Chuck Leaver – As Connected Devices Increase It Will Be More Difficult To Define An Endpoint

Written By Roark Pollock And Presented By Ziften CEO Chuck Leaver


It wasn’t long ago that everybody understood what you implied if you raised the issue of an endpoint. If somebody wished to offer you an endpoint security solution, you knew what devices that software was going to protect. However when I hear someone casually discuss endpoints today, The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya comes to mind: “You keep using that word. I don’t think it indicates exactly what you believe it implies.” Today an endpoint could be almost any type of device.

In fact, endpoints are so diverse today that people have reverted to calling them “things.” According to Gartner at the close of 2016 there were greater than 6 billion “things” connected to the web. The consulting company forecasts that this number will shoot up to 21 billion by the year 2020. The business utilization of these things will be both generic (e.g. connected light bulbs and HVAC systems) and industry particular (e.g. oil rig security tracking). For IT and security teams responsible for linking and safeguarding endpoints, this is just half of the new difficulty, nevertheless. The embrace of virtualization innovation has redefined exactly what an endpoint is, even in environments in which these groups have actually typically operated.

The last decade has seen an enormous modification in the way end users access info. Physical devices continue to be more mobile with many info employees now doing the majority of their computing and communication on laptops and cellphones. More notably, everyone is becoming an information worker. Today, much better instrumentation and monitoring has allowed levels of data collection and analysis that can make the insertion of info-tech into almost any task lucrative.

At the same time, more conventional IT assets, particularly servers, are ending up being virtualized to remove some of the standard restrictions in actually having those assets connected to physical devices.

These 2 trends together will affect security teams in crucial ways. The totality of “endpoints” will include billions of long-lived and unsecure IoT endpoints as well as billions of virtual endpoint instances that will be scaled up and down as needed in addition to migrated to various physical places as needed.

Enterprises will have really different worries about these 2 basic types of endpoints. Over their life times, IoT devices will need to be safeguarded from a host of dangers some of which have yet to be dreamed up. Tracking and securing these devices will need advanced detection abilities. On the positive side, it will be possible to maintain well-defined log data to make it possible for forensic investigation.

Virtual endpoints, on the other hand, present their own essential issues. The ability to move their physical location makes it much more difficult to guarantee correct security policies are constantly attached to the endpoint. The practice of re-imaging virtual endpoints can make forensic investigation challenging, as important data is generally lost when a new image is used.

So it is irrelevant what word or phrases are utilized to describe your endpoints – endpoint, systems, user device, client device, mobile device, server, virtual device, container, cloud workload, IoT device, and so on – it is necessary to understand precisely what someone means when they use the term endpoint.


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