Next-gen endpoint protection integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into network and device security solutions to better protect against cyber threats. It is next-level or more advanced security that not only detects and blocks known threats or malicious files, webpage links, and emails that have been flagged as harmful to systems. It also identifies and prevents suspicious communications similar to those made by malicious entities from reaching networks and computers.

As such, next-gen endpoint protection provides much better security than traditional cybersecurity solutions.

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Next-gen endpoint protection came about because cybersecurity experts believe traditional security solutions are no longer effective. A new cyber attack happens every 39 seconds. That means new malicious files, page links, and emails, and traditional solutions may not be able to keep up.

Why Did Next-Gen Endpoint Protection Replace Traditional Security?

There are various reasons for the shift to next-gen endpoint protection, including:

  • The threat volume continues to grow exponentially. The number of attacks, in fact, increased by 31% from 2020 to 2021. Antimalware providers can’t create that many threat signatures that identify malicious files, links, and emails daily.
  • Security solution providers can’t update their products each time new malicious files, links, and emails are identified without AI or ML’s help.
  • Given the rapid growth in threat volume daily, no antimalware can compare suspicious files with all signatures at the same rate. It would use up any device’s resources and cause it to freeze.
  • Traditional antimalware solutions can’t detect zero-day vulnerabilities or those that have yet to get patches. Attackers can exploit these before solutions can be made.
  • Attacks like spear phishing, where threat actors craft custom malware for a specific target, can’t get detected by traditional security solutions. But next-gen endpoint protection can detect if they have similarities with known threats and thwart them.
  • As hackers devise more advanced means to reach their targets, so should security providers. Next-gen endpoint protection is a possible answer.

How Does Next-Gen Endpoint Protection Work?

Next-gen endpoint protection involves four steps that happen simultaneously in an automated manner, thanks to AI and ML.

  • Prediction: Next-gen endpoint protection solutions take note of not just malware hashes (malicious file identifiers), malicious Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) (malicious page links), and threat actors’ email addresses for threat detection and blocking. They also record malicious behaviors, allowing them to identify and block suspicious files, URLs, and emails so these can’t cause problems should they turn out to be malware.
  • Protection/Prevention: Next-gen endpoint protection solutions continuously update themselves with new information about known threats. That allows them to prevent attacks and protect against intrusions despite the lack of existing signatures.
  • Remediation: Next-gen endpoint protection solutions’ constantly updated list of malicious and suspicious files, links, and email addresses keeps networks and computers secure. They prevent harmful and potentially dangerous threat vectors or entry points from getting accessed.
  • Detection: Next-gen endpoint protection solutions detect threats, both known and unknown, in real-time. The list of harmful files, links, and email addresses, typically hosted in the cloud, feeds the data to the solutions installed on user systems as soon as it becomes available, enabling immediate threat detection and response.

The image below depicts how next-gen endpoint protection works.

Next-Gen Endpoint Protection

What Are the Features of Next-Gen Endpoint Protection?

Given how next-gen endpoint protection works above, solutions typically have the following features:

  • Automated detection and response (ADR) to thwart threats and execute remediation steps automatically
  • Behavioral analysis to identify suspicious files based on behavioral deviations or anomalies, or similarities with known threats
  • Threat intelligence is processed using AI and ML algorithms to determine if a file, link, or email address is malicious
  • Ransomware protection, which records file and system changes so systems can be restored to their original state in the event of an infection
  • Forensics capable of replaying attacks to help security team members mitigate future breaches faster
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR) to continuously monitor systems for advanced threat mitigation

Next-gen endpoint protection is simply next-level security for systems and networks against today’s ever-evolving and ever-growing volume of threats.