(Live-Hacking.Com) – Data leakage occurs when data that should have never left the physical confines of your company’s brick and mortar walls does, and control of that data is lost. One of the main reasons why this could happen is because companies lack endpoint protection. When a user copies data to their smartphone (think contacts, critical documents that they wish to
review while mobile, email attachments, etc), or to a USB flash drive, your company is primed for a data leak. Endpoint protection is designed to prevent that from ever happening in the first place. Sure, you can remotely wipe smartphones, at least the ones that are compatible with your company’s policies, and you can protect data on portable media with encryption, but both of those depend in part on the end user. Whether that person is intentionally malicious, apathetic, or simply ignorant, it is entirely possible to transfer data to unprotected media, unless you prevent it in the first place through endpoint security.
There are programs on the Internet today that can turn portable media players into mass storage devices capable of automatically seeking out and downloading key data to their storage. Search for podslurping to see just how creative these applications are, and don’t forget the users with DVD/CD burners in their machines that can burn a disk with gigabytes of data. Unless they have encrypted that data, it can be read by anyone who happens to come across that disk. Some companies have gone as far as to epoxy the USB connection on machines to prevent the physical attachment of external media, but this has several problems. They won’t be able to turn such damaged hardware back in at the end of a lease; any residual value after the useful life will be greatly decreased, there are lots of legitimate uses for USB that will be prevented by this, and it is not a full solution. Search on bluesnarfing to see how users can exploit Bluetooth connections to further transfer data. Instead of ruining your hardware, implement endpoint security to protect your data.
So how can endpoint security help a company to prevent data leakage? Here are the four most important features to look for in good endpoint protection software:
- Agent based enforcement: Endpoint protection software should use easy to deploy, tamperproof agents which can be rolled out to users, and once on their system, be locked down so even local admins cannot disable them.
- Easy, central management: Good endpoint protection software should support rapid policy creation through an easy to understand wizard, that can be deployed granularly with Active Directory Group Policy, and that has the flexibility to support business needs.
- Information at your fingertips
- Real-time centralized monitoring and alerts are just the starting point for endpoint protection’s information components. Look for centralized logging and reporting, that can generate on demand and scheduled reports.
- Flexibility:The one thing you can count on is that no matter what you set up, you will need exceptions. Whether you need to provide temporary access, allow systems admins or security personnel to bypass restrictions, or implement white-lists and blacklists, look for an endpoint protection that is not going to lock you down so tightly that it breaks business processes.
By deploying endpoint security, you are taking reasonable steps to prevent data leakage and protecting your company’s data and that of your customers. Endpoint protection makes good business sense in today’s environment where a data leakage can cost a company millions in reporting and monitoring, and cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation.
Editor Note: This guest post was provided by Casper Manes on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more on how to make the best out of endpoint security.
Disclaimer: All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.