In his article in CSO Online, Jon Oltsik writes that enterprises focus disproportionately on the network when developing a cybersecurity strategy. He continues that it is important to also make endpoint and server security a priority, as this network-only focus creates “a cybersecurity imbalance that can be easily exploited. Once cybercriminals and hackers navigate around the network, endpoints are sitting ducks for zero-day attacks, phishing scams, or drive-by downloads.” As these cybersecurity threats grow and endpoints become increasingly exposed, investing in an endpoint protection solution is crucial to keep the enterprise environment secure.
There are many solutions to choose from when looking for an endpoint protection solution, such as Symantec Endpoint Protection, Cylance, IBM BigFix and McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection, among others. Each solution has its own benefits and valuable features, which can make choosing the right solution for your company all the more daunting.
To help alleviate this process and guide you in your research we have turned to the IT Central Station community for their advice on how to how to choose an endpoint protection solution, based on their personal experiences.
How to choose an endpoint protection solution
Do a proof-of-concept
According to our IT Central Station users, one of the most important things to do when looking for an endpoint protection solution (but really, this applies to just about any tool) is to run a proof of concept. Make sure you know just how much return you will get on your investment beforehand.
SeniorSy56e6, Senior Systems Engineer at a tech vendor
“You've got to do a proof of concept and a proof of technology. Get it in there and see what it can do. But more importantly, as you're putting it in, see how quickly you can do it and then see how easy it is to remediate those vulnerabilities. You'll be amazed.”
Gavin Turner, Systems Engineer at Carolinas Healthcare System
“If they are able to get it into the environment and run some type of proof of concept and be able to kick the tires a little bit, that would be the best way go with any product.”
Axel Hellström, IT Consultant at a tech consulting company
“Test the product well and make your own policy changes to improve the product even more. Often McAfee can get you some test periods to try the product. Also, have a look at the Dynamic Application Control. It’s worth the value in the end.”
Ensure that your company goals align with your solution of choice
In a similar vein, it is important to know whether or not a specific endpoint solution is the right fit for your company. IT Central Station community members stress how important it is to ensure that your eventual solution will meet your company’s specific needs.
Mostafa, Network Administrator at Suez Canal Insurance
“The complete suite is a good fit for medium-sized businesses seeking a more comprehensive range of protection. However, this antivirus software doesn't scan email, a vulnerability in today's digital age. It might be the best choice for antivirus protection for your small business but that depends on the features and functions most important for your business and your security. My advice is to calculate your needs. Make a decision based on an accurate assessment of the price, the licensing, and the support. When I choose a product, I look for stability, security, and safety.”
Chris Elliot, Infrastructure Security Ops Manager at The Walt Disney Company
“I would really encourage them to look into it and take a look at its abilities and think of it as a platform and not just a patching mechanism. Some people think BigFix is just patching. It's a lot more than that so I would ask them to look at the bigger modules.”
Caio Pierno, IT Specialist at a tech services company
“See if the solution has good capabilities for them and if the solution can communicate well. Integration with many vendors is necessary.”
Focus on vendor support
For many IT Central Station users, vendor support is one of the most important elements of investing in an IT solution. You want to make sure that you communicate well with the vendor and that they will be available to provide you with the support that you need when using the solution.
ITCompli152d, IT Compliance Specialist at a media company
“Knowledge of the tool is important when selecting a vendor. Anyone can come and take you out to lunch, or wine and dine you. That's fine, they all do it. But to be able to have someone walk up to you and know how the tool actually functions is most important to me.”
Admin11b1, Admin at a tech services company
“Support is the most crucial criteria while selecting a vendor, because when things hit the wall and everybody's heated and trying to finger-point, you want someone that have the backbone to say, "We'll take care of it." IBM can do that. They never try to say, "No." They take the heat really well and they control it. Big corporations are looking for that kind of security that the company can provide and they're going to put as much resources as needed, so as to get the problem solved.”
LeadCompbe18, Lead Compliance Architect
“Put the money into the support, the services and the innovation it provides. Openness and honesty are the most important criteria I look for in a vendor. What are the shortcomings of the tool? What are some of the challenges that others have had with the tool and how have you been able to overcome those challenges?”
Michael Pratl, Systems Engineering at a retailer
“When we're selecting a solution, we want a vendor that we can trust, that is on top of it, on point, and thorough. Really understand what your environment is like. Make sure that your network team is engaged with all of that.”
Determine your deployment strategy
Aside from understanding how an endpoint protection solution will work in your environment, IT Central Station users also recommend building a strategy for how you will deploy the solution in your production environment. Taking these preparatory steps will save you a lot of headache in the long run.
Ilker Ozturk, Systems Project Manager at a retailer
“Before installation, take your time to plan how you will manage your environment. If you already have another AV, please first check if SEP can auto-uninstall the old AV.”
Johan Vanaken, Infrastructure Specialist at a healthcare company
“Deploy the product with a phased and progressive strategy and optimize it during deployment. Often policies need to be adapted in order to lower impact on performance for some applications.”
MoePro, Technical Support Specialist at a government agency
“Take your time and plan it out before attempting to deploy in a production environment. We implemented it in-house. I would suggest building a small lab to get familiar with the process before working on a live environment.”
Krishnaraj Raveendran Nair, IT Security Consultant at a integrator
“Always test on all environments and different OS's before deploying into production, especially VSE, DLP, and encryption.”
Do your homework
Finally, IT Central Station users advise that you should factor in the time it will take for you to get used to your new endpoint protection solution. There will be a lot to learn, but there are many resources that are available to help you out.
John Barrett, Senior IT manager at Technology Brands
“The advice I would give is not to be turned off from the learning curve. There is a little bit of a learning curve to it. But that learning curve is there for a reason and the talent that goes into actually using BigFix properly takes a little while to tune, but that is what makes BigFix so powerful. That being said, as a result of that you're going to get reliability and scalability and a much faster response time than probably most products out there.”
Responsa81cf, Responsable de Infraestructura at a tech services company
“Read the best practice guidelines so as to configure/tune up your environment nicely and easily.”
Sudeep Amalkar, Director at a tech services company
“Just go through the implementation guide or some YouTube videos and the IT team can do it. It was very simple to implement and very easy to use as well.”
To learn more about what IT Central Station users have to say about their endpoint protection solutions read their user reviews here.