With employees having access to a variety of devices both in the office and when they are working remotely, it’s more important than ever that companies protect themselves from potential risks and unauthorised access attacks. One way to boost your organisation’s data security is through the implementation of effective endpoint security management.
Managing endpoint security is a critical security vector for the whole organisation. Endpoint management is a comprehensive security and management architecture that will help your business support a multi-OS environment that allows employees to use their preferred devices when accessing corporate data, while meeting critical security and compliance requirements.
There are numerous factors that determine the success and cost of endpoint management. Organisations need to consider all aspects of 'costs' when considering potential solutions, such as up-front costs, training, efficacy, ease of use and ongoing maintenance costs.
Research by the SANS Institute found that organisational size and complexity, based on the number of operating systems in use, must be considered when organisations choose endpoint management tools. Size and complexity also relate to the lack of visibility into endpoints and security risks, with 33% of companies taking more than two days to detect security incidents. The lengthy time needed for applying patches is a concern, particularly for servers, because server-side vulnerabilities are often exploited for initial attacks.
Managing Organisational Complexities
Wide-scale endpoint management involves having several servers dedicated solely to endpoint management, distributed throughout the enterprise, with the number of servers depending on the size of the enterprise. There is also a significant number of tools to deal with, which could cause potential slowdowns within the endpoint management process. Ability to effectively manage endpoints becomes more important, as response delays and other inefficiencies increase both resource and speed costs.
Establishing and maintaining multiple servers and tools require significant financial outlay to acquire the necessary hardware and software. Servers require administrators and tools need someone to run them effectively and keep them updated.
Finding the Right People for the Job
Not all companies have designated staff assigned to patching and endpoint configuration and control. These responsibilities are often unevenly divided between IT and security, with IT often handling more endpoint management roles.
Building efficient IT and security operations teams requires money, more experienced and larger teams mean more outlay. However, correct resource allocation, tooling and team diversity can help your business keep costs down and still provide value to your organisation.
Assessing Different Endpoint Management Tools
When it comes to endpoint management, it’s important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of using open source and commercial software. Common mistake is to look at the initial price of a tool, thinking it’s the complete cost. But costs can grow quickly, with ongoing maintenance and upgrades likely to be needed.
Commercial tools typically have a higher initial cost, but they come with support teams that will assist with the implementation and troubleshooting. Open source tools have fewer initial costs or can even be acquired for free, but may not provide adequate support and documentation, potentially requiring significant IT investment.
Using Automated Tools to Make the Job Faster
Using integrated, automated tools can aid in the endpoint management of large-scale organisations or assist smaller organisations with multiple platforms. In the context of endpoint management, “integrated” and “automated” typically refer to systems that are part of a larger IT infrastructure. For example, endpoint telemetry is being collected and analysed automatically by existing tools, which are alerting for anomalies and areas of concern. In these situations, administrators only have to deal with anomalies, rather than collecting data themselves.
Automated and integrated systems often require investment to integrate within the environment. Additionally, these tools may require capital outlay, specialised training or engineers on hand.
How Endpoint Security Management Can Contribute to Enterprise Harmony
Larger workforce, more endpoints and multiple operating systems in place can evidently turn asset management into a challenge. The true value of endpoint management can be assessed when we think of it as a tool for enterprise information security. Each area of complexity usually presents an area of concern for the security team. When combined with a manageable number of tools and automated, integrated solutions, well-implemented endpoint management can give your security team a peace of mind.
Make sure you avoid tool overload and give your teams the right tools, training and support they need to effectively manage and secure your environment. If your team is not seeing improvements in data reported or faster response times to endpoint issues, try a different tool that may work better for your company.
Having effective endpoint management in place will allow you to avoid lost revenue, compromised data or inadequate compliance due to security breaches. It will also help you keeping the trust of your customers and avoid damage to your organisation’s reputation for years to come.