Endpoint security vs. network security: Why both matter

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When it comes to developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, no single architecture type or product can protect against all threats. Instead, an assortment of security tools must be deployed — many of which will have overlapping capabilities. This is known as a defense-in-depth strategy.

Case in point: endpoint security vs. network security. Each set of tools identifies and provides alerts on similar threats for its intended coverage area, and each offers advantages and disadvantages depending on the use case. And, while their capabilities overlap, they both contribute to a defense-in-depth security program.

Let’s look at why enterprise IT departments often deploy endpoint and network security in tandem, as well as how the technologies work together to better protect users, data and assets from cybercriminals.

Endpoint security vs. network security: Architectural differences

As their names imply, endpoint security is deployed and operated directly on endpoints, while network security tools protect against threats traversing the corporate network. Ideally, network security products will find, block and alert on threats prior to them reaching endpoints connected to the corporate network. Endpoint security products often serve as the last line of defense against threats seeking to compromise end devices, such as desktops, servers, mobile devices and IoT devices.

Network security tools vary widely and often are purpose-built for a specific type of threat or to protect certain corporate network assets. For example, a network firewall monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic between trusted and untrusted networks. Traffic is permitted or denied based on administrator-configured rules. A secure web gateway (SWG) also monitors traffic as it traverses networks. It differs from a traditional firewall in that it only focuses on permitting or denying web-based traffic. An SWG can be configured to be far more granular with its web-focused security policies compared to a traditional firewall.

Endpoint security products also vary widely. A software-based firewall, for example, permits or denies traffic on the specific device it is installed on. Traditional endpoint…