There is no one-size-fits-all approach to endpoint security, a space that has become inundated with products competing to solve a problem that has challenged businesses for years.
The last three to four years have driven the emergence of new options and ways of looking at endpoint security technology, says Mike Spanbauer, vice president of strategy at NSS labs. All of these tools rely on different features; all are suited for different strategies.
It's up to businesses to determine which tools are best to meet their needs based on their distinct approach to endpoint security.
"There is no such thing as perfect," Spanbauer says of choosing a tool. "This is one security control, in your grand security architecture, that must be complemented by a lot of secure technologies."
Securing the desktops within any organization, whether it's a large enterprise or SMB, comes with challenges. For businesses working to update their strategies, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Prioritize your needs
To update an endpoint security strategy and pick the tools to support it, you need to determine your use cases, says Spanbauer. This will fall to the team who manages security tools and is responsible for handling the forensic parts of incident response.
"The teams with products that need to be supported will dictate which features really matter," he explains. For SMBs without dedicated incident response teams, he recommends developing more resilient backup processes in case of an attack.
Use cases for endpoint tech will also vary depending on your organization's data center and its data services, ports, protocols, architectures, and applications.
As businesses incorporate devices connected to the IoT, they will need to be increasingly aware of their larger attack surface, prioritize services and assets that need to be protected, and know where they are located.
Determine how to collaborate
On a broader level, it's important to establish a good working relationship with other data-conscious groups within the organization. Desktop support, for example, is an important collaborator for security teams.
While sometimes there can be contention among groups, Spanbauer acknowledges the importance of recognizing you're all on the same team. This means regular, dedicated interactions. He also advises building a workflow process so everyone knows how to partner with one another in the event of an emergency.
Have a backup plan
Even businesses taking all the right steps can suffer a breach. When they do, it's important to have their data backed up.
"Most enterprises have a backup" strategy" says Spanbauer. "I just don't believe it's strictly enforced."
He also emphasizes enforcing endpoint security practices; for example, logging out of administrative accounts for basic productivity that doesn't require administrative control. It's a simple step that could make a big difference: if you click a malicious Office attachment as an admin, you could accidentally give a hacker access to conduct a more sinister attack.
"It's convenient, it's easy, but as a best practice you shouldn't be writing Word documents or emails as an admin on your machine," he continues. "You have access to those apps without [administrative control]."
[Mike Spanbauer will be speaking about endpoint security strategy as part of his session "Updating Your Endpoint Security Strategy: Is the Endpoint a New Breed, Unicorn, or Endangered Species?" during Interop ITX, May 15-19, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. To learn more about his presentation, other Interop security tracks, or to register click on the live links.]