Controlling endpoints to secure SMEs against increasing threats

On a global scale, by 2019 more than 2.5 billion smartphones, tablets and PCs will be shipped every year, and by 2020, there will be 25 billion network connected devices, all of which pose their own security risk to corporate networks.

As well as a greater volume of devices, today’s IT environment includes are far greater range of user devices, such as mobile and all manner of ‘Internet of Things’ smart devices that can be far more complex to manage and keep secure.

As your business grows, management of endpoint devices needs to grow with it – you need to ensure you don’t become a victim of your own success. One of the most imperative issues to tackle in your management of devices on your network is keeping every single device secure, and ensuring that new devices to not introduce security vulnerabilities into the equation.

>See also: Why data breaches are a growing threat to small businesses

Businesses need to ensure even the smallest IT team has visibility over the entire network. With 80,000 malware variants created every day, and 323,000 new malicious programs detected specifically targeting difficult to manage mobile devices, the threat to the devices in your organisation is bigger than ever. But all is not doom and gloom for small businesses.

While teams may be small, with the right systems and technology in place, SME’s are in a uniquely privileged position to ensure their IT environment grows sustainably with the business, avoiding being swamped by an unmanageable mess of disparate endpoint devices.

To take advantage of this position, small businesses should be thinking seriously about their endpoint systems management strategy, implementing technology that can facilitate simplified yet powerful management, even from small IT teams.

IT admins in growing organisations with small IT teams often wish they could clone themselves in order to adequately manage systems challenges across the environment. As if visibility and management wasn’t enough, the threat of security compromise and data breach can create a real headache for those responsible for securing the business.

Gain visibility

As mentioned, the first step is to gain visibility, before you can begin to ensure adequate security across the network. As any cyber security expert will tell you, you cannot secure what you cannot see.

Investing in an integrated solution with a console that allows a single admin to visualise the entire environment is the way to go. Whether it be the standard fleet of Windows devices, or Macs, Chromebooks and smartphones, as well as routers and switches, everything that is connected in some way to the network can be visualised from a centralised console.

>See also: Complacency is threatening business safety from cyber threats

As well as shining a light on potentially insecure hardware devices, it is imperative that the IT admin can visualise all installed software across devices that have access to the network, identifying outdated software which can not only affect employee productivity, but provide a weakened attack point for malicious programmes or hackers.

Automate security processes

With your entire IT environment visualised, endpoint systems management software can scan all machines and identify glaring security vulnerabilities such as out of date software or insecure configurations.

One of the most powerful capabilities for small businesses to be aware of and take advantage of is process automation in a security context.

The potentially time-consuming task of delivering up to date patches across all software properties on every device can be simplified through automating this task, allowing you to customise automatic patch scheduling based on dynamic filtering.

As well as Windows and MacOS patches, automation software can ensure that vulnerable third party applications, such as Adobe Reader or Oracle Java are up to date, far reducing potential for these outdated programs to become an attack vector for malicious actors.

>See also: Why cybercriminals are targeting unsuspecting small businesses

From a single point, crucial security updates and patches can be automatically deployed to all endpoints on your network, ensuring all devices are equally secure, with no weak points for malware to exploit.

Your time is valuable, don’t spend it running around doing manual administrative tasks and bending over backwards to corral the ever expanding cloud of endpoint devices – automation can do the work of an entire IT team.

Let’s face it, as a small business, your funds are far better spent on innovation, growing the business, and servicing customers, than trying to corral a ‘wild west’ of disparate endpoint devices. Centralising this functionality should be a priority for businesses of all sizes, particularly for small businesses with big futures.


Sourced by Adrian Moir, lead technology evangelist, Quest Data Protection


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...