A difficult 12 months for global IT Security
IT Security continues to be a huge talking point with a record number of ransomware outbreaks being reported in 2016 and 2017. In fact there was a 4.3x increase in the number of Ransomware attacks in Q1 2017 versus the same time last year. Many businesses are tempted to baton down the hatches and patch their infrastructure with the latest “Must-have” solution. However, the ever evolving ‘threatscape’ requires a calm head and a little bit of diligence can pay off when it comes to securing your business’s IT.
Some providers can promise it all in the form of an end-to-end solution but can often leave you exposed. After all, security is a specialised game and knowing the difference between protecting users day to day while also playing night-guard at the network level is fundamental to your business’s survival.
For this piece, I caught up with Stephen Collopy, Solutions Architect and Cyber Security expert at ActionPoint. Together we examine security solutions at every level from desktop to firewall, to save you time and money on your next security purchase.
Endpoint (User Level/Desktop)
Any device, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop, provides an entry point for malicious entities. Endpoint security aims to adequately secure every connection to a network by blocking access attempts and other risky activity at these points of entry. As more enterprises adopt practices such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and remote/mobile employees, the enterprise network security perimeter has essentially dissolved.
Antivirus is the most fundamental level of security for your organisation as it sits on all your team’s desktops. Using an anti-virus that is both lightweight but still rigorous is the trick here. Stephen recommends ‘Sophos Antivirus’ as a solution to fulfill the above criteria here.
For mobile devices, ‘Sophos Antivirus’ is available to download from the Playstore. For IoS users, Sophos does not provide ‘Antivirus’ because of Apple’s walled garden app environment explained in more detail here. That is not to suggest that IoS devices are more exposed to threats, quite the contrary, as this ‘wall-garden environment’ actually keeps the bad guys out!
Steve’s Tip: Sophos’ Antivirus is an excellent piece of kit. It is lightweight meaning it won’t slow down machines while giving you, the business owner, some peace of mind.
Encryption: After securing devices with an antivirus, you must be also sure that your data is encrypted. Sophos offers SafeGuard as a product suite to suit different needs.
There are 3 levels in this product suite; SafeGuard Disk Encryption, SafeGuard File Encryption and SafeGuard Enterprise. The latter is the most comprehensive. Some KEY features you can expect from SafeGuard include:
- Application-aware encryption that’s always on
- Synchronized Encryption proactively protects data against threats
- Comprehensive encryption across platforms and devices
- Transparent encryption process for secure collaboration
- Proof-of-compliance reporting
Steve’s Tip: We all want the very best functionality but Safeguard Enterprise may not make economic sense for your organisation. Seek an expert assessment of your company’s infrastructure and operational needs and decide on the best fit for your organisation.
A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted, secure internal network and another outside network, such as the Internet, that is assumed not to be secure or trusted. That being said, firewall security is of utmost importance as it blocks malware and viruses before they can attack your internal infrastructure.
Sophos’ XG Firewall is an award winning firewall solution. One of the key features is the XG’s system panel which allows IT managers to monitor a range of activity from active threats to users carrying the highest risk. This dashboard is a leader in User Interface Design. When it comes to setting rules and filtering, the Sophos XG can be adjusted in a couple of clicks. Sophos’ XG covers everything from your email encryption and mobile NAC, unlimited IPSEC VPN connections, effective wireless, and off-premise content filtering. According to IT Pro, “The XG135W is a highly versatile UTM appliance combining top performance with stunningly good value.”
As an alternative to Sophos XG, there is Sonicwall (Formerly a Dell subsidiary). Sonicwall is another excellent ‘Next-Gen’ firewall solution featuring Multi-engine advanced threat analysis, Broad file type analysis, Block until verdict functionality and Rapid deployment of remediation signatures. Both firewalls offer great value in Next Gen protection and the jury is undecided when it comes to crowning an overall champion.
Steve’s Tip: The Sophos XG is a very powerful piece of kit and our clients that use it have all had very good experiences, There are 14 different versions of the XG on the market and we are happy to sit down and talk you through the best options for your firewall security.
Most of the security products reviews today comes from our partner Sophos. ActionPoint have been a Sophos partner for more than 4 years now meaning that we are experts in Sophos’ expansive suite of security technologies.
If you would like to learn more about our security offering and award winning managed services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Further Reading: Is your Security Partner up to scratch?? Jonathan Deane asks the hard questions in this indepth piece.