Securing the Endpoint

Endpoint security is an approach to network protection that requires each computing device on a corporate network to comply with certain standards before network access is granted. But with hackers and cybercriminals finding increasingly sophisticated ways to exploit the vulnerability of networks, how can solution providers help their clients to protect the endpoints?

Tags: Kaspersky LabSystems integratorTrend Micro IncorporatedWestcon Group Incorporation
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Securing the Endpoint
By  Piers Ford Published  July 31, 2015

These are testing times for enterprise security professionals. Hackers and cybercriminals are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to exploit the vulnerability of networks that are in constant danger of being compromised by the same mobility that brings such flexibility and innovation to the business. Threats have multiplied, and endpoint security is more important than ever.

The rise of BYOD is one of the most significant factors in this rapidly changing market, and with today’s hybrid enterprise computing environments typically embracing a hybrid mix of public and private communications channels, and cloud services, the very concept of a secure enterprise network has changed radically in the last decade or so.

“Of course, BYOD is changing corporate security and creates issues that IT administrators should cope with, including unauthorised access to corporate data via mobile phones, device loss, mobile malware and IT management complexity,” said Ovanes Mikhaylov, managing director in the Middle East at Kaspersky Lab.

“The threat landscape can be characterised by malware sophistication and commercialisation, organisations being compromised via professional social networks, and cybercriminals widely using vulnerabilities in software and social engineering.

“More recently, we’ve seen the development of targeted attacks on organisations. Such complex campaigns, designed for cyber-espionage or sabotage, use stealthy and sophisticated techniques which require a complex approach to cyber security, making sure the whole IT infrastructure – including endpoints – is protected, as well as easily managed and monitored by IT specialists.”

Mohamed Djenane, security specialist at ESET Middle East, said BYOD has created a host of new opportunities for hackers to target organisations – not least because end users don’t understand how actions they take for granted could jeopardise the security of company information in a mobile environment.

“For example, on the Android platform, when downloading an application the user must agree to several permissions,” he said. “They are often unaware of the implications of these and simply accept the conditions. But this could permit leaking of data beyond the app’s primary function.

“I think that today, businesses are well aware that despite having the very best enterprise security solutions in place, a large number of data leaks can be traced back to human error and internal causes. Businesses place equal emphasis on technologies and features that protect the endpoint. This is why endpoint protection vendors like us have seen significant growth in recent years.

“Also, now that mobile endpoints are being used for business purposes beyond just accessing emails, organisations are turning to us to provide them with endpoint security solutions for their employees’ mobile devices.”

Ihab Moawad, head of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa region at another security specialist Trend Micro, said network security is effectively under siege.

“It’s no understatement to say that security teams have never been as stretched as they are today, often having to manage various security tools from multiple management interfaces,” he said. “They face a resilient, well-resourced and determined enemy, drawn to cybercrime by the high-reward, low-risk spoils. Cyber criminals today can easily find on underground internet forums inexpensive tools they need to launch automate attacks. For a few hundred dollars and with not much expertise, they can reap an impressive ROI for their endeavours.”

According to Moawad, it is difficult for traditional security tools to spot the more advanced, targeted attacks and APTs, which can sit undetected in the network, siphoning off sensitive customer data or IP for sale on the black market or for a nation state. It’s a bleak picture for the customer but for the security reseller, a golden opportunity.

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