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Endpoint protection advice for businesses

FutureSoft : 05 December, 2008  (Technical Article)
FutureSoft provides advice on protecting company data from the inside out using endpoint protection tools
FutureSoft advises companies that as the number of data leakages continues to rise, companies should employ endpoint solutions to help them monitor and protect their critical data from within the company, thus reducing the risk of potential data losses and compliance issues.

"Data protection is the responsibility of all businesses and organisations," commented Tim Farrell, Co-Founder and CEO of FutureSoft. "With the amount of sensitive data that is being collected, it is vital that systems are in place to control what is accessible by whom, as well as the transfer to portable and external devices."

It has been an absolutely catastrophic year for data loss and the general public have been left extremely vulnerable due to the apathetic approach to data access and protection. The number of data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has soared to 277 since HM Revenue & Customs lost 25 million child benefit records a year ago. The latest figures include 80 reported breaches by the private sector, 75 within the NHS and other health bodies, 28 reported by central government, 26 by local authorities and 47 by the rest of the public sector. Misplaced hard drives, laptops and portable devices, especially USB memory sticks, have subsequently created a media frenzy resulting in understandable public outrage.

"It is alarming that despite high profile data losses, the threat of enforcement action, a plethora of reports on data handling and clear ICO guidance, the flow of data breaches and sloppy information handling continues," said Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, ICO. "We have already seen examples where data loss or abuse has led to fake credit card transactions, witnesses at risk of physical harm or intimidation, offenders at risk from vigilantes, fake applications for tax credits, falsified Land Registry records and mortgage fraud."

It is therefore no surprise that, in a survey conducted by Infosecurity Europe, data security and the prevention of data leakage was by far the most pressing concern with 69% of information security respondents naming it as their main concern. The loss of sensitive data can also be a significant and expensive event, resulting in lost business, bad publicity, and legal penalties. The question of how to quantify the costs and likelihood of such events, however, is only gradually being addressed.

One way in which companies can address the problem of information being leaked from within the organisation is by installing an endpoint security system, such as FutureSoft's DynaComm PointGuard. PointGuard offers both real-time and on-demand protection, guarding against insider threats and data loss via a layered approach. It helps small to medium-sized businesses manage, monitor, and secure network endpoints by protecting and controlling USB devices, allowing or blocking access to files and registry entries with real-time policies as well as being able to scan and remove spyware.

"Defining what applications can be run and what resources can be assessed by whom, and at what times, is a better approach than attempting to remove user privileges for all applications," continued Farrell. "It results in better utilisation of business assets. It provides more flexibility for end-users to get their jobs done, and ultimately, such an approach is more secure precisely because it actively manages, rather than passively disables."

PointGuard's flexible plug-in architecture allows you to deploy individual components to all systems across the organisation, or only to selected machines. Its granularity enables administrators to control access to files, applications and removable devices without harming business flexibility. Detailed reports provide a view into corporate file and device use, and can support the move to a more in-depth analysis of selected resources. Its real-time system event alerts also enable system administrators to quickly identify downtime or other problems within the network, protecting their critical infrastructure.

"It is no longer sufficient for security solutions to disable loopholes. They must recognise risky behaviour, respond intelligently, and feed policy creation," concludes Farrell. "They must become completely integrated with the behaviour of every user and every asset, to provide visibility, protection, and management control. In doing so, they will enable organisations to address a range of different threats far more effectively than was possible before. This will present significant and measurable, returns on investment to both financial stakeholders and security officers alike."
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