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Endpoints More At Risk Than Ever, Study Says

Threat of malware, application vulnerabilities continues to increase, Ponemon finds
Enterprises are spending more money on security, but the risk to their endpoints remains at an all-time high, according to a study published this week.

According to the State of Endpoint Risk survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by security vendor Lumension, 48 percent of respondents report an increase in IT operating expenses -- and the growth of malware is a primary driver behind that expenditure, according to 59 percent of those respondents.

Yet, despite the investment, most enterprises still feel their endpoints are at risk.

Most respondents do not actively manage the applications that live on their networks, according to the study. One-third of respondents admit to putting absolutely no restrictions on which applications run on their network; another one-third employ application policies, but do not actively enforce them.

Third-party applications outside of Microsoft are the biggest concern for IT professionals, cited by 58 percent of respondents. Adobe (54 percent) and Google Docs (46 percent) also were of major concern. Preventing applications from being installed (55 percent) or executed (47 percent) on the endpoint are top challenges for IT security managers.

Although respondents felt that current technologies for mitigating these problems were effective, not all enterprises have deployed them. Vulnerability assessment (used by 51 percent, but considered effective by 70 percent) and application whitelisting (used by only 29 percent, but considered effective by 44 percent) were two of the technologies that showed a strong disparity between perception and deployment.

The majority of respondents (64 percent) acknowledged that their networks are not more secure than last year.

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