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How to secure the endpoint

Endpoint security management is a policy-based approach to network security that requires endpoint devices to comply with specific criteria before they are granted access to network resources. Endpoints can include PCs, laptops, smart phones, tablets and specialised equipment such as bar code readers or point of sale (PoS) terminals. Industry experts share insights on how solution provider partners can help their customers to secure the endpoint.

Endpoint security management systems, which can be purchased as software or as a dedicated appliance, discover, manage and control computing devices that request access to the corporate network. Industry experts share insights how channel partners in MEA can helping their clients to develop comprehensive endpoint security management policies.

Pundits warn that in today’s world, without the use of proper tools such as endpoint protection on host computers and proper data security practices, users with careless attitude towards using unencrypted portable devices such as laptops, tablets and USB storage leave themselves and others exposed to possible data breaches that could be costly to the end user and can even compromise an entire organisation or government.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the cybersecurity market in the Middle East and Africa  (MEA) was valued at US$1,903.59 million in 2020 and it is expected to reach US$2,893.40 million by 2026, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.92% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026.

Samer El Kodsi, Channel Sales Director, Emerging Markets, EMEA, Palo Alto Networks, said: “We anticipate the demand for endpoint security to continue to grow across all regions, especially with the onset of the pandemic. The predicted global endpoint security market size is projected to grow from US$13.99 billion in 2021 to US $24.58 billion in 2028, as per Fortune Business Insights – with strong implementation of endpoint protection in MEA to reduce the rising data breaches.”

Antoine Harb, Team Leader Middle East and North Africa, Kingston Technology, said although it’s hard to determine specific numbers on the size and growth of the endpoint security market, it includes a huge range of devices and encryption for both software and hardware. “In order to get a feeling of its size, partners need to think of every PC, laptop, tablet, USB drive and many more devices which are given to or in use by employees but handle company data,” he said.

Harb said data protection and cyber security can feel like a daunting responsibility. “The requirements for digital work have changed significantly with employees having the ability to decide for themselves when, where and with which devices they work with. The right combination of hardware-based encrypted USB drives and endpoint software management can help organisations to gain control of their organisation’s devices,” he said. “However, in terms of challenges faced when implementing endpoint security, it is necessary to provide a strong encryption type of devices that do not slow down the host system. Such advantage can be found in hardware encrypted USBs for example, which do not use the host resources when encrypting the data.”

He added that another benefit of hardware encrypted USB drives is, that they are easy to deploy and the application launcher interface is user-friendly.

Palo Alto Networks’ El Kodsi explained that as a general rule, channel partners must evolve their strategies as per the latest technologies and innovations. “Digital Transformation is now becoming a huge player in successful channel partnerships. As part of its commitment to enabling the growth of our partners, Palo Alto Networks has recently launched the NextWave 3.0, designed to strengthen its offerings to enable partners differentiate their services, build new security expertise and grow profitable businesses. NextWave 3.0 will also help enable digital transformation for our partners,” he added.

Jim Holland, Regional Director, Africa, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, said

partners need to consider every component of the solution they are positioning, and this means deep diving exactly what it is each recommended vendor solution actually does to mitigate the possibility of cyberattacks. “For example, we at Lenovo manufacture from board level but we do so with more flexibility than our competitors, often sourcing components when necessary without relying solely on original design manufacturers (ODMs) – this enables a certain agility that enables us to reshape, rebuild, refresh solutions as and when new threats emerge,” he said.

Holland pointed out that given the challenges channel partners face when selecting an endpoint security solutions, the system integrator is not involved in the decision on the end-to-end solution and only plug in as part of the stack. “This means they cannot have the control over the risk of cyberattacks across the entire end-to-end solution,” he said. “Vendors can achieve this by introducing simpler approaches to training, consistent sharing of market intelligence and even guidance for SIs in as far as specific implementation challenges are concerned.”

He added that another vital consideration on the radar now is increasing security in as far as the consumer is concerned. “As things stand, it is the customer or the end-user driving the growing movement towards Edge Computing, so we encourage the use of LTE connectivity over Wi-Fi, which increases security,” he said.

With the drive towards Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Computing growing exponentially, the skills gap is increasing as quickly as the surface area of prone attacks.

Harb said at Kingston, the company strongly believes that education in the channel is the best approach to ensure that IT partners have the tools to explain why and how to protect data. “Getting this information across all channels will help to form a bigger network of people who understand that their data needs to be protected and that there are vulnerabilities that can be eradicated through endpoint security, encryption, anti-malware software and more,” he said.

Holland explained that this in turn yields an opportunity for all partners who know how to quantify and qualify the associated risks. “The sooner channel partners understand the opportunity around Edge and IoT type solutions, the better they can become equipped to deliver against the promise, whilst also guiding end-user customers appropriately,” he said. “In addition to understanding the full spectrum of solutions available to address the various risks on the endpoint, understanding these risks associated with every endpoint device on the network, including

virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions, systems integrators will have to be more on their game than ever before in terms of upskilling and training.”

Given that most organisations are promoting remote working and adopting hybrid work models, solution providers need to be at the forefront of helping their customers to develop a comprehensive endpoint security management policies.

El Kodsi pointed out that the pandemic has altered the ways of living, working and doing business, forever. “With the adoption of remote or hybrid work models, channel partners need to work closely with CIOs, CISOs or IT leads of organisations to have full visibility into remote user activity. Security teams need to monitor a new host of endpoint devices for malware, fileless attacks and threats targeting remote users,” he said. “Rather than only investing in point solutions, organisations need to consider security platforms to maximise integration between systems.”

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