Securing the end point

Endpoint Security – an approach to network protection that requires any device on a corporate network to comply with specific standards before access is given – has come into its own in the increasingly complex infrastructure of the 21st-century enterprise.

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Securing the end point
By  Piers Ford Published  March 24, 2014

Endpoint Security – an approach to network protection that requires any device on a corporate network to comply with specific standards before access is given – has come into its own in the increasingly complex infrastructure of the 21st-century enterprise.

With the growing strategic acceptance of BYOD, the ability to manage a diverse set of endpoints centrally, including firewall and anti-virus software updates, has a strong appeal for hard-pressed security and network managers.

“Endpoint security offers the last level of defence against cyber-attacks by providing security and data protection to end users,” said Sébastien Pavie, regional sales director, MEA at data protection specialist SafeNet.

According to Gartner the global market for consumer security software reached $4.89bn in 2102, matched by an enterprise endpoint protection platform market worth £3.17bn – suggesting a healthy appetite for ICT security management products, and a lively market place for the channel.

“In the Middle East, as employees become more mobile, the need for endpoint security is increasing as well,” said Pavie. “The security appliance market recorded year-on-year growth in MEA in both customer revenue and shipments during the second quarter of 2013, according to IDC. As enterprises start to see more advanced threats, security is one of the most significant emerging segments of the IT sector.”

The enterprise network today no longer sits within four secure walls, agreed Osama Al-Zoubi, country lead and senior SE manager at Cisco KSA. Today’s employees demand access to enterprise resources via more media than ever – personal laptops from their home networks, tablets and smartphones.

“Mobility is a real game-changer, and enterprise networks need to grant access to this mobile workforce to keep employees productive,” said Al-Zoubi. “However, the shadow of security threats, data breaches and the subsequent effects on the company still looms large.”

Al-Zoubi said distributed security point solutions are increasingly unsustainable, given current enterprise computing trends.

“Maintaining network security and operational efficiency in today’s distributed enterprise networks demands new technology that takes a more holistic approach to network access security,” he said.

“The appeal of virtual desktops is definitely growing, with businesses and organisations increasingly moving towards an endpoint where all intelligence, operating systems and applications are running in the data centre. This requires centralised security solutions and results in significant cost reductions, ease of operation and unified security policies.”

Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) is an example of the next-generation of identity and access control policy platforms that are emerging to help enterprises to enforce compliance, enhance infrastructure security and streamline service operations – an area that represents a major opportunity for VARs and systems integrators, particularly at the SME end of the market.

“We don’t believe that security is merely a transactional, commodity offering, as each enterprise requires its own custom-designed set off security policies and technology to ensure information is managed both securely and efficiently,” said George Galica, head of business solutions at Vodafone Qatar.

“Just like with any security product, a certain level of specialisation is required for an effective implementation. For resellers, the biggest opportunities lie in the SME channel.

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