How aware are organizations of the importance of endpoint management security?
49% of respondents to a recent Twitter poll carried out by Osirium Technologies describe endpoint management security within their organization as non-existent. 11% admit that it’s their lowest priority.
Of those that have implemented or are in the process of implementing an endpoint security strategy, 16% describe themselves as ‘all over it’ while 24% say it’s a work in progress. When asked about the main factors driving their organization’s need for endpoint security, protecting business data (35%) and avoiding employee error (25%) came out on top. However, for 21% of respondents it’s simply ‘a tick-box exercise’.
Endpoint management allows IT teams to identify, monitor and control end-users’ access to corporate networks and systems. This protects data from being exposed to a breach through employee mistakes that allow malware or ransomware to be installed, for example, and the abuse of local admin accounts by cyber-attackers. It also adds a layer of protection if devices lack the necessary security tools or configurations to defend against attacks.
A key part of endpoint security is the removal of local administrator rights from users, controlling how they connect to systems. However, many respondents are concerned about the impact this will have on the business.
36% say the biggest challenge with removing local admin permissions is that it would upset users. 25% believe it would increase workloads, and a further 21% are worried that it would hinder productivity, with employees finding themselves unable to carry out tasks, and the IT helpdesk inundated with requests for simple actions such as software installations. Only 18% are worried about the technology side of things, citing complexity of endpoint security solutions as the biggest challenge.
41% of respondents don’t know how their organization tracks local admin accounts. The majority of those that do so use manual systems – 21% paper-based logs and 23% spreadsheets – which can be laborious and unreliable. Only 15% have an endpoint management system (EPM).
It appears that respondents are under no illusion that their existing endpoint security approach is suboptimal. 49% are confident that it will present abuse of local admin access, with 35% having no confidence at all.
David Guyatt, CEO of Osirium said: “A lack of awareness of the importance of securing endpoints, and how best to do it, is leaving organizations open to attack. The responses to our poll suggest that for a significant proportion endpoint management is not even on their radar. This appears largely to boil down to worries over the impact that removing local admin rights will have on the business, and this reflects what we’re hearing from our customers.
“The solution is endpoint privilege management, which switches focus from elevating users’ access privileges to allowing elevated privileges for specific processes and applications, and only for as long as the user needs them. This reduces the attack surface without employees having to change the way they work, or getting frustrated waiting for permissions to be granted.”