By Charles Leaver

Endpoint security must be comprehensive yet unobtrusive

Thousands of new malware variants emerge each day, underscoring the considerable endpoint management challenges that IT departments face in securing devices and networks. Many organizations use patchwork solutions that appear effective, but in reality even one failure could result in catastrophic data loss or infection. With bring-your-own-device policies complicating the endpoint landscape, organizations need a centralized management console that can monitor what each endpoint is running, ensuring network security while not impairing company productivity.

InformationWeek’s Ankur Chadda recently examined the current state of network security, focusing on the simultaneous rise of sophisticated malware and the BYOD-enabled hardware that often carries it. Roughly 74,000 new malware strains are released each day, and so far organizations have fought back by using traditional tools like antivirus software and firewalls.

However, these tools may be becoming less effective in light of the proliferation of mobile threats like SMS chargeware, as well as the refinement of desktop trojans. For example, Infosecurity chronicled the evolution of the Taidoor trojan, which originally delivered malware via a classic email phishing scheme. However, it has since become more sophisticated, now employing a separate downloader that can install additional malware later on. It also links to an innocuous-looking Yahoo blog, rather than a standard command-and-control apparatus.

To deal with these threats, organizations should adequately test endpoint security solutions under realistic conditions, so that managers can discern whether tools identify anomalies as they emerge. Good endpoint tools will also be unobtrusive, coexisting well with BYOD initiatives.

“Companies that implement aggressive malware policies need to strike a balance between network security and organizational performance,” advised Chadda, later adding “Controls cannot be so restrictive that they get in the way of systems being efficient and workers doing their jobs.”

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