Recent research shows that there are over 4.72 billion active internet users worldwide. According to Statista, about 92.6% of the internet use digital devices, including mobile devices, to access the internet. It means individuals, companies, and businesses of all sizes embrace digital technologies to streamline their online activities.
In 2021 businesses are using digital technologies to stay competitive in their market, reach their target audience, and increase their revenue. However, embracing these technologies has also opened doors for information security threats, which have increased exponentially over the past decade.
Although mobile devices, computers, laptops, and cloud storage have many business advantages, they are prone to cybercriminals and hackers who can breach the security layer and protocols and steal important data. Consequently, businesses suffer from loss of data and proprietary information, reputational damage, and legal penalties.
That’s why experts recommend implementing endpoint security to protect data and workflows across individual devices that connect to the network. A growing number of tests and research concludes that endpoints are always the weakest links in the network, leading to a wide range of complications, including data theft. If you are curious why this is then please read on and we’ll explain!
Why the Weakest Link is Always the Endpoint
Endpoints such as desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, virtual environments, servers, etc., are devices leveraged by end-users. These users are more prone to security risks because when a hacker infiltrates their devices, they can steal sensitive data, including personal information, social security data, credit card credentials and more.
Although many individuals and companies implement basic security protocols to protect themselves from online hazards and threats, the loss of security, stolen credentials, compromised accounts, etc., continues to rise. Here are a few reasons why the weakest link is always the endpoint.
Poor Password Practices
Setting weak passwords on endpoint devices is a significant problem in 2021. It is one of the easiest but overlooked practices for users to be aware of and resolve as soon as possible.
Even if you have implemented robust security protocols, poor password hygiene practices can lead to problems and prevent you from protecting sensitive data. According to Splash Data, about 10% of people use more than 25 commonly leaked passwords, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Mashable reports that 44 million users who use Microsoft services have weak passwords, and many of them are circulated on the dark web. It is crucial to use strong passwords to avoid security threats on endpoints for your business.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies
Endpoint security is a sophisticated method that companies use to protect a central network in the corporate environment. Users use remote devices or endpoints, such as desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones, to access the network.
A company’s IT department manages the antivirus program to safeguard data and prevent security threats to the network on endpoint devices. However, this is not enough to safeguard the network.
Because most companies have implemented BYOD policies, they allow their employees to use their own devices. The purpose is to ensure employees access the network or accounts from endpoint devices remotely.
Remember, this makes employees’ devices vulnerable to cyber-attacks, hacking, and phishing. Verizon’s research report highlights that hackers deliver 96% of phishing attacks through emails to target data, such as login credentials, internal business data, and financial information. This is one of the reasons endpoints are the weakest link in the network from small offices to large conglomerates.
Poor Security against Malware Attacks
BYOD policies implemented by most companies don’t know precisely whether users who use endpoint devices have installed an antivirus software program to prevent malware attacks.
Research shows that about 24% of Windows users have no antivirus software installed on their computers or laptops. The problem is even worse for users who use smartphones to access online accounts or corporate networks.
Although the built-in security for endpoints has been improved over the last couple of years thanks to the advanced standards and protocols, the problem lies with users who access their endpoint device. Most people don’t update software or even install antivirus programs on their devices. This leaves computers vulnerable to hacking, data breaching, malware attacks, and other types of cyber-attacks.
Although endpoint security methods like antivirus programs, URL filtering techniques, network access control strategies, application control, and browser isolation protect users from cyber-attacks and hacking-related threats, studies show that the endpoint is the weakest link in the network when it comes to security protocols.
Partnering with an IT consultant can protect your systems from online threats. Cyber Tech Connection helps assess, identify and resolve security threats across web files, cloud storage, email servers and devices. Call us today or schedule an appointment!