The structure of organisations is changing. The digitisation of the workspace means globally distributed teams can now coordinate remotely and efficiently. But, in response, the size, diversity and capabilities of networks have had to evolve. Endpoint security is now in the spotlight. Endpoint security involves the security mechanisms and procedures in place at network endpoints, such as a workstation, computer, laptop, or mobile device, to mitigate risk and protect other parts of the network.
An endpoint of the network can – if the correct security isn’t in place – become a starting point for attackers to gain access into the network. This can be through the compromise of sensitive employee information, such as access details, the propagation of fraudulent emails sent across the organisation’s email network, IoT or insider threats.
Solutions for endpoint security
If you’re a network manager, it’s likely endpoint security is on your mind: that which we have the least control over will always cause us the most worry. Gone are the days of networks housed under a single roof. Corporate networks are now fluid, dynamic and disparately located, involving a far broader range of devices; monitoring each endpoint individually is, if not impossible, impractical and inefficient.
Luckily, the solutions available have evolved beyond antiviruses and firewalls (these are useful and should form part of any endpoint security strategy, but lack effective monitoring and detection capabilities). Endpoint security solutions include:
- Endpoint encryption
- Network access control (NAC)
- Endpoint threat detection and response
- Data classification
- User control
Focusing on individuals and their devices is the key to modern network security. But it’s not as simple as deploying an agent on every endpoint; this would be expensive, require every employee to have some knowledge of network security, and the requisite software is unlikely to be supported by all connected devices. In other words, it’d cause more problems than solve.
The challenges of endpoint security begin with a lack of visibility. These are devices over which you have the least control and insight; they’re connected to your network, but are difficult to view as part of your network. Additional challenges that result from this are lack of PC management (not all devices will share the same configuration), lack of automation (employees performing tasks in a manual, non-uniform way) and a lack of assurance that best-practice security policies are followed.
Locking down endpoint security with best practice and Plixer
Awareness and visibility are key – to be able to see what is happening and where it’s happening, and ensure endpoints don’t become vulnerabilities. To begin with, best-practice policies that specifically address endpoint security should be introduced. These include educating employees, instructing them to keep systems updated, introducing awareness-dependent access (to determine whether a device is connecting from inside or outside the network, and with what connection) and privileging access based on device requirements.
Each of these will help, but not solve the problem. Visibility and auditability are required. A network manager must be able to see whether a device is up to date – not only trust that it is. To lock down endpoint security, look to Plixer: a monitoring and analysis platform that enables network managers to gain insight into the entire network, from servers to endpoints and all data traffic in between. Plixer provides complete network visibility without the need for agents, with the tools network managers need to manage and monitor endpoints and gather context-rich data to mitigate security threats.
For more information on Plixer and how it can help you lock down your endpoints and better secure your network, contact us today.