Don’t let your endpoint become an entry point for cyber attacks

Focus on automation and visibility to manage, protect and secure your endpoint landscape

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The con­sumer­iza­tion of IT, the explo­sion of the mobile work force and, more recent­ly, the Inter­net of Things are just a few trends that have emerged over the past decade that con­tin­ue to rede­fine what an end­point is and increase the num­ber of devices an enter­prise IT pro needs to man­age and secure.

It used to be that an IT team work­ing at a com­pa­ny of 200 peo­ple sim­ply had 200 of the same com­put­ers run­ning on the same oper­at­ing sys­tem to wor­ry about. Now, employ­ees are giv­en more choice and flex­i­bil­i­ty than ever to do their work, using a com­bi­na­tion of two or three devices with access to sen­si­tive com­pa­ny data both on and off the cor­po­rate net­work from vir­tu­al­ly any loca­tion of their choosing.

In fact, Gart­ner esti­mates that in 2017, 2.3 bil­lion PCs, tablets and mobile phones will be shipped world­wide, while 8.4 bil­lion con­nect­ed devices will be in use, all of which undoubt­ed­ly pose their own threats to cor­po­rate networks.
But while the def­i­n­i­tion and vol­ume of end­points have changed (and con­tin­ue to change) over time, the fun­da­men­tals of man­ag­ing, pro­tect­ing and secur­ing those end­points have not. Let’s explore these fun­da­men­tals and how keep­ing them in check can help today’s IT pro­fes­sion­al pre­vent the end­point from being the data breach entry point.

Gain cen­tral­ized visibility

 The first end­point secu­ri­ty fun­da­men­tal I’d like to explore is gain­ing vis­i­bil­i­ty. To put it sim­ply, you can’t secure what you can’t see. This was true for the IT pro man­ag­ing 200 PCs—back when end­point man­age­ment was sim­ply “desk­top management”—and remains true today.

The chal­lenge for today’s IT pro lies in gain­ing cen­tral­ized vis­i­bil­i­ty giv­en the sheer vol­ume of devices and range of devices that need to be secured. To help, IT pros should look for solu­tions that allow a sin­gle mem­ber of the team to visu­al­ize the entire end­point environment—from a stan­dard fleet of Win­dows desk­tops or Mac­Books to Chrome­books and smart­phones, and even routers and switches—through a sin­gle, inte­grat­ed con­sole. This sort of com­pre­hen­sive vis­i­bil­i­ty of all net­work-con­nect­ed devices can help IT and secu­ri­ty pros quick­ly iden­ti­fy weak end­points, like a device that has not been updat­ed with the two-fac­tor authen­ti­ca­tion require­ment, and act accord­ing­ly to pre­vent open­ing the door to hack­ers or mali­cious software.

 Auto­mate what you can

One of the most pow­er­ful capa­bil­i­ties busi­ness­es of all sizes can take advan­tage of is secu­ri­ty automa­tion. Back in the 1:1 desk­top-to-end-user ratio days, an IT pro would have to phys­i­cal­ly go from desk to desk to man­u­al­ly pro­vi­sion, con­fig­ure, secure and update each com­put­er. With the advent of desk­top man­age­ment, IT pros were able to start push­ing these updates remote­ly to save them­selves time and their busi­ness­es mon­ey, allow­ing them to focus on more strate­gic IT initiatives.

Today, there are even more sophis­ti­cat­ed lev­els of automa­tion when it comes to end­point man­age­ment that can save time and pre­vent attacks. Best-of-breed solu­tions can now scan all devices and iden­ti­fy secu­ri­ty vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties like inse­cure con­fig­u­ra­tions and out-of-date soft­ware. Update and patch sched­ul­ing can be auto­mat­i­cal­ly deployed from a cen­tral man­age­ment con­sole to all end­points on your net­work, ensur­ing all devices are equal­ly secure, with no weak points for mal­ware to exploit. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful in avoid­ing threats like Lay­er 7 DDoS attacks, which are among the most dif­fi­cult attacks to mit­i­gate due to their repli­ca­tion of nor­mal user behavior.

Cor­ralling your business’s end­points can seem like a daunt­ing task, but it doesn’t have to be. Remem­ber that vis­i­bil­i­ty and automa­tion have been and always will be your friends, and you’ll be on the fast track to get­ting your las­so around the Wild West of end­point management.

More sto­ries relat­ed to device and end­point security:
As mobile mal­ware ratch­ets up, com­pa­nies need bet­ter secu­ri­ty for end-users’ devices
New secu­ri­ty ques­tions arise as busi­ness­es strug­gle to con­trol BYOD
Con­ve­nience of mobile com­put­ing engen­ders risk