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 someone wanted to offer you an endpoint security product, you knew exactly what devices that software application was going to protect. But when I hear someone delicately mention endpoints today, The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya enters my mind: “You keep using that word. I don’t think it indicates exactly what you believe it indicates.” Today an endpoint could be nearly any kind of device.
In all honesty, endpoints are so diverse today that individuals have reverted to calling them “things.” According to Gartner at the end of 2016 there were more than six billion “things” connected to the web. The consulting firm forecasts that this number will increase to 21 billion by the year 2020. Business utilization of these things will be both generic (e.g. connected light bulbs and Heating and Cooling systems) and market specific (e.g. oil well safety monitoring). For IT and security teams responsible for connecting and securing endpoints, this is just half of the new difficulty, nevertheless. The acceptance of virtualization innovation has redefined what an endpoint is, even in environments where these groups have actually traditionally run.
The previous decade has seen an enormous modification in the way end users gain access to information. Physical devices continue to become more mobile with many information workers now doing the majority of their computing and communication on laptop computers and cellphones. More notably, everybody is becoming an information employee. Today, better instrumentation and monitoring has enabled levels of data collection and analysis that can make the insertion of info-tech into practically any task lucrative.
At the same time, more standard IT assets, particularly servers, are becoming virtualized to remove some of the traditional restrictions in actually having those assets connected to physical devices.
These 2 patterns together will affect security groups in important ways. The universe of “endpoints” will consist of billions of long lived and unsecure IoT endpoints along with billions of virtual endpoint instances that will be scaled up and down as needed as well as migrated to different physical locations on demand.
Organizations will have extremely different worries about these two basic types of endpoints. Over their life times, IoT devices will have to be safeguarded from a host of dangers a few of which have yet to be dreamed up. Monitoring and securing these devices will need advanced detection capabilities. On the plus side, it will be possible to preserve well-defined log data to allow forensic examination.
Virtual endpoints, on the other hand, present their own essential concerns. The ability to move their physical location makes it much more tough to guarantee right security policies are constantly connected to the endpoint. The practice of re-imaging virtual endpoints can make forensic investigation hard, as essential data is normally lost when a new image is applied.
So it doesn’t matter what word or phrases are utilized to explain your endpoints – endpoint, systems, client device, user device, mobile phone, server, virtual device, container, cloud workload, IoT device, and so on – it is important to understand exactly what someone indicates when they use the term endpoint.