Combating endpoint management and security challenges in the COVID-19 era

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Establishing security protocols to empower a remote workforce

COVID-19 has had wide-reaching affects on nearly every industry, and the IT sector is no exception. With the added perils of remote management, sysadmins are struggling to maintain the front line of defense IT enterprises put forward. Application Control Plus can help secure remote work enabling sysadmins to prioritize tasks that are crucial for the seamless functioning of their organization's everyday operations.

How application control can enhance remote work

The two pillars of maintaining any good business are security and productivity, and both have taken major hits in the new work-from-home norm. Application control concentrates on both these pillars equally, making it a comprehensive solution for maintaining productivity without compromising on the remote workforce security .

91 percent of cyberattacks begin with spear phishing emails. This already alarming number is showing a 350 percent surge due to the recent scams capitalizing on peoples fears surrounding the pandemic. Users are tricked into opening emails from malicious entities posing as trusted health officials or public organizations; these emails often come with a malicious attachment, often in the form of an EXE.

These EXEs might launch malware or even execute Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks in the user's device, causing damage to data. With the work-from-home environment, employees are more susceptible than ever to falling prey to such phishing attacks.

With Application Control Plus, you can keep your remote workforce far away from such threats by leveraging whitelisting and allowing only trusted executables to run.

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Vulnerabilities that are publicly disclosed but have no available patches are called zero-day vulnerabilities. These attacks are the most dangerous as they come with no fixes. Users running applications with such vulnerabilities can be huge risks to the entire organization's well-being.

With employees worldwide working remotely, no risks can be taken. Considering the lack of service facilities for remote workers, if an attack were to corrupt and shut down their devices, all working operations would come to a halt. This is why zero-day vulnerabilities need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Minimize the attack surface by using Application Control Plus to proactively whitelist secure applications that are necessary for business purposes. You can also secure remote work by using the blacklisting feature to instantly block applications that are found to have zero-day vulnerabilities.

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It's no secret that remote employees depend on their home internet connection to carry out their daily tasks. Patching applications while simultaneously trying to carry out their regular work routine can require quite a bit of bandwidth.

Using Application Control Plus' blacklisting feature, all unnecessary applications can be blocked. This would help employees lower their bandwidth consumption by downloading only essential updates. Additionally, limiting the number of applications employees can use helps take some weight off the IT administrator's shoulders, as they would have fewer software instances to manage.

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Drops in productivity are expected to be the biggest challenge that organizations will face with all their employees working from home. The blurring lines between personal and professional lives can be distracting and entice employees to use non-business-critical applications during their work hours. Along with impacting productivity, this practice can also present the risk of malware finding its way onto employees' devices.

With Application Control Plus, you can maintain strict authority and ensure that only secure applications are running in your employee's devices. Prohibiting applications like games and media players can help employees remain focused even if they aren't physically present in the office.

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Privilege management is crucial now that employees are taking confidential business data home. Devices left unsupervised in personal spaces can pave way to a plethora of threats, and if the employee happens to have administrator privileges, the risk is even greater.

Privileges need to be lowered to the standard user level unless absolutely necessary. So what happens when employees need to run particular applications as administrators for critical tasks?

Normally, enterprises would have to compromise on security in return for productivity. But with Application Control Plus' Endpoint Privilege Management feature, enterprises can selectively grant application-specific privileges to users without elevating their standard account or compromising the admin's privileged credentials.

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Visibility is everything. Use Application Control Plus' lightweight agent-based technology to ensure that endpoints are periodically scanned even while being used remotely. Data of all discovered applications can be swiftly brought to the admin's notice through the centralized web console, enabling policies to be deployed to your remote workforce easily from anywhere at any time.

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 Remote Workforce Security | WFH - ManageEngine Application Control Plus

About Application Control Plus

Application Control Plus helps enterprises gain a holistic view of their networks by aiding in the instant discovery and categorization of authorized and unauthorized applications. With application-level privilege management and rule-based whitelisting and blacklisting, Application Control Plus ensures only authorized access occurs, minimizing an enterprise’s attack surface while simultaneously helping it maintain its productivity levels.