Data Protection Secrets: CIOs Know That It Starts At The Endpoint

by drjim on August 17, 2009

CIOs Know That Managing Endpoints Is The Key To Securing Company Data <br> <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/john/47544223/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=
Just imagine this scenario: you’ve just been made CIO of your firm when all of a sudden one of your competitors suffers a massive data loss because of outside hackers. Your CEO storms into your brand-new office and demands to know what you are doing to secure your firm’s data. What would you say?

The Old Way Of Doing Things

Good CIOs realize that a firm’s IT infrastructure can’t just be thought of “those boxes”. Instead, an IT infrastructure consists of three layers of devices: core servers and perhaps mainframes, a set of network connectivity devices such as routers and hubs, and then endpoints – the PCs and laptops that you and I use every day.

IT Networks Consist Of 3 Separate Levels Of Equipment

IT Networks Consist Of 3 Separate Levels Of Equipment

Since there are more endpoints than any other type of equipment in most corporate networks, CIOs realize that this is where must of their company data loss efforts must be focused.

In the past, securing network endpoints often meant that all one had to do was to load up some anti-virus software on every laptop and you could check this off of your CIO to-do list. Sorry – that no longer works.

Welcome To The Real World

As we enter the brave new world of policy management, we are seeing a shift to policy-based enforcement being used to control company data that is being used on enterprise network endpoints.

Using policy-base management of endpoints allows multiple areas to be managed. These areas include:

  • Configuration
  • Patch
  • Access
  • Application
  • Anti-virus

The Case For Using Policy-Based Management of Endpoints

Let’s face it – we are all have too much to do and too little time in which to get it all done. Establishing corporate IT polices allows a set of rules to be laid down that tell everyone what is and is not permitted. When you extend these polices to cover how you manage the endpoints of the company’s network, then all of a sudden you’ve made your life that much easier.

Policies allow you to prioritize the company information that you want to protect. Once you identify this information, you’ll then be able to realize just how much of it is being stored on the endpoints!

This new understanding then allows you to set up a systems security approach to making your PCs and laptops safe. By doing this you’ll be able to ensure that your network endpoints are now secure places to house that valuable corporate data.

Final Thoughts

There’s no way that any one person in an IT department can make sure that all of your PCs and laptops are secure all the time – even if you are the CIO. Yesterday’s piecemeal approach of placing an anti-virus application on each PC and then considering the job done was a poor solution.

Using a system’s approach and establishing company policies for how management of endpoints should be done sets up a much simpler way of ensuring that all endpoints are secure. CIOs that do this will have found a way to apply IT to enable the rest of the company to grow quicker, move faster, and do more.

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

It’s a battle out there: hackers and organized crime groups vs. your company. Whereas you have to worry about keeping the company successful and lowering costs, all they have to worry about is finding ways to break into your network. Doesn’t seem very fair, does it? There is some good news for CIOs: application whitelisting has arrived.

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