Developing an effective defense strategy for your company network involves more than just one single product or solution. It is layers and layers of security measures to ensure that no threat or hackers can get through your system.
Managing multiple security tools can be quite a challenge, but necessary to keep your confidential data safe. Using an assortment of security tools is known as a defense-in-depth strategy.
Types of Security: Endpoint and Network
Endpoint security and network security both aim to alert you on threats for their respective intended coverage area. Like most things, both have advantages and disadvantages depending on the circumstances.
However, you must note that some of their features overlap, which is not a bad thing since it contributes to a defense-in-depth security strategy.
Endpoint and Network Security in Tandem
IT professionals from enterprise and large businesses often deploy endpoint and network security in tandem. These two technologies work well together to better protect you, other users, data, and assets from cyber-attacks.
Here are some comparisons to help you understand both endpoint security and network security:
Architectural Differences of Endpoint and Network Security
Endpoint security, as the name suggests, is used directly on endpoints, while network security tools are used to protect your users and data against threats crossing your corporate network.
These two network security technologies help enforce a defense-in-depth strategy by providing your system with multiple layers of security. The network security tools will find the threats, obstruct it from going further into your system, and alert you before it reaches the endpoints connected to the corporate network.
The endpoint security products will serve as the last line of defense against threats in case they make it through your network security tool. Endpoint security products can protect end devices like desktops, servers, mobile devices, and IoT devices from cyber attacks and hackers.
Network Security Architecture
Network security products are often designed for a specific type of threat. Some are purpose-built to protect certain corporate network assets.
For instance, a network firewall can monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic to ensure that the traffic between trusted and untrusted networks is safe.
A network firewall may permit or deny traffic depending on administrator-configured rules.
Another example is a secure web gateway, also known as SWG, which also monitors traffic as it crosses networks. SWG is different from a traditional firewall in the sense that it only focuses on managing web-based traffic.
Endpoint Security Architecture
Much like network security products, endpoint security tools widely vary.
Traditionally, endpoint antivirus scans the local applications and files at an endpoint to look for signs of malware. However, endpoint detection and response or EDR tools are designed to monitor device behavior over time and alert administrators if a device or group of devices strays from normal behavior.
Endpoint and Network Security Integrations
Nowadays, security tools can share information on emerging threats, identified threats, and the extent of a security breach or malware infestation on a network.
These integrated tools can automatically detect threats and defend your network against new cyber attack methods.
Modern security tools can also share threat information collected and analyzed locally, which allows an endpoint security tool to notify network security tools of an identified threat vice versa.
The security tool receiving information about the new threat can use shared data to create security policies to protect your system against the identified threat.
Individual Strengths of Endpoint and Network Security Tools
Although many enterprise IT professionals recommend using endpoint and network security tools in tandem, there are some instances wherein one will work better than the other.
For instance, endpoint security tools are installed directly on the endpoint which allows the tool to protect devices where they go. This major advantage over network security is especially beneficial to secure employees working from home.
Endpoint security software is generally designed to be deployed on certain hardware and Operating Systems (OS).
However, some devices and OS may not be compatible with endpoint security software. This issue is common with the adoption of IoT. In this case, it makes sense for you to use network security tools to protect IoT devices.
Public Cloud Security
Cloud platforms also need security. It is another common subject when comparing the benefits of endpoint security and network security.
Platforms like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure use multiple network security tools within a third-party infrastructure to protect their users and data.
This method allows security teams to choose to deploy virtualized instances of their preferred network security tools. They can also use security tools built into their IaaS platform.
In this case, network security tools can help monitor traffic between end-users, applications, and data, regardless of their location.
Network security tools are designed to protect multiple corporate assets, while endpoint security products focus on protecting individual endpoints.
There are cases when one is preferable to the other. However, these two security tools differ in what they protect which makes them complementary to one another. Integrating both endpoint and network security gives you multiple layers of security.