Today, cybercriminals are actively targeting small businesses. Why? Because 86 percent of small businesses don’t have the resources to mitigate cyber attacks. For most, the only precaution they have in place is antivirus software, which is especially troublesome because more businesses are incorporating BYOD (bring your own device) practices.
As a small business owner, choosing between endpoint protection and antivirus software depends on many factors, such as:
- network size
- presence of remote workers
- businesses policies, such as BYOD
- the security features you require
In today’s post, we will discuss the difference between endpoint security and antivirus software to help you decide which one is best for your small business.
What is endpoint security?
Endpoint security is a broad term that can refer to a number of security measures, but it generally falls under the umbrella of network security. Endpoint security, also known as endpoint protection, is an approach to protecting a business network while it’s being accessed by remote, wireless, or mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. This type of software is primarily intended for business or commercial use rather than for individuals or home computers. Endpoint protection has become especially relevant for businesses of all sizes because of practices such as bring your own device (BYOD) policies, connect-from-home policies, use of personal devices on the company network, and the internet of things (IoT).
Key Features in Endpoint Security Software:
- Endpoint detection and response: Capabilities include being able to detect new endpoint devices as well as discover, report, and prioritize vulnerabilities.
- Anti-malware and data protection: Core functionalities of endpoint protection software include anti-malware and anti-exploit based prevention. Additional functionalities may include firewall, data loss prevention (DLP), port and device control, and mobility management.
- Reports and alerts: Provides prioritized alerts and warnings about vulnerabilities as well offers dashboards and reports that enhance the visibility of endpoint security.
- Incident investigation and remediation: Centralized and automated tools that provide automated incident response approaches and step-by-step workflows for incident investigation. Advanced features include blacklisting and sandboxing to contain the spread of malware.
- Third-party integrations: Integrate via open API systems with other security tools such as network monitoring, intrusion prevention, active directory, and SIEM (security information and event management).
What is antivirus software?
Antivirus software is designed to detect and remove malware. Additionally, antivirus solutions are installed on individual devices such as desktops, laptops, and smartphones, as well as on servers. They run in the background and periodically scan device directories and files for malicious patterns indicating the presence of malware.
The key features of antivirus software include:
- Real-time and manual scanning: Automatically scans the system at scheduled times and takes action against any threat or virus detected. Manual scans allow you to start scans to resolve threats at any point in time.
- Web protection: Helps to keep your online browsing sessions and downloads from the internet safe by blocking bad results or warning you when you are about to visit a malicious web page.
- Threat identification: Identifies various types of malware including viruses, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, worms, keyloggers, adware, and rootkits.
- File quarantine: Removes or isolates infected files depending upon the severity of damage.
- Alerts and notifications: Notifies you about periodic scans and updates as well as sending alerts about infected files and potentially malicious software.
- Automatic updates: Provides remote updates about virus scan rules to keep the software up-to-date and capture new viruses and threats.
More about endpoint security and antivirus software
Endpoint security and antivirus software share some similarities but are very different in the needs they help to meet.
- Antivirus is just one facet of endpoint protection.
- Endpoint security solutions cover your entire network and protect against different types of security attacks, while antivirus software covers a single endpoint and only detects and blocks malicious files.
- Endpoint security solutions are more dynamic and detect endpoints automatically when new devices get added to your network while, antivirus software needs to be installed separately on each system.
An antivirus solution helps if you’re a very small business with no network architecture in place, but you would still like to protect your devices against malware attacks. If you have a networked system with at least five devices and want to be able to remotely manage security operations, then an endpoint security solution would better suit you.