Antivirus VS Endpoint Protection – Top Differences

Antivirus VS Endpoint Protection – Top Differences

The top differences for antivirus versus endpoint protection solutions are key to understanding how to defend your business against modern cyber threats. These distinctions parallel how cybersecurity has needed to evolve to keep pace with the dangers and list of bad actors that continue to change over time, from the scammers and brute force hackers of the past to the ransomware gangs of today. Continuing to rely on legacy tools and strategies multiplies your cyber risk exponentially, while implementing contemporary endpoint security grants more scalable coverage - watch our webinar here to learn more, or continue reading below.

Here are the top differences to understand when comparing antivirus versus endpoint protection:

What is an Endpoint and Why Does it Need Protection?

At the highest-level definition, a communication endpoint is just a node in any network with two-way messaging from which data or any other information can pass through both ends. In cybersecurity terminology, this generally refers to every device connected to your network in some capacity, specifically those that can be exposed to external channels (i.e., the Internet). This encompasses a wide range of hardware from desktop computers and laptops to smartphones and even printers, as in the age of smart technology virtually all hardware is open to web connectivity (or exposure).

The “two-way” nature noted above is precisely why you need endpoint protection in place - most devices connect with something else eventually, generating manifold such nodes placed throughout your network with varying levels of top-down visibility. Addressing this cybersecurity layer must be part of your operational strategy to avoid vulnerabilities being exposed, as well as compliance with data privacy regulations being jeopardized.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus (AV) software refers specifically to a standalone program that is installed on an individual computer device and is designed to scan for known virus signatures and remove any local infection. Modern applications have expanded their signature libraries to be able to act as true antimalware platforms that can detect most types of computer viruses. These include:

  • Ransomware
  • Trojans
  • Worms
  • Keyloggers
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Scamware
  • Rootkits
  • Data Wipers
  • Botnets

The Legacy Cybersecurity Approach

There are a few critical weaknesses faced by antivirus software programs in a modern network security scenario within a business setting, most owing to their inherent legacy status among contemporary cyber threats. Conceptually these applications are designed to protect only a single workstation and with reactive measures that rely on known characteristics found by researchers. This means that an AV solution will be innately outdated against any new malicious actors and lacking in scalability for a business-sized network, putting your company’s data at large at risk against sophisticated attacks.

Endpoint Security Software

Endpoint detection, response and protection systems are centrally managed, comprehensive and proactive solutions that enable security operations teams to monitor your connected infrastructure and implement controls that apply to every workstation at the push of a button. These include:

  • Centralized management console
  • Immediate patch update installation
  • Blocking third-party app installation
  • Website filtering at your discretion
  • Blocking USB ports to certain devices, such as flash drives
  • Trace and rollback ransomware-infected systems

Modern Cybersecurity Solutions

Compared to antivirus software, endpoint protection solutions enable you to keep up much more easily with contemporary and evolving cyber threats. They are more likely to have access to more modern toolsets such as predictive AI and SIEM (security information and event management) applications, as well as next-generation firewalls so that you can deploy security actions proactively and reactively as needed. With ransomware and phishing increasingly taking up the majority share of cyber attacks, it is vital to be able to have this type of adaptive cybersecurity approach in place.

Secure Cloud Services offers our clients access to a handful of solutions with endpoint security capabilities, depending on which services you are engaging. These include:

  • SentinelOne

SentinelOne provides modern antivirus, antimalware, anti-exploit, and extensive endpoint protection functionality that includes prevention, detection and remediation capabilities. It comes equipped with real-time forensics and behavior detection methodologies that empower security teams to pick up malicious activity quickly. SCS customers on a Network Assurance plan have SentinelOne included automatically.

  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

Microsoft has released a flurry of upgrades for Microsoft 365 and related services in recent years, with several updates to Microsoft 365 for Business plans that significantly overhauled existing cybersecurity features such as Microsoft Defender. These include the implementation of a device management console as well as the release of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to grant users 360-degree detection and response coverage. If you have trouble navigating these new security features or feel you may not be getting the most out of them, please sign up for a free Microsoft Assessment with SCS.

Learn More About Endpoint Protection & The SCS Difference

Watch SCS’s webinar with VP of Managed Cloud Services, Bill Michael, to get a more in-depth explanation of the key differences for antivirus versus endpoint protection, and dive deeper into why the current state of cybersecurity necessitates migrating to a more proactive and scalable cyber defense solution. With a focus on real-world compliance and risk management factors, this webinar will help you better understand the importance of endpoint security.

Watch the webinar here and learn more about the top differences between antivirus and endpoint protection solutions, and why they matter to your business.



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  • Hector Bonilla