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Endpoint security still inadequate despite growing threats

David Geer | Dec. 14, 2015
Endpoint security solutions today are lacking in spite of significant gaps, vulnerabilities in security and heightened fear of a security breach, says Promisec, endpoint security and compliance vendor.

how does endpoint security change image.jpg

Endpoint security solutions today are lacking in spite of significant gaps, vulnerabilities in security and heightened fear of a security breach, says Promisec, endpoint security and compliance vendor.

According to Promisec data, 89 percent of VP and C-Level IT leaders who responded in a Promisec survey have a heightened fear of a breach over the next year while only 32 percent of respondents have advanced endpoint security in place.

The fact that 73 percent of the respondents agree that endpoints are the most vulnerable point for attack should magnify concerns. The demand is there and analyst market valuations for endpoint security reflect that. The market value should grow from $11.62 billion this year to $17.38 billion by 2020, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets report. Analyst group TechNavio pegs the growth at a CAGR of 10.4 percent over the period 2014-2019.

Enterprises need guidance in protecting endpoints and alleviating the fears represented by these numbers. CSO will oblige.

The source of vulnerabilities

Some of the gaps and vulnerabilities in endpoint security are the lack of complete and regular rollouts of software patches, gaps in application blocking, and the continued appearance of shadow IT, says Steve Lowing, director of Product Management, Promisec.

“Enterprises don’t get close to complete coverage in patching some of the riskiest systems, which includes endpoint systems,” says Lowing. There are challenges that make it clear how this can happen such as when the devices are BYOD. These assets are not on the corporate network enough of the time to guarantee a window where the enterprise is certain they are bringing it up to a certain standard of perfection in security, Lowing explains.

During those windows of opportunity, the enterprise can use tools such as NAC to prevent access to the corporate network by endpoints until device-based security applications such as anti-virus and anti-malware update, run a thorough scan of the device, and clean it. Security software is only one layer of the necessary protection.

“We’ve found that making sure things like [antivirus] are always up to date is not sufficient to ensure proper coverage of endpoints,” says Lowing.

Application blocking is growing in use, but there are still gaps in the deployment of that kind of solution. Shadow IT is a growing vulnerability with the increasing types of unauthorized BYOx (Bring Your Own Everything, including BYOA, BYOC) that people bring to or use for work because IT is not supporting it and may not even be aware it’s there.

Gaps and vulnerabilities in endpoint protection exist far beyond employee devices. IoT has the weakest endpoint protection because it has the weakest device resources. “IoT devices are not powerful enough to support traditional endpoint security solutions. It is harder to implement host based intrusion detection and prevention capabilities because of limited processing power, storage and memory,” says Ed Cabrera, vice president of Cybersecurity Strategy, Trend Micro. This will be a challenge for as long as IoT devices maintain their diminutive technology profile.

 

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