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Endpoint security: How vulnerable is the network?

Managing the network

Protecting the integrity of a network takes a multifaceted approach. The use of laptops, tablets and smartphones in a business can increase not only productivity and connectedness of data but also security threats to corporate networks. Implementation and education on endpoint security, ensuring that the network is secure from all angles and staying up-to-date on emerging threats, is imperative for any business.

Boardroom Events can help you discover custom solutions for your organization and empower you to learn about the newest innovations in cybersecurity and endpoint protection, including education and anti-phishing techniques across roundtable forums and networking.

Layers of protection

Endpoint security and education assist with the protection of a strong system but should not be considered the only thing that is needed to protect the integrity of your network. The use of a cloud source for software, infrastructure or platform as a service should not lull a false sense of protection. There have been studies that have found that over 80 percent of cloud solutions do not protect outbound information via firewall.

At the same time, utilizing one or a combination of IaaS, PaaS or SaaS can increase cost savings and allow more time to work on security at your organization. The midmarket needs collaboration and networking with solution providers for education and to allow cutting-edge protection to help to improve the security.

The operating system, selected devices and software programs that host email and database systems for your organization all need a unique strategy to lower the risk of an attack. Should your organization require keyboards attached to an iPad for email? How should cloud services be combined with firewall, anti-phishing techniques and prequarantine? How can you stay up-to-date with emerging trends and avoid vicious attacks? We can assist with answers by connecting you with vendors and cohorts in midmarket business solutions.

The biggest threat: People

You supply portable work devices, laptops, cellphones and tablets and have company policies in place to deter personal use. Then malware is discovered and gets traced back to a breach at a coffee shop from a personal shared-source email or social media post.

The solution? Illustrate examples of how the security risk affects them. They might not believe that they are doing anything that would potentially risk the safety of company assets, but if you involve their personal life in the risk, then it becomes easier and more effective to deter improper use of the devices.

Additional measures of protection include the requirements and timeline for updating passwords or utilizing two-part authentication for login. Some people are horrible at creating and remembering passwords (how many times have you gotten that information technology ticket?), and education on the importance of a strong password that is not shared can help deter hackers.

Further education of end users is imperative, and to illustrate the potential risks, it is helpful to offer examples that affect the device holder. For instance, if a firewall is breached and the employee has used the device to access their personal bank account, it puts them in danger of having money drained from their account or even identity theft.

A fun example: We all have at least one friend who has had their kid pick up their phone and change social media status posts. Don’t be that person! If your user is logged into Facebook, shares information about a vacation or their children or has birthdate information listed, this leaves them open to robberies, the potential of putting their family in danger and security breaches for medical or personal account information where date of birth is used. That sounds a bit more serious than a fake status post.

The end user’s education regarding increased potential targeting or your company’s data, which, in turn, leaves their personal information vulnerable, can help improve endpoint security by allowing you to have more control on what sites are accessed on the devices.

We have antivirus installed: Is that enough?

You research and decide on an antivirus to protect the portable devices and run updates as they come through, but attacks still happen. Fighting an infection on a single device and defeating the spread throughout the network requires fast intervention or prevention of the attack in the first place. It can take up to six months for a program to identify 100 percent of the security threats, and up to 70 percent can be missed within the first hour.

The malware has evolved and developed to find ways around the antivirus software, firewall and operating systems on some devices. Updating the operating system with current patches can improve protection, but only if the patch works for the OS on your devices.

You are not alone

Keeping up with daily workload, managing your team and dealing with bottom line and continued cost improvements can be daunting, and it can increase your stress level. Trying to prevent your staff from opening a link within network programs can be frustrating and compounded by managing remote devices where the internet source cannot be controlled.

The amount of time and resources that it takes to investigate solution providers, gather data, compare pricing and research applied usage bring it all together to try and get approval for the upgrade, all while doing your regular work. This means that a project may take years to implement. You can save time and money by utilizing our executive workshops, regional roundtable events and/or attending the Midmarket CIO Forum on September 30 to October 2, 2018, and Midmarket CISO Forum on February 3 to 5, 2019.

We bring together leading and emerging vendors and connect you with companies on the edge of emerging trends in security solutions, allowing you to develop long term relationships and network with colleagues in the unique midmarket space.

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