What Is an Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP)?

An endpoint protection platform (EPP) is an integrated security solution that leverages personal firewall, port and device control, and anti-malware capabilities to provide endpoint protection across an organization.

However, traditional endpoint protection platform solutions lack threat detection and response capabilities. So, relying on EPP tools alone may not be enough to defend against threats when advanced malware evades your front-line protection.

What is the difference between an endpoint protection platform and endpoint detection and response (EDR)?

Endpoint detection and response focuses primarily on threats that have already evaded front-line defenses and infiltrated your environment. An endpoint protection platform, however, focuses solely on prevention, and because no endpoint protection platform can successfully block all threats, it should be paired with an EDR solution. Ideally, a comprehensive endpoint security solution includes both EPP and EDR capabilities.

What challenges does an endpoint protection platform address?

With more than 80 percent of cyberattacks targeting endpoints, your users' mobile devices, laptops, workstations, and servers are all at risk. An EPP provides preventative security on the endpoint, blocking known malware at the point of entry using built-in protection mechanisms, including signature-based malware defenses.

Does an EPP provide adequate protection?

An EPP can often be described as a traditional antivirus solution. While deploying an antivirus solution will improve your front-line security, it does not protect your endpoints from more sophisticated threats that may find another way into your network. Endpoint security solutions should have endpoint protection platform capabilities, but they must also have the capabilities of an endpoint detection and response solution.

For more information on an EDR solution: What Is an EDR?

Anti-malware protection: A key component of endpoint protection

Malware is one of the largest threats to an endpoint. Malware can come from many sources, but it often gets onto a device when users click an email or web link. Once inside your environment, malware seeks to infect as much data and as many processes as it can. Ransomware and phishing are some of the more recent malware variants. An endpoint protection platform solution protects endpoints by preventing malware from getting onto your environment. Just as a firewall blocks illicit access to the network, an endpoint protection platform solution blocks known threats to your endpoints.

But anti-malware protection is not as simple as granting and denying access to your devices. This is because malware is clever; it can look harmless at one point and morph into something dangerous at a later time. And as we all know, malicious actors are persistent and will try relentlessly to sneak malware onto your environment.

For these reasons, an effective endpoint protection platform needs to leverage advanced anti-malware capabilities such as:

  • Machine learning: Machine learning capabilities allow an EPP to leverage large-scale data to determine the true malicious nature of files.
  • Threat intelligence: Expansive threat intelligence allows an EPP to leverage both historical and real-time data from billions of threats to automatically block known attacks.
  • Sandboxing: Sandboxing allows an EPP to isolate suspect files in a safe environment. Within this environment, the EPP can safely detonate and monitor the nature of the files without risking detriment to the rest of the system.

Even with all these capabilities, no endpoint protection platform can guarantee 100 percent efficacy. That is why a traditional antivirus solution cannot provide sufficient endpoint security. A true next-generation endpoint security solution combines endpoint protection platform capabilities with EDR capabilities.