threats from outsiders. These threats include many types of malware like viruses, worms, spyware, trojans and rootkits. These malware either attack your endpoint directly or work to steal passwords and sensitive information from the user. For this, you'll need enterprise antivirus software. Advanced endpoint security software uses specialized technology to detect these threats, and in many instances, remove them from the endpoint. Additionally, endpoint solutions work to prevent users from accidentally inviting malware into the system in the first place. Web filtering and blocking of certain applications can provide more malware protection than you might think.|
|Server Security||When people think of endpoint devices, servers aren’t always the first piece of equipment that comes to mind. However, servers are an incredibly important endpoint device and must be considered when shopping for new software. Server security features protect threats to your email, gateway, file and collaboration servers.|
|Mobile Security||Mobile devices have become prevalent in businesses all around the globe, and as such, your business needs to take measures to protect those devices. However, mobile devices are utilized in different ways than a PC might be. This calls for security measures specific to the mobile interface. Endpoint security solutions allow administrators to restrict individual applications and monitor user activity. Additionally, administrators can set the amount of time a mobile device remains unlocked while unattended. Lastly, administrators can set passwords, disable camera use and wipe all data remotely.|
|Virtual Environments||Virtualized environments enable businesses to use one piece of hardware as two or more functionally. Think of virtualized environments as the guest user on your personal computer. In reality, there’s only one computer. But effectively there are two systems. Endpoint security solutions protect these virtual environments. Even if they are housed on the same hardware, a compromised virtual environment won’t affect the other environments protected by an endpoint solution.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Endpoint Security Software
Compare Endpoint Security Solutions
In order to find the endpoint solution right for your company, it’s immensely important to perform a full endpoint security comparison of the products you’re considering. A thoroughly detailed comparison should include how prospective vendors perform on all the features mentioned above. Researching all these features for three to five vendors and then organizing them in a way that can be quickly communicated to stakeholders is no small feat. Luckily, SelectHub’s analyst team has already evaluated and ranked top endpoint security vendors by how well they fulfill the features listed above. See our in-depth comparison report for a summary of each vendor’s capabilities in order to find the best endpoint security software for business.
Questions to Ask Endpoint Security Vendors
At a certain point in your endpoint security selection, you’re going to want to contact three to five prospective vendors. Before you make initial contact, you should have a few questions ready to go. This will give you a better idea of which vendor is best suited for your company, as well as clarify any uncertainties you encountered during your research.
What devices does your system protect?
With the multitude of devices available on the market today, you can’t assume your endpoint security vendor provides protection across all of them. Before you contact a vendor, make sure you have an exhaustive list of all the devices needing protection from the system. Prepare all the necessary information beforehand to prevent multiple follow-ups.
This endpoint security solution makes it easy to see which of your devices is protected through their list of products.
How much visibility does your system actually provide?
Endpoint security software vendors are quick to boast about their configuration portals where administrators can monitor and control every endpoint in a company. However, it’s important to not take this claim at face value. Inquire about how much information you’re truly able to see using the system. Make sure it’s enough that it provides the level of security you’re looking for.
What expertise is needed to successfully manage the system?
If your company has a full-fledged IT team, you probably don’t have to worry too much about this question. But if your company gets by day-to-day with little or even no IT staff, this question will have more importance. Does the system require an administrator to identify threats? How complex is the threat removal process? Although endpoint software has many benefits, they aren’t accessible without a capable administrator.
What is your success rate with your everyday users?
A good way to predict success with a vendor is to see how well they perform with other companies. Ask how often threats are detected and how often they go unseen. Make sure to inquire about false positives and negatives as well. If you’re more focused on internal data leaks, ask about their DLP success. Be sure to investigate vendors from third-party sources as well to get a feel for how customers experience their services.
What exactly does your solution protect against?
This is another great question to ask, particularly if you’re concerned about certain threats more than others. Ask if the solution protects against malware, blended threats and botnets. Does the solution block potentially unwanted applications (PUA) and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications? Our requirements checklist includes a number of threats many endpoint protection solutions defend against. Check it out for specific topics to ask about.
Top 10 Endpoint Security Software Leaders by Analyst Rating(of 38 products) GET THE IN-DEPTH REPORT
Webroot Endpoint Protection is business-grade cybersecurity solution made for small businesses, as well as any managed services provider that manages SMBs. In addition to a suite of highly effective features to protect against threats, Webroot also provides centralized cybersecurity management, flexible billing and smooth integrations with other systems.
Symantec Endpoint Protection was built to protect users and enterprises from malicious actors and harmful software. It’s ideal for small or medium-sized businesses. This system comes with a standard set of protection features, as well as several non-standard, unique capabilities that help this product to stand out from its competitors. Features include intrusion prevention, firewall and anti-malware features.
Sophos Endpoint Protection is a signature-free malware and defense software, ideal for businesses of any size and software platform.The software contains a fully-featured antivirus suite, along with a series of tools to protect user devices from offline threats.
Trend Micro Endpoint Security is a solution designed to help businesses protect their user devices. Trend’s offering provides a bevy of software tools and features that result in a complete, multi-layered approach to endpoint security and protection.The app delivers standard endpoint protection features like advanced threat protection, anti-malware, encryption, device control, application whitelisting and more, on top of its unique features, like data-loss protection and instant messaging protection.
EventTracker enables its customers to stop attacks and pass IT audits. EventTracker’s award-winning product suite includes EventTracker Security Center and EventTracker Log Manager, which transform high-volume, cryptic log data into actionable and prioritized intelligence to optimize IT operations, detect and deter costly security breaches, and comply with multiple regulatory mandates. In addition to this, EventTracker offers SIEM Simplified, a professional services engagement to guarantee successful outcomes
Microsoft System Center, originally Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection, is software that helps IT managers oversee their network and infrastructure, protect against threats, secure data and more.It brings a bevy of features that help it stand out from its competitors, such as hybrid deployment, hyper-converged infrastructure and HTML5 dashboards.
Formerly known as Bit9 + Carbon Black, Carbon Black Enterprise Protection is an endpoint security solution developed specifically to protect enterprises from advanced security threats.CBEP is comprised of three components, delivering comprehensive protection for businesses. CB Protection stops malware, ransomware and non-zero day attacks. CB Response is an advanced endpoint detection and response (EDR) tool, built around scalability and attack review. CB Defense is an antivirus combined with an EDR solution, delivered via the cloud.
ESET Endpoint Security is a security and data protection product based out of Slovakia that is ideal for businesses of all sizes. The product provides a full range of endpoint protection features to help it stay on top of known and unknown threats. Encryption, server security, two-factor authentication, leak protection, threat protection and more are all included in the software package.
Kaspersky Security Center provides business-grade digital security and malware protection for businesses of any size. With a suite of highly-effective features like automated hardening, easy separation of admin and user roles, and single-console, it can aptly serve SMBs as well as large enterprises, or any managed service provider.
Enjoy complete security protection from all types of viruses, and on all of your files, laptops servers. Manage your endpoint solution server anti-virus solution directly from the application. It allows you to easily deploy the anti-virus on all devices to manage any situation from a single console. The application scans checks the security of your mails before you receive them. The Smart Scanner automatically scans your data when you are not using it. Thanks to all these tools, your data is securely stored inaccessible to hackers.
Our endpoint security products have been utilizing next-generation technologies – such as behavioral analysis and machine learning – for a decade already. Over the years, our products have developed further to offer several state-of-the-art technologies to keep your business safe.Our behavior-based protection engine, DeepGuard, is one of the key security elements in our business security software. Combined with the power of F-Secure Security Cloud, which tracks malware behavior globally, it gives our customers consistent security against new and emerging threats.
Protection and disinfectionProactive and real-time protection from the cloud thanks to Panda Security's Collective Intelligence.Maximum malware detection, even for malware that exploits unknown (zero-day) vulnerabilities, regardless of the source of infection (email, USB memory sticks, Web, etc)Ease to use, easy to maintainManage the security of all users from anywhere from the Web console.Simple, automatic and/or remote installation.Automatic or scheduled transparent updates to avoid any inconvenience to the user.A level of security for each situation and environmentProfile-based security to adapt the protection to the specific needs of your users.Centralized monitoring of the security status of all PCs, servers and laptops through comprehensive dashboards.Device control to block entire peripheral device categories (USB drives and modems, webcams, DVD/CD, etc.) with whitelists and control of permitted actions (access, read, write).
Endpoint Threat Detection and Response (ETDR) offers greater visibility at the endpoint and augments signature-based technologies for stronger anomaly detection.By coupling Netsurion’s EventTracker SIEM platform with our own 24/7 ISO-Certified SOC, EventTracker SIEMphonic by Netsurion orchestrates all of the critical capabilities needed to predict, prevent, detect and respond to security incidents at the endpoint and throughout your network.With a light-weight sensor deployed to your critical endpoints, EventTracker SIEMphonic alerts you immediately of any anomalies or suspicious activities. Our platform continually learns what events you consider threats, as well as those you do not, so that you can more effectively automate menial tasks and improve incident responses.
Comodo cWatch Web is a Managed Security Service for websites and applications that combines a Web Application Firewall (WAF) provisioned over a Secure Content Delivery Network (CDN). It is a fully managed solution from a 24/7 staffed Cyber Security Operation Center (CSOC) of certified security analysts and is powered by a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) that leverages data from over 85 million endpoints to detect and mitigate threats before they occur. The service also includes malware detection scanning, preventive methods and removal services to enable organizations to take a proactive approach to protecting their business and brand reputation from attacks and infections. And, vulnerability scanning to provide businesses, Online merchants and other service providers who handle credit cards online with a simple and automated way to stay compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Prevent Security BreachesPreemptively block known and unknown malware, exploits and zero-day threats with the unique multi-method prevention approach of Traps™ advanced endpoint protection from a single, lightweight agent. Automate PreventionAutomatically reprogram your endpoints to block known and unknown threats – without human intervention – using threat intelligence gained from our global community of customers and partners across endpoints, networks and SaaS applications.Protect and Enable UsersEmpower users to use web-, mobile- and cloud-based applications without fearing cyberthreats. Protect users from inadvertently compromising their systems without depending on burdensome virus scans.
FortiClient delivers easy-to-manage, automated, fully customizable endpoint security for a broad set of devices, removing those challenges. FortiClient integrates with the Fortinet Security Fabric to provide real-time actionable visibility to stop threats across various vectors including at the endpoint.
CrowdStrike Falcon is a digital security and endpoint defense product. The company is well recognized in its industry, playing a key role in the cybersecurity space and investigating major breaches like the Sony Pictures hack and the 2016 Democratic National Convention hack.With an assortment of standard and unique features and flexible pricing, it is built for businesses of any size.
CylancePROTECT, a product of Blackberry Limited, is an AI-driven piece of security software that uses just 1–3% of a machine’s processing capability. It is ideal for businesses of any size or scope, especially if the business is deploying fleets of devices to its employees. The product comes with a number of features that are standard in the Endpoint Security realm, as well as features that help it stand out from its counterparts. Its sophisticated AI, light footprint, robust device control and simple deployment make it has attracted attention from companies like Forbes, Gartner and SC Media.
Cisco AMP for Endpoints, a product of the Cisco corporation, is a cybersecurity product that boasts a number of powerful and unique features to help it stand out from its peers. The product is ideal for companies of any size looking for either deployment environment.
Bitdefender GravityZone is a dedicated network and device security product that is tailor-made to defend against malware, viruses, zero-day attacks and more. It touts itself as being a “multi-layered” approach to device and network security, able to secure devices of any kind. It’s a singular approach that is ideal for businesses of any size, or any managed service provider that is serving a company.
Affordable and scalable to companies of any size, McAfee Endpoint Protection is a digital security and malware defense product that can cover most user’s security needs in a single package.The product offers a number of standard features to equip enterprises with the tools they need to manage their business. Features like integration, machine learning, automation and more help businesses stay on top of their enterprise.
The solution combines powerful data, identity, and server protection with the award-winning features of Avast Business Antivirus. It combines powerful data and server protection with the award-winning features of Avast Business Antivirus for world-leading business security. It includes Antivirus Pro Plus, Antivirus Pro, Antivirus and Managed Antivirus.
SentinelOne delivers autonomous endpoint protection through a single agent that successfully prevents, detects and responds to attacks across all major vectors. Designed for extreme ease of use, the S1 platform saves customers time by applying AI to automatically eliminate threats in real time for both on premise and cloud environments and is the only solution to provide full visibility across networks directly from the endpoint. To learn more visit sentinelone.com or follow us at @SentinelOne, on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Flextivity Secure provides worry-free protection for all your Macs — know they are protected against malware and unwanted intruders trying to access them. Administrative console allows for centralized deployment of security policies to all devices.
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