Endpoint Data Protection – A Market Update

Written By: Nigel Stanley
Published:
Content Copyright © 2008 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Bloor Research has just released a Market Update covering
Endpoint Data Protection. But what does this mean?

An endpoint is defined as any user device capable of
storing electronic data and encompasses traditional PCs through to smart
handheld devices, cell phones, memory sticks, CDs and DVDs.

Data protection is now a strategic imperative and the
purchase of a solution will increasingly be influenced by business executives.
Similarly it is the role of IT security to step up to the mark and support the
safe and secure use of these business tools using a strategic approach. This is
far more cost effective than tactical endpoint solutions that address the
problem piecemeal.

The following technology areas comprise the endpoint protection
domain:

  • Hard disk
    encryption
  • Removable
    storage encryption
  • Internal and
    external PC port and device connection control
  • External device
    control
  • Multi-factor
    authentication products
  • Mobile device
    encryption and control
  • File type
    control

As organisations move from securing their basic IT
systems through to managing their ever disappearing perimeters they will
quickly realise that the threat of data loss from an insider is probably the
biggest security risk they will face.

In the majority of instances this threat is from an
incompetent/non-malicious source rather than a competent/malicious source. In
other words the threat is due to accident rather than a deliberate criminal
act.

Practically the steps that need to be taken to protect an
organisation against endpoint data loss are the same whichever threat you are
dealing with. What is important is that any technology that is implemented is
part of a strategic approach that encompasses user education and policy
enforcement. A specific problem that is dealt with by papering over the cracks
will soon reveal its weaknesses.

Vendors are starting to look for new and innovative ways
to protect data and, where necessary, will partner with or purchase another vendor to
bolster their product portfolio. Potential customers need to be aware of this
when reviewing products as vendor integration inevitably takes time.

A number of smaller vendors have very compelling point
solutions that can be deployed quickly and easily. This is a very attractive
way to solve a pressing business problem but care needs to be taken that the
solution will fit an organisation’s IT security strategy. Medium to long term, a
quick tactical fix can end up causing
significant problems to later strategic implementations.

Smaller vendors also need to be examined for their
stability. Whilst a number offer what appears to be a good solution, their lack
of infrastructure and geographical remoteness could be a matter of concern.
Having multiple offices is no guarantee of vendor success, but it does give the
majority of buyers a better feeling of confidence. Lack of references and
public case studies should further concern potential purchasers.

Key management has, and continues to be, a problem for
encryption vendors. With today’s often transient workforce, key recovery has
become a major headache for many organisations who appear, in many cases, to
regret taking on system wide encryption in the first instance. Many vendors are
looking for new ways of solving the encryption key problem but very few, if
any, seem to have solved it to satisfactorily.

Some vendors are entering the endpoint protection market as a result of their skills in remote
software management, auditing and deployment. Care needs to be taken with such
vendors as they still need to demonstrate an understanding of the security
issues rather than the administration issues alone.

The endpoint protection market is set to grow and develop
in line with new threat vectors and technological improvements, and both
vendors and customers need to monitor the domain regularly to ensure they are
not left behind.

Vendors researched for the paper include; PGP,
GuardianEdge, Credant Technologies, Checkpoint, Lumension Security, Vontu,
McAfee, Utimaco, Symantec, BeCrypt, Microsoft, BigFix, Centennial, Entrust,
GFI, DES, Safend, iAnywhere, Information Security Corp, Mobile Armor,
TrueCrypt, WinMagic and DeKart.

The paper can be downloaded free of charge from
www.BloorAnswers.com.