Security Starts at the Endpoint
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by
Patrick Condron
| 2 August 2022

Security Starts at the Endpoint

CDK Global
1. Reports and Dashboards

Endpoint security is the act of preventing unauthorized users from gaining entry into your valuable data and process systems. Think of it as the first line of defense keeping bad actors (hackers) from exploiting the rapid growth of mobile work and the proliferation of end-user devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Your dealership endpoints can serve as doorways for cybercriminals to gain access to your network, so endpoint security represents one of the first places dealerships should look to secure their network.

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If your watch can be used to gain access to a computer system, can criminal access through a smart thermostat, a connected car, a talking home base or even a smart refrigerator be that hard to imagine?

Today’s endpoint protection systems, including Endpoint Protect from CDK Global, are designed to quickly detect, analyze, block and contain attacks in progress. They’ve evolved from traditional antivirus software to comprehensive protection against the likes of sophisticated malware and ransomware attacks, zero-day threats and nimble identity impersonators. Robust protections will also prevent authorized users from getting into restricted areas where they can unwittingly do major damage.


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The Trojan Horse

If a device is connected to a network, it is considered an endpoint. With the growing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) and the IoT (Internet of Things), the number of individual devices connected to a dealership’s network can quickly reach well into the thousands. Mobile endpoint entry has become an option for more than just Android and iPhones — think of the latest wearable watches, smart devices, voice-controlled digital assistants, other IoT-enabled smart products, or printers and servers.

A recent story on CNBC pointed to how authorized users choose their passwords as a way to compromise Endpoint Security. Even if your system requires new passwords periodically, the way they are chosen can lead to how quickly they they can be stolen. Many of us find it easier to use the same passwords across personal and professional entry points. For example, if an employee's Spotify password is stolen and a similar password is chosen for entry into your systems, you're immediately at risk. Requiring difficult to steal passwords that must be changed regularly is a critical element of endpoint security.


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Malicious Mischief Can Cost Millions

Data is one of your most valuable assets. To lose data or access to that data could put the entire dealership at risk of insolvency. Considering dealerships have not only had to contend with a growing number of endpoints, but also a rise in the number of types of endpoints, things can get out of hand very quickly. Employees are also connecting to their dealership servers using a variety of networks (Wi-Fi, 4G) and from various remote locations, posing additional security issues.

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With the rise in remote work, endpoints have become more vulnerable. Cybercriminals have exploited those vulnerabilities to execute malicious code and launch attacks through entry and exit points to a dealership's network. Entry that provides access to information stored on the endpoints and the ability to launch DDoS attacks that overload servers and can stall operations for hours. According to an IBM report, the average total cost of a data breach was over $1 million higher in remote work-related incidents compared to those where remote working was not a factor.

When you consider the the cost of reallocating resources from business goals to threats, the reputational cost of a large-scale breach, and the actual financial cost of compliance violations, it's easy to see why endpoint protection platforms are not only recommended but essential to the security of today’s dealerships.


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The Nuts and Bolts of EPP

Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) work by examining files as they enter the network, harnessing the power of the cloud to hold an ever-growing database of threat information. This eliminates the bloat associated with storing information locally and the maintenance required to keep these databases up to date. Accessing this data in the cloud also allows for greater speed and scalability. EPPs protect endpoints by implementing application control, which blocks the use of potentially dangerous or unapproved apps, as well as encryption, which helps prevent data loss.

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The EPP gives system administrators a centralized console that they may put on a network gateway or server and use to configure security for each device remotely. The client software is then assigned to each endpoint and it can be given as a remotely controlled SaaS, or it can be installed locally. The client software will then deliver updates to the endpoints as needed, authenticate login attempts from each device and administer corporate rules from a single location.


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Advanced Detection With EDR

Some EPP solutions also include an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) component for the identification of more advanced threats including polymorphic affronts, fileless malware and zero-day attacks. EDR tools find and respond to cyber threats before they occur or while they are in progress. EDRs also come with machine learning and built-in analytics tools that can isolate and neutralize a threat in the early stages of an attack. This feature powers EDRs to study the behaviors of new and emerging threats and prepare for them in advance.

An EDR solution, by employing continuous monitoring, can offer better visibility and a variety of response options. EDR is the successor to EPP and AV security software. Compared to EPP, EDR takes security procedures a step further with its data analysis and forensic capabilities.


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The Endpoint Protection Is Just the Beginning

Although endpoint security is a critical element to the safety of your dealership systems and processes, it’s not nearly enough. Hackers, bad actors, and cybercriminals are always looking for the next best way to break in and wreak havoc on everything from your inventory lists to your customer data to your payroll accounts. Sometimes it’s just a joyride but more often, it’s a vicious attempt to ruin your business.

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To stay one step ahead of bad intentions, a dealership must also put in place a variety of additional security tools, solutions and processes to remain as impenetrable as possible. Having a qualified leader in place to steward your security posture is highly recommended. A dealership should also have data backup and recovery tools, an email scanning program to prevent phishing, and cybersecurity training sessions to help prevent costly errors by authorized users.

Threats are out there. It’s not the time to put your head in the sand and assume it won’t happen to you. To see where you stand, CDK offers a free cybersecurity and networking evaluation to help identify any gaps you need to close in order to stay safe and cybersecure.

SCHEDULE AN EVALUTAION

Patrick Condon
Patrick Condron

Patrick Condron is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at CDK Global and has spent over 20 years consulting with OEMs and dealers. Patrick is passionate about helping dealerships innovate and drive success in this digital-driven world.