Enterprises, Here’s How to Improve Your Digital Perimeter

Enterprises, Here's How to Improve Your Digital Perimeter

Your cybersecurity platform and policies must match the complexity and consistency of hackers’ cyber attacks. Each digital attack embraces different tactics, goals, and targets; therefore you need to prepare for any cybersecurity eventuality on your business network.    

Thus, you need an identity and access management solution to prevent permission abuses or overreach. Additionally, your enterprise needs SIEM to locate dwelling threats hiding in your data logs. However, you still need an endpoint security solution to provide the initial layer of your cybersecurity policies; in other words, your endpoint security provides a digital perimeter.

Without this digital perimeter, all manner of malware can worm their way into your network. As a result, efforts to improve your digital perimeter should become a top priority.

How to Improve Your Digital Perimeter

What constitutes an endpoint? We define an “endpoint” as any device connecting to your network. Endpoints include more traditional endpoints such as desktops and laptops but also newer technologies such as mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Every hack and cyber attack begins on the endpoint. Even if the endpoint serves as a stepping stone to hackers’ true targets, they begin on the endpoint. Endpoints provide a gateway into your network overall and thus your most sensitive digital assets.

Each endpoint constitutes another point in your digital perimeter. Therefore, to improve your digital perimeter, you need to improve your endpoint security on every connected device.

How do you do this?

Regulate Your Bring-Your-Own-Devices Culture

Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) cultures continue to proliferate among enterprises. Employees can bring endpoints they feel comfortable with to perform their job duties; usually, this results in more productivity and higher morale. However, so many disparate devices connecting to the network creates an inconsistent digital perimeter.

After all, one employee’s mobile device may have a strong, self-installed endpoint security application while another may have no security whatsoever. Hackers deliberately target such inconsistent enterprise perimeters; they often prove easy to penetrate and exploit.

Therefore, your IT security team must insist every employee device connecting to the network installs your selected endpoint protection platform before receiving access. Additionally, the security members should reserve the right to vet devices before they connect and determine whether they pose a security risk.

Furthermore, to improve your digital perimeter, your enterprise can mandate all mobile devices connecting under BYOD have their full upgrades and patches. Often, unpatched devices pose a serious security risk as they don’t have updated threat intelligence to repel new attacks.

Secure the IoT

We’ve written many times over about the security risks almost inherent to the IoT. To summarize, few IoT manufacturers design and produce their devices with security in mind. Most IoT devices lack any kind of endpoint security. If they do, the EPP firmware often poses challenges concerning their maintenance and upgrades; sometimes manufacturers do not announce their firmware upgrades, leaving IT security teams in the dark.

Moreover, IoT devices do not appear in legacy endpoint security visibility capabilities. Therefore, they can become dark spaces in your network, allowing hackers to conceal their actions. In some cases, they provide the perfect backdoor into your databases allowing hackers to leapfrog to their prime targets. A well-known case involved hackers robbing a casino via an IoT fish tank.  

To improve your digital perimeter, you need to make sure your IoT devices possess a consistent level of endpoint security; plenty of next-gen endpoint security solutions specialize on IoT devices, enabling consistent and speedy upgrades. Additionally, your endpoint security should help you improve your digital visibility to ensure no devices become lost and allow hackers to dwell.

Finally, your enterprise’s IT security team should take a full survey of all the IoT devices connecting to your network; this can help facilitate your visibility efforts. You can and should also enforce rules requiring a minimum security standard for all IoT devices.            

Prevent Phishing Attacks

No discussion of how to improve your digital perimeter would be complete without a discussion of phishing attacks.

Phishing attacks exploit common human weaknesses such as ignorance or neglect. They take advantage of individuals’ instincts not to question legitimate-looking emails. Every phishing email constitutes another threat to your digital perimeter.

At its core, phishing attacks pose as legitimate requests from either enterprise executives or third-party authorities such as financial institutions. They ask employees or privileged users to input their credentials into a seemingly legitimate website which allows hackers to steal them.

One solution to phishing is to ensure your endpoint security solution provides email security as a capability. After all, your employees most readily deal with traffic into and out of the perimeter through email; if you wish to truly improve your digital perimeter, that provides an ideal place to begin. Employees can’t fall for a phishing attack if your solution blocks the email on the way in.

However, your employees also form a critical part of your digital perimeter. Their behavior and adherence to cybersecurity best practices determine much of the effectiveness of your endpoint protection platform. Thus investing in cybersecurity training—conducted regularly and in small bites for maximum information retention—only strengthens your endpoint protection overall.       

Why an Incident Response Plan Can Improve Your Digital Perimeter

No matter how strong your digital perimeter or endpoint protection platform, you cannot prevent 100% of all cyber attacks. Eventually, sooner or later, a hacker will breach your network.

Don’t let this dishearten you. A strong digital perimeter can deter inexperienced hackers from even targeting you in the first place. Hackers are only human; they prefer easier targets with more attainable playoffs.

Moreover, both your endpoint security and your enterprise can handle the breach inevitability proactively. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) offers a threat detection capability, allowing your next-gen solution to hunt down penetrative threats after they break through the digital perimeter. Essentially, EDR offers another layer to your digital perimeter. Installing it forms an important step in your goal to improve your digital perimeter.

In addition, your enterprise can incorporate your employees and IT security team into this responsive layer with a clear incident response plan. The incident response plan, when properly implemented and maintained, allows your enterprise to detect, remediate, and respond to threats quickly; an IRP can significantly reduce attacker dwell time and seriously mitigate the damage a breach inflicts on your enterprise.

Implement a Next-Gen Endpoint Security Perimeter

Of course, the true first step to improve your digital perimeter is to select and deploy next-gen endpoint security solution. Only these solutions provide the capabilities and flexibility necessary to secure new IT environments, including the cloud.

The digital perimeter might be the first layer of your cybersecurity policies. You can think of its functions as the skin on the human body. Without it, you’ll be much more prone to infection. With it, you can feel far more comfortable interacting with the online world.

To learn more about next-gen endpoint security for your enterprise, you can check out our 2019 Buyer’s Guide.

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Ben Canner

Editor, Cybersecurity at Solutions Review
Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner
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