Today’s business access to information is dramatically different from that of even a couple of decades ago. Now, it is much more likely that managers, corporate executives, sales reps and other staff are accessing data from mobile devices that simply didn’t exist years ago.
The original need for computer network security was much simpler for security specialists. Data network security meant securing a LAN with hard wired computers that were all based within a physical boundary.
Now, with the use of mobile phones, tablets, laptops and even new wearable devices with internet access the need for cyber security is more relevant than ever. It is also much more challenging to develop a network security solution that addresses all potential vulnerabilities and risks of breaches given the variety of devices, operating systems and security features that may or may not be present on any given device.
The result is a need for a comprehensive approach to endpoint protection. Endpoints are all those devices that allow your staff and executives to access data on your systems. Unfortunately, many traditional types of cyber security management systems involve blocking or limiting access to data from specific endpoints, which defeats the purpose of having the option and benefit of mobility.
There are several different options when it comes to developing information technology security to be practical, effective and efficient. The different options may work better for specific types of endpoint use requirements and with different network setups.
Does Your Business Need Protection?
Not all businesses require endpoint security management, although the number of these businesses is dwindling rapidly. As a general guideline, stop and consider how you and your staff access your data.
If you use any type of mobile devices to access your system and data, including to check business emails, voicemail’s stored on your system or access cloud data or databases on the network, having endpoint security should be a priority. The same is true if people in your workplace use custom or general apps to connect to your business systems and data.
Without an endpoint security system in place, the weakest element in the chain of information is the endpoint device. Imagine an employee using his or her smartphone to access your system. At the same time, on their personal or business email on the same device, they also access an email from a hacker, cleverly disguised to look harmless or as if it was from a trusted source.
If the employee clicks on a link in the email (and why wouldn’t he or she if it looks as if it is a trusted source), malware can be downloaded to the device. This will then provide the hacker with passwords and the means to infiltrate the entire system. It will not show as a hacking attempt since it is from a recognized device and user.
Finally, it is also possible if your employees or business model uses some third-party software, apps or cloud-based solutions that the risk of security breaches from the device are much higher. Adding to the problem is the risk that an employee simply leaves an app or a program logged on and loses their device, has it stolen or even leaves it unattended and others are able to gain access to your system.
Do You Use Antivirus Programs?
One of the simplest and most basic ways to provide protection is to use an anti-virus program on all devices on the system. This should be an antivirus program that offers superior IT network security and that is selected by someone with more than a rudimentary understanding of information technology security options.
Some of the most commonly used antivirus programs have a lot of potential vulnerabilities and may not work on all types of devices. Talking to IT security professionals on your staff or working with a consultant will be essential.
Have a Policy in Place
To save costs, many businesses, particularly small businesses, and startup companies use BYOD or Bring Your Own Device programs. This is cost saving for the company as you don’t have to purchase smartphones, tablets or laptops. On the other hand, it offers no consistency with firewall security or antivirus security, potential creating very vulnerable endpoints.
If you are using BYOD, have all devices registered through your IT department and ensure they are fully upgraded to the latest security for the specific operating system. Also, verify that the selecting antivirus program is installed and operating on the device in written company policies.
Many companies also have limits or restrictions on the installation of specific types of apps or software on the device, especially if they are known to have security vulnerabilities.
Reviewing this policy as well as monitoring the devices and ensuring all security upgrades are installed can be a challenge. Using a software approach to information network security at endpoints can be an easier option, particularly with large companies with hundreds of thousands of devices as well as BYOD policies.
This software can be designed to isolate and block all non-trusted apps and processes with a specialized environment. Think of it as a quarantine area in the system to avoid the risk of the malware or potential malware accessing critical programs and data.