19 Jun 2017

Cyber-security: Endpoint security

As companies look to make core business data more accessible to staff, regardless of where they are, and on what device or network, so too they are making themselves more vulnerable to attack by increasing the number of points on their network for infiltrations to occur.

It’s now estimated the average worker can have up to three or four devices connected to the corporate network at any one time.

At the same time, staff are increasingly making ‘unauthorised’ technology decisions, such as downloading mobile apps and other cloud-based tools, which are cheap and easy to procure.

And this isn’t just a problem for big firms- mid-market organisations are no less vulnerable, and should insist on technologies that provide the best possible protection.

Crippled operations, heavy fines and brand damage

In addition to having business operations severely disrupted, heavy fines for privacy breaches and failures to disclose, as well as reputational and brand damage can be devastating for companies.

The cost of true cyber security is eternal vigilance. As soon as one threat is blocked, more vulnerabilities appear, meaning it’s a constantly moving target which requires true 24/7 monitoring, 365-days a year.

This includes managing critical functions such as software upgrades and patch management for all workstations – local and remote – across the organisation, as well as keeping track of mobile devices.

Meanwhile, trends like the Internet of things (IoT), despite promising improved efficiencies, will create still more endpoints potentially exposing companies to more risks.

It’s therefore essential that companies have a ‘centralised management console’ to gain a complete view of their entire technology ecosystem.

Trying to carry out such a roster of activities separately and / or across different administrators and departments would be like herding cats; something that more mid-market companies are discovering as their operations become more digitized and dispersed across remote locations and mobile devices.

Key lessons from WannaCry

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack highlighted the important role that systems management plays in protecting companies from cyber-attacks.

This virus infiltrated computers via a recently-patched vulnerability in Windows XP (2008 R2) that exposed Windows SMB (Server Message Block versions 1 and 2) file sharing services (MS17-010). The ‘vector’ was a leaked exploit (known as EternalBlue) originally developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

As we all witnessed, several large organisations – including Britain’s NHS – were crippled by the virus, which managed to infect more-than 200,000 computers in over 150 countries, including several in Australia.

How to Keep your business protected

Having proper end-point security depends on getting the right combination of best-practice technologies and solutions. They also need to be up-to-date, integrating with both heuristic and signature-based alert systems, working seamlessly across cloud, on-premise and hybrid environments.

Talk to one of our security experts today about how we can help protect your organisation from criminals that would do it harm.

 Meanwhile, look out for our next article in the series on ‘Unified Threat Management’.

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