Decades ago, discussions about securing the enterprise were limited to the almost benign topics of virus tainted email attachments and the benefits of power-on passwords. Today, the landscape has morphed into a virtual minefield of potential vulnerabilities, thanks in part to the endpoint devices that connect organizations to the Internet.
Endpoint devices include everything from computers and servers to routers and switches – each an attractive gateway for possible intruders.
Let’s examine the top endpoint threats:
- Non-compliant endpoints – Policies have been written. Tools procured and installed. Yet for a myriad of reasons, Microsoft or other system software service packs and hotfixes haven’t been applied. Known vulnerabilities are exploited, intruders gain access.
- Antivirus Issues – Antivirus software vendors update signatures, often daily, yet users or admins may have disabled the software. In addition, updated software versions may not have been applied and scheduled scans, if not forced, can be stopped, delaying virus identification and eradication.
- 3rd party agents – Many organizations are forced to use multiple solutions for endpoint security. But this complexity can lead to gaps in policy application and software conflicts that cause work stoppage or interruption. Administrators disable services, so that work can continue.
- Peer to Peer applications – Threats from the Internet represent some of the most difficult to police. Peer applications like music sharing websites, and Bit-Torrent downloads initiated internally, allow outside threats a clear path to corporate networks.
- Mobile Computing & Smartphones – Today’s workers are mobile, traveling, telecommuting and visiting clients. Smartphones are essentially tiny computers, subject to the same attacks as desktops. The same security tools used internally must be applied to mobile devices.
Experts agree that an integrated approach to endpoint security is the best way to reduce threat exposure. Integrated solutions combine the best of breed of both virus/malware and network access control under one management interface.
The benefits are reduced costs and resource utilization, simplification and the reduction of software/hardware conflicts.
This guest post was provided by Veronica Henry on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. More information about GFI can be found at www.gfi.com .
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.