Author Archives: Shailaja Shankar

Endpoint’s Relevance in the World of Cloud

Businesses everywhere are looking to cloud solutions to help expedite processes and improve their data storage strategy. All anyone is talking about these days is the cloud, seemingly dwindling the conversation around individual devices and their security. However, many don’t realize these endpoint devices act as gateways to the cloud, which makes their security more pressing than ever. In fact, there is a unique relationship between endpoint security and cloud security, making it crucial for businesses to understand how this dynamic affects information security overall. Let’s explore exactly how these two are intertwined and how exactly endpoint security can move the needle when it comes to securing the cloud.

Cloudier Skies

Between public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and now multi-cloud, the cloud technology industry is massive and showing zero signs of slowing down. Adoption is rampant, with the cloud market expected to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5%, with public cloud services spending reaching $370 billion in 2022. With cloud adoption drawing so much attention from businesses, it’s as important as ever that enterprises keep security top of mind.

This need for security is only magnified by the latest trend in cloud tech – the multi-cloud strategy. With modern-day businesses having such a diverse set of needs, many have adopted either a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy in order to effectively organize and store a plethora of data – 74 percent of enterprises, as a matter of fact. This has many security vendors and personnel scrambling to adjust security architecture to meet the needs of the modern cloud strategy. And though all businesses must have an effective security plan in place that compliments their cloud architecture, these security plans should always still consider how these clouds can become compromised through individual gateways, or, endpoint devices.

The Relationship Between Endpoint and Cloud

The cloud may be a virtual warehouse for your data, but every warehouse has a door or two. Endpoint devices act as doors to the cloud, as these mobile phones, computers, and more all connect to whichever cloud architecture an organization has implemented. That means that one endpoint device, if misused or mishandled, could create a vulnerable gateway to the cloud and therefore cause it to become compromised. Mind you – endpoint devices are not only gateways to the cloud, but also the last line of defense protecting an organization’s network in general.

Endpoint is not only relevant in the world of cloud – it has a direct impact on an organization’s cloud – and overall – security. A compromised endpoint can lead to an exposed cloud, which could make for major data loss. Businesses need to therefore put processes into place that outline what assets users put where and state any need-to-knows they should have top of mind when using the cloud. Additionally, it’s equally important every business ensures they make the correct investment in cloud and endpoint security solutions that perfectly complement these processes.

 Ensuring Security Strategy Is Holistic

As the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, we at McAfee understand how important the connection is between endpoint and cloud and how vital it is businesses ensure both are secured. That’s why we’ve built out a holistic security strategy, offering both cloud security solutions and advanced endpoint products that help an organization cover all its bases.

If your business follows a holistic approach to security – covering every endpoint through to every cloud – you’ll be able to prevent data exposures from happening. From there, you can have peace of mind about endpoint threats and focus on reaping the benefits of a smart cloud strategy.

To learn more about our approach to endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business, and read more in our latest paper:

 

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Effective Endpoint Security Strategy 101

Every organization wants to expedite processes, reduce costs, and bolster their staff. And in today’s modern digital world, these objectives are largely attainable, but can occasionally come with some unwarranted side effects. With all the devices an organization uses to achieve its business’ goals, things can occasionally get lost in the shuffle, and cybersecurity issues can emerge as a result. Balancing your business’ objectives while ensuring your organization’s data is secure can be a challenge for many. But that challenge can be assuaged by addressing cyberthreats at the start – the endpoint. Adopting an effective endpoint protection strategy is crucial for a modern-day organization and defines a strong security posture. In fact, the importance of endpoint security has even caught the eye of venture capitalist firms, who are investing billions a year in the cybersecurity sector. But what exactly are the components of a successful endpoint security strategy? Let’s break it down.

Ensure the Basics Are in Place

If there’s one thing my previous experience with consumer security has taught me, it’s that the proliferation of connected devices is showing no signs of slowing. The same goes for the connected devices leveraged by businesses day in and day out. Organizations often give multiple devices to their workers that will be used to communicate and contain crucial business-specific information. These devices are used by employees that go just about anywhere and do just about everything, so it’s important businesses equip their people with the tools they need to protect these devices and the data they safehouse.

The first important tool – VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks. The modern workforce is a mobile one, and professionals everywhere are carrying their devices with them as they travel and connect to public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are not typically the most secure, and VPNs can help ensure those mobile devices connect securely to avoid potentially exposing data.

These devices should always have strong authentication as well, which acts as the first line of defense for any security issues that arise. Remind everyone that their devices should be locked with a strong and complex password that acts as the gatekeeper for their device. That way, the company will be protected if that individual endpoint device becomes lost or stolen.

Empower Your Employees to Do Their Part

One of the most important tools to equip your employees with is proper security training. In order to keep endpoint devices safe and networks secure, employees should undergo regular security training sessions. This training should keep everyone up-to-date on the latest threats, the necessary precautions they need to take when browsing the web, and how their individual devices can impact an organization’s network.

One main point to hit upon during employee security training – the importance of updates. Updating your device software can feel like a menial task, but the gravitas behind the ask cannot be understated. Outdated software was the cause of the WannaCry global cyberattack and will be a differentiator moving forward for when attacks do come after individual endpoint devices.

Make Predictive Technology an Essential

Now, in order to anticipate major cyberattacks like WannaCry, adopting predictive technology for your endpoint security strategy is of the utmost importance, as these innovations can be used to guide your incident response strategy. Take it from hundreds of IT professionals, who in a recent SANS survey expressed that predictive technologies – such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) – are required in order to go from already knowing bad elements to focusing on identification of abnormal behavior.

ML and AI technology are also particularly crucial for visibility. This technology can empower security teams to gain insight into their endpoint detection and response systems, which automatically reduces the time required to address threats. Therefore, businesses need to have this predictive technology in place to anticipate and quickly gain insight into all threats affecting their organization’s network.

Adopt Innovative Technology

For those unsure where to start when it comes to AI and ML, there’s good news – there are actually endpoint security solutions out there that have predictive technology included in their build. Solutions such as McAfee MVISION Mobile and McAfee MVISION Endpoint have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help identify malicious behavior and attack patterns affecting endpoint devices.

Innovative solutions such as these will act as the cherry on top of your endpoint security strategy. So, it is crucial to take the time to invest in the right technology, irrespective of the nature of your enterprise. By creating the right combination of process and product, your organization’s network will be secure, and you won’t have to pick between business growth and a healthy security posture.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business, and read more in our latest paper: Five Ways to Rethink Your Endpoint Protection Strategy.

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From Mobile and ISP to Endpoint Engineering: Undergoing a Role Transition in the Security Industry

The technology around us is constantly changing, and cybersecurity practices are evolving to match these new innovations. As the cybersecurity landscape shifts to meet the needs presented by new technology, opportunities arise for cybersecurity professionals to step into new roles – an experience I recently underwent myself. I’ve recently shifted from McAfee’s Mobile and ISP Business Unit to our Enterprise Endpoint Engineering team, a transition that has given me the opportunity to leverage what I’ve learned in the industry and step forward as a leading woman in tech.

Through this process, I’ve seen first-hand how growth opportunities within the cybersecurity field are beneficial for both individuals and the future of the security industry as well. For example, my transition allows me to apply my past experience and knowledge to a new area of security. Previously, I specialized in engineering solutions that protected mobile, IoT, and smart home devices. However, with my transition into this new role, I am still protecting individual endpoint devices, but rather in a new type of environment — an organization’s network.

Just like the ever-growing number of IoT devices connecting to users’ home networks, endpoint devices are popping up everywhere in corporate networks these days. As we add more endpoint devices to corporate networks, there is a growing need to ensure their security.  Endpoint security, or endpoint protection, are systems that protect computers and other devices on a network or in the cloud from security threats. End-user devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop PCs are all classified as endpoints, and these devices are all now rapidly connecting to an organization’s network with every employee, partner, and client that enters the building. That’s why it’s imperative companies prioritize a robust and agile endpoint security strategy so that all of their network users can connect with confidence. Similar to securing all the personal devices on a home network, it’s a sizable challenge to secure all corporate endpoints. And my new team, the McAfee Enterprise Endpoint Engineering group, is here to help with exactly that.

Leading consumer engineering taught me how to make security simple for a home user’s consumption. How to protect what matters to a user without them being experts on the threat landscape or security vulnerabilities, security breaches and campaigns around device, data, cloud and network. This is something I plan to bring to the new role. Leading a business unit focused on delivering security through mobile carriers and ISPs taught me the strength of bringing together an ecosystem both on technology and the channel to solve end users’ security needs in a holistic way. That ecosystem view is another that I bring to this role, besides leading engineering from the lens of growing the business.

This transition is not only exciting from a personal perspective but also because it is a testament to the progress that is being seen across the cybersecurity industry as a whole. There’s a lot to be said about the vast opportunities that the cybersecurity field has to offer, especially for women looking to build a career in the field. Cybercriminals and threat actors often come from diverse backgrounds. The wider the variety of people we have defending our networks, the better our chances of mitigating cyberthreats. From there, we’ll put ourselves in the best position possible to create change – not only within the industry but within the threat landscape as a whole.

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Verizon Teams Up with McAfee to Secure Today’s Connected Home

Few fields and industries change as rapidly as those in the technology sector. This fast-moving, adaptable and growing sector creates new applications, new devices, and new efficiencies designed to make our everyday lives easier — sometimes in ways we’ve never imagined. But more devices and applications, from a security standpoint, means cybercriminals could have more opportunities to take advantage of flaws to conduct attacks. Additionally, the rapid growth in both software and hardware means today’s consumers are tasked with securing a plethora of personal devices.

This is not a sustainable path to a secure today’s technology landscape, one that’s continually growing and changing with each new addition. If we are going to continue to build a robust future, one including the rich potential inherent in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, we need a dynamic security solution that scales to meet the needs of modern-day society.

And that need is growing. According to a study from Market Research Future, the IoT market is set to potentially reach $124 billion in value by 2023 — only five years from now. Plus, Gartner predicts that there will be over 20 billion smart devices by 2020. That number is likely to grow, too.

That’s why we’ve worked with Verizon to launch Home Network Protection (HNP), a comprehensive security platform powered by McAfee Secure Home Platform, which has been designed to help safeguard consumers’ home networks. It does so through a robust, secure router designed to shield both traditional and newer IoT devices from malicious websites. It’s a proactive approach designed to keep consumer devices as safe as possible.

Customers using Fios by Verizon, a 100 percent fiber-optic network, and the Fios Quantum Gateway router can use HNP to secure their internet-connected devices, including smart cameras, baby monitors, television sets, and thermostats.

This is a massive milestone for consumer security in today’s digital age. Through a single provider, millions of consumers can access seamless protection from the latest threats — making modern conveniences easier to secure.

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