IT Departments Struggle to Secure All Endpoints

Sue Marquette Poremba

How many endpoints are connected to your network?

Can you answer that question confidently? If you can’t – and you aren’t alone – then you can’t be sure your endpoint security system is working as well as it could or should. And this is costing you, in terms of security and in real dollars.

A new Ponemon Institute and Absolute study found that traditional endpoint security approaches aren’t working and costing organizations more than $6 million per year in poor detection, slow response and wasted time. One of the biggest problems, the study revealed, is the difficulty companies are having in identifying what they call the dark endpoints -- the rogue, out-of-compliance, or off-network devices that create blind spots. In turn, it is those endpoints that are most likely to create vulnerabilities that allow attackers to get through.

According to the study, the IT departments manage more than 27,000 endpoints and more than half of them involve transmission of sensitive data. While there are, on average, 615 alerts a week, 60 percent of those alerts involve malware infections. Yet, only about 100 of the alerts are investigated.


In an email comment to me, Manish Kalia, CMO of Balbix, blames this endpoint security problem on security fatigue and provided a few thoughts on why it is happening:

Security teams have no way of prioritizing their alerts to really focus on the ones that matter. As a result, they are required to spend thousands of hours chasing low priority alerts, and unfortunately often missing the ones that leave them susceptible to malicious attacks that can compromise their critical data. To address this problem, organizations need to become more efficient by prioritizing their alerts to focus on assets that have a high likelihood and business impact after breach by investing in continuous and automated risk assessment technologies.

In a formal statement, Geoff Haydon, CEO with Absolute, said we need to think of endpoint security in new ways, not just as an IT problem but as global business performance and national security concerns, adding:

This study along with recent ransomware attacks and high-profile data breaches show the danger of today’s endpoint blind spots, and underscore that automation and newer approaches to endpoint security are key to safeguarding endpoints and the sensitive data on them for optimal business performance.

What do you know about the endpoints connected to your network?

Sue Marquette Poremba has been writing about network security since 2008. In addition to her coverage of security issues for IT Business Edge, her security articles have been published at various sites such as Forbes, Midsize Insider and Tom's Guide. You can reach Sue via Twitter: @sueporemba


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