Written By Roark Pollock And Presented By Ziften CEO Chuck Leaver
It wasn’t long ago that everyone knew exactly what you suggested if you brought up an endpoint. If somebody wanted to offer you an endpoint security solution, you understood what devices that software was going to secure. But when I hear somebody delicately discuss endpoints today, The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya enters my mind: “You keep utilizing that word. I don’t think it suggests exactly what you think it implies.” Today an endpoint could be almost any kind of device.
In all honesty, endpoints are so diverse today that people have actually reverted to calling them “things.” In accordance with Gartner at the end of 2016 there were greater than 6 billion “things” connected to the web. The consulting company predicts that this number will shoot up to 21 billion by the year 2020. Business uses of these things will be both generic (e.g. linked light bulbs and A/C systems) and market specific (e.g. oil well security tracking). For IT and security groups responsible for connecting and protecting endpoints, this is just half of the new obstacle, however. The embrace of virtualization technology has actually redefined exactly what an endpoint is, even in environments where these groups have generally run.
The previous decade has actually seen an enormous change in the method end users access info. Physical devices continue to become more mobile with many information employees now doing the majority of their computing and communication on laptop computers and smart phones. More notably, everybody is ending up being an information employee. Today, much better instrumentation and monitoring has enabled levels of data collection and analysis that can make the insertion of information technology into almost any task lucrative.
At the same time, more standard IT assets, especially servers, are ending up being virtualized to eliminate a few of the conventional limitations in having those assets connected to physical devices.
These 2 patterns together will impact security groups in essential ways. The universe of “endpoints” will include billions of long lived and unsecure IoT endpoints along with billions of virtual endpoint instances that will be scaled up and down as needed along with migrated to different physical areas as needed.
Enterprises will have really different worries about these 2 general kinds of endpoints. Over their life times, IoT devices will have to be secured from a host of dangers a few of which have yet to be thought up. Monitoring and protecting these devices will require advanced detection capabilities. On the plus side, it will be possible to maintain well-defined log data to make it possible for forensic examination.
Virtual endpoints, on the other hand, provide their own crucial issues. The ability to move their physical location makes it a lot more challenging to make sure right security policies are always connected to the endpoint. The practice of re-imaging virtual endpoints can make forensic investigation challenging, as crucial data is typically lost when a new image is used.
So no matter what word or phrases are used to describe your endpoints – endpoint, systems, client device, user device, mobile phone, server, virtual machine, container, cloud workload, IoT device, and so on – it is necessary to understand precisely what someone implies when they utilize the term endpoint.