Endpoint security really can improve user experience

Simon Townsend, Chief Technologist, EMEA at AppSense

Traditional security policies are intrusive and impact user productivity. This is unfortunately the opinion of most end users. In fact, according to a recent study performed by Dimensional Research: The Value of a Great Desktop Experience, as many as 62% of business users identified security that is not intrusive as an important factor to a great desktop user experience.

This opinion has been influenced over the years by the effect traditional antivirus software has had on the business user. It has historically stalled productivity, getting in the way of downloading needed files and slowing performance even when running in the background.

Yet, most enterprises would agree that no corporate security policy is complete without an antivirus strategy. They’re right. It’s the door locks for our enterprise desktops, keeping known intruders out. But who’s going to sound the alarm when someone malicious breaks the lock? Or, if someone unauthorized has a key? Just one breach can wreak havoc on an entire enterprise.

In order to truly prevent zero-day threats, more endpoint security is needed. Only then can enterprises protect users’ desktops before antivirus definition files can be deployed. But, you ask, at what cost to user productivity and employee satisfaction?

What if there was no cost to user productivity? Or even better, what if added endpoint security could improve user experience rather than hinder it? It can. By implementing an application management solution that employs the practice of least privilege, endpoints can be protected like never before while giving users a better, faster desktop experience in the process.

The secret is in practicing privilege control that applies just the right level of granular administrative rights without affecting user workflows or efficiency. In this way, corporate security policies can be enforced based on definitions by user or based on contextual factors such as location, device name, IP address, network settings or time of day. This eliminates risk when users work outside the corporate firewall.

Further, sophisticated application management solutions allow only applications introduced by trusted administrators to execute. This works to prevent unauthorized applications from running while also minimizing administration time. If a user needs to gain access to a new application, self-service tools enable the user’s request, maintaining his productivity without risking security violations.

Finally, these solutions enable the provisioning, tracking and enforcing of software licenses with close alignment to the “gold image,” thus reducing IT costs while still allowing users to install applications and customize their workspaces for a better overall user experience.

Comprehensive privilege management and application control powers user productivity while safeguarding corporate desktops from both internal and external threats. As a result, organizations are able to:

Prevent unknown executables – Through kernel-level filter drivers file execution can be intercepted before application launch – regardless if the endpoint is online or off.

Make list management obsolete – Using the practice of “trusted ownership” enterprises are able to go far beyond traditional whitelisting and blacklisting to ensure that only applications from a trusted source can run.

Enforce least privilege access – By precisely controlling user and application privileges, users only access what they need. This helps to minimize the risk of human error while supporting a great user experience through self-service access to application requests.

View endpoint analytics for proactive threat prevention – Advanced application management solutions also offer visibility into endpoint and user data. This helps to identify suspicious activity and potential threats before they damage the environment.

No security strategy is complete without addressing endpoint security with a close eye on zero-day threat protection. However, securing corporate desktops doesn’t need to mean that users have to suffer. Implementing an advanced application management solution that is directly tied to enhancing the user experience means that applications will run faster, users will be more productive and the overall environment will be dramatically more secure.