Managing information technologies has become a key part of any business ecosystem, especially those that rely on remote machines as part of their daily workflow. Every new device on a corporate network represents a possible point of failure, making a robust endpoint management system essential to securing any virtual environment. With work-from-home trends and bring-your-own-device culture on the rise, it’s never been more important for businesses to maintain visibility and control over their IT assets. But how can system administrators keep track of a growing number of connected endpoints without exceeding their normal budgets?
The risk posed by unsecured endpoints
Whether located on-premises or offsite, every device able to connect to an organization’s internal network is at risk of exploitation. While many professionals understand that unsecured computers and laptops are easy targets for hackers, some overlook other endpoints that may not serve a critical business function. As noted by the security firm Palo Alto Networks, an endpoint is simply any remote computing device that “communicates back and forth with a network to which it is connected.” This means any workstations, smartphones, servers and internet-of-things devices in use must be carefully monitored to prevent possible cyberattacks.
Since endpoints have the ability to connect to the internet, they are often ground zero for remote code executions, vulnerability exploits and other hacking techniques. Once a malicious actor has gained control over these devices, they can deliver harmful malware to core IT systems, encrypt sensitive business data or add the endpoint to their growing botnet for use in large-scale DDoS attacks. As the global workforce becomes more mobile, the need to insulate personal devices has also become a top concern. According to a recent survey conducted by Syntonic, roughly 87% of companies allow (and even rely on) their employees using personal devices to access key business applications. Without a system in place to oversee and manage these remote endpoints, many businesses would be unable to quickly respond to security breaches.
How common are endpoint security issues? One study by IT security firm Absolute found that over 70% of security breaches originate at an endpoint. What’s more, around 42% of active endpoints experience encryption failures at some point in their lifespan, which can be impossible to detect without a unified solution in place. Another issue is that most IoT devices lack built-in security features, leaving exploitable gaps in organizations’ IT posture, Trend Micro reported. While mobile device management platforms can help ward off cyberattacks, some irregular devices are incompatible with existing security software. As a result, many IT administrators have to utilize several disparate security solutions in tandem to secure all the endpoints present on their network. To solve these cybersecurity challenges, companies are having to get a better handle on endpoint management by integrating cloud-based solutions with advanced monitoring, reporting and administrative tools.
What is unified endpoint management?
Unified endpoint management (UEM) offers companies a more agile and intuitive means of securing their servers and devices, including those owned and operated by employees. This type of centralized security solution can not only improve IT administrators’ situational awareness, it can also save them time on a variety of back-end tasks. Using an UEM platform, system admins can quickly adjust user privileges, send batch updates to specific devices, restrict network access based on predefined rules and much more. Considering the average lifecycle of a data breach was 314 days in 2019, according to research from IBM, organizations should prioritize IT visibility whenever possible.
Another benefit of UEM solutions is that IT admins can manage all devices from a single console, allowing them to adjust specific endpoint categories to fit their evolving needs. With an estimated 5.8 billion enterprise endpoints expected to be in use by 2020, according to projections from Gartner, organizations must ensure their security tools are both scalable and secure. This is where cloud-based tools are particularly helpful, as most providers allow customers to scale up resources on demand. More specifically, cloud-based UEMs enable companies to:
- Monitor, manage and control devices from a single console, including those that run on macOS, Android, iOS, Windows and even Linux.
- Configure endpoints to maximize security without restricting users’ access to key business applications.
- Unify their approach to application management, device management, data security and IT governance/compliance.
- Ensure complete visibility over company-owned endpoints, personal devices, networking equipment and data storage infrastructure.
- Reduce security breach response times through provisioning, automated alerts and user-oriented support features.
Since every organization has its own needs, policies and security frameworks, it’s important to choose a UEM solution that offers the exact functionality IT admins require. For example, investing in a platform that does not recognize newer IoT devices would likely lead to major inefficiencies for companies on the bleeding edge of artificial intelligence, automation and remote sensor technologies. That’s why the first step to optimizing any endpoint management strategy is to conduct thorough device audits and risk assessments. Once that’s complete, organizations should have a better idea of what functionality they should be prioritizing.
Securing remote machines with Faronics’ Deep Freeze Cloud
Faronics’ Deep Freeze technology makes PCs indestructible, while also offering IT admins a diverse range of management tools that can help expand their visibility and control over remote enterprise devices. By freezing a snapshot of a computer’s optimal configuration, Deep Freeze ensures any harmful malware or misconfigurations can be reverted with a simple reboot. This gives end users the ability to solve their own tech issues without the need for special training or extensive computer experience.
Beyond its reboot-to-restore capabilities, Deep Freeze provides comprehensive endpoint management tools that can help organizations deploy, configure and update IT assets with greater oversight. Administrators can also create detailed reports on device usage, allowing them to reallocate resources and identify possible signs of security breaches in real-time.