Network Security

Endpoints, endpoints… everywhere

This month, it is all about two types of endpoints, one of which is becoming increasingly troubling to security pros.

The easy one – the one with enough of a history to be more or less mature – is the traditional endpoint. This includes such things as desktop computers. The not-so-easy one is the portable device. These little beasts – smartphones and tablets, for example – are proliferating like weeds, and security pros are scrambling to control them. These devices actually cause more headaches than in the old days when desktop modems were popping up everywhere in the enterprise.

Arguably the biggest problem is data leakage. When devices that cannot be controlled by the enterprise start collecting email, downloading files and connecting to enterprise resources, data leakage prevention challenges cannot be far behind. Those issues are exactly what our portable device section is all about this month.

The good news is that all endpoints – whether desktop or mobile – can be managed because they virtually always are owned by the organization. The endpoint security tools that we look at provide the means to achieve and manage that control.

The bottom line, though, is that these devices, whether they be laptops or smartphones, are becoming increasingly threatening to the security of the information at the enterprise. While they may be misused on purpose, most often they are used by responsible, well-meaning employees to do things in the course of their normal workday. Because we are an increasingly mobile society and because we suffer increasingly heavy workloads, we gravitate toward tools that allow us to have the best of all worlds, and these devices fill that bill well.

So, this month, SC Lab Manager Mike Stephenson will take you through the cream of the portable device crop, while reviewers Nathan Ouellette and Derek Thomas navigate the minefields of endpoint security. Between them, I'm sure you'll get a picture that the sky is not really falling. Instead, there are solutions to the dilemmas we face, even as progress makes surety ever more challenging.

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