What’s the Difference Between Endpoint Antivirus and Endpoint Security Software?

What’s the Difference Between Endpoint Antivirus and Endpoint Security Software?

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If you type the above question into Google, you may find yourself quickly getting frustrated at the lack of agreement. The only honest answer to the question about the difference between endpoint antivirus and endpoint security is that it depends on who you ask. Read on as we highlight the three most common interpretations to this cybersecurity identity crisis.

Interpretation 1: Endpoint and Antivirus are one and the same

Many treat the terms “endpoint antivirus” and “endpoint security” as one and the same, describing solutions that focus on protecting endpoints in a network from malware attacks.  Since more and more malware are targeting different types of endpoints, it makes sense that more than one term would emerge to describe the same types of solutions.

Interpretation 2: Endpoint Antivirus doesn’t really exist

Others create a firm divide between antivirus and endpoint protection and ignore the term “endpoint antivirus” entirely. Most businesses have varied technology stacks that run some combination of Windows, Linux, AIX, and/or IBM i. While it’s typical to see Windows workstations with antivirus software installed, this does not take other endpoints like servers into consideration. Endpoint management approaches security with a holistic view that goes beyond Windows workstation scanning to protect other endpoints with different platforms against viruses, worms, and malware threats.

In this interpretation, antivirus solutions are categorized as ones that exist solely on individual workstations, while endpoint security solutions take on the burden of every endpoint, from workstations to servers, ensuring the corporate network and critical systems are safeguarded from malware.

Interpretation 3: Endpoint and Antivirus are two separate entities

Finally, some classify endpoint antivirus and endpoint security as completely separate solutions. Endpoint antivirus solutions are those that have been discussed above – protection from intrusive entities that target your servers and other things on your network.

Endpoint security, on the other hand, represents a much broader spectrum of solutions. Instead of focusing solely on antivirus, endpoint security represents an entire portfolio of security products, of which antivirus is only a piece. This portfolio could include solutions like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software, which provide helpful insights into and analysis of potential security threats. Additionally, it may contain a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution, which protects against insider threats by carefully controlling privileged accounts. This definition of endpoint security leaves its full meaning largely up to an organization, and what they want their security environment to look like.

Something to agree on

Malware attacks are on the rise, with new viruses and other types of malware coming out almost daily. Just last week, experts discovered a “2018 ransomware pack” being sold on the dark web. In addition to detailed instructions and tutorials about deployment, it also includes 23 pieces of file-encrypting malware used to blackmail organizations into paying to unlock their own data.

While answers vary on these two terms, the universal truth that everyone can acknowledge is that endpoint protection is a critical component of any organization’s security environment. Endpoint antivirus solutions like Powertech Antivirus protect organizations from attacks by detecting and removing threats, as well as anticipating new or mutating virus using advanced analytics. Other cybersecurity solutions, like SIEMs or policy managers, bolster security further by focusing on event prioritization and closing gaps with consistent configuration. Though some may bicker over jargon, everyone can agree that endpoint solutions will remain a security priority for years to come.  


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