The old adage once again proves true; a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Your corporation’s networks security is only as strong as its most vulnerable asset. Ensuring a comprehensive security strategy is essential to having a protected corporate infrastructure. Are you aware of your weakest link? According to Lou Bolanis, networking specialist and writer for Toolbox, most corporations weakest link is their endpoints. Many network security specialists spend weeks, months and years configuring a strong ‘wall’ of security with an intensively protected outer perimeter. However, very little attention is paid to all of the devices that connect to the network – endpoints. This inattention may cause a significant loss of essential data.
What is an Endpoint?
An endpoint is any piece of hardware or software that can connect to your network, obtain an IP address and transmit data through the network. This means that an endpoint can take on a plethora of forms. Below are common examples of corporate endpoints:
- Desktop computers
- Networking appliances
- Data torage units
Bolanis clarifies that each connection to the network is what dictates an endpoint. For example, while some may consider a laptop a single endpoint, Bolanis points out that it is actually dozens of endpoints. It likely contains networking cards and software capable of connecting to the network. Securing each one of these endpoints within the laptop is essential for total network security.
What is Endpoint Security?
In the early days of network security, there were very few options available for securing endpoints within a network. Fortunately, modern technology has provided a plethora of options for endpoint protection. This protection may take the form of a software suite designed to secure each endpoint, or it may even be a stand-alone appliance that controls every device that requests access to the corporate network.
Most endpoint security systems consist of a dedicated program that can be centrally managed by the IT department. When an employee attempts to connect to the corporate network, the endpoint security program will validate their credentials. Additionally, it will scan the device to ensure it does not contain any potentially hazardous information. This software can also be individually configured for your corporate security policies and can ensure that any new connections abide by these policies. If a device does not comply with your policies it may be given limited access, quarantined on a virtual LAN or simply denied access.
Endpoint security began with the early days of personal firewalls and anti-virus software. Over time, software was developed that was capable of publishing updates to this software and even monitoring its use. As technology has evolved, endpoint security now commonly includes intrusion detection, cloud protection and mobile device management software.
Reinforce Your Weakest Link
With the increasing popularity of bring your own device policies, endpoint security is more important than ever. A single device can introduce malware to the entire network. It is essential that you invest in advanced endpoint security to guarantee the continued security of your network. As technology evolves, your system will also need to grow and adapt.