DLP and Endpoint Security applications are the backbone of many organizational IT security efforts, and rightfully so.  Managing users, data and device access within your network is a key component of securing any sensitive or proprietary data.  But what do you do when devices or data leaves the boundaries of your network?

Internal Security

Think of an organization's network as a living, breathing organic entity.  The more you ponder that concept, the more it seems about right.  A firm's network is constantly changing and evolving with new patches to operating systems, updates to the applications, addition of hardware devices, and lots of generated data.

Now add users with various personal devices that they plug into the network and the whole system is immediately compromised.  This would include smart phones, flash drives, external hard drives, iPods or even DVD burners; as well as wireless devices.

The ability to control what can and cannot be plugged into the network is essential to the ongoing sanity of your IT staff.  Endpoint Security has itself become very powerful and complex, yet the concept of what it does is simple; it allows the IT professional to control what is allowed on the system and what is not.

If a device or application is allowed, it's placed on a "whitelist" and will function normally, if it's not on the list, it won't.  Just like that fancy new nightclub, if you aren't on the list, you can't get in.  (Note - Allowing devices to access confidential information which can then be transported outside of the facility can also open organization up to data breach liability depending on state and industry regulations.)

External Security

Now you have your system running smoothly, you have your whitelist of allowed devices and applications honed and all is good right?  Nope.  What about authorized portable storage devices that you do allow on your network?  You may be able to manage and monitor them while they are attached to your network, but what happens when they leave?  They have been deployed, but where are they?  Who has them?  How can they be updated?  What if a user forgets their password?

The ability to manage these remote devices should be an essential part of your overall security solution.  You need to have control over these devices or you have a serious weak link.

A simple rule of thumb: if it is allowed to leave the physical premises, it should be encrypted and meet the requirements of the organization's pre-determined security policies.   The approved devices should be accounted for and remotely manageable, period. (Best practices are to use encrypted or password protected thumb drives, smart phones, tablets, etc.)

Management of remote devices is available with a variety of configurations and features.  Remote disable/delete, remote password reset, IP range restriction, password resets and more. It can be used for lost devices containing sensitive data, for ex-employees who still possess company devices/data, and for support in the field.

If a device is lost, stolen or even misplaced it should be able to be remotely deleted/reset to further protect it.  Centralized Remote Management of portable external devices has so many benefits, like remote password recovery/reset; pushed updates that could include new company-wide security policies; or how about just a message that pops up on the device from headquarters.

And those pesky devices that frequently leave the organization?  The idea of centrally managing the devices no matter where they are in the world is that you can update them, delete them, or reset them; whatever needs to be done with or without actual physical access. In addition, remote management audit reports allow you to confirm actions have been successfully executed.

A Good Team

Both Endpoint Security and the Remote Management of connectable devices are powerful applications all by themselves, individually, but if you strategically combine them, so much more is possible.  It's another great way to keep your living, breathing beast of a network as secure and reliable as possible.

Written by Kanguru — October 31, 2012

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