Securing the Desktop: Beyond Antivirus

For decades, as the computer industry and the Internet matured, the mantra for digital security on the desktop stayed much the same: make sure you have a good antivirus and keep it up to date. That is still sound advice, to be sure. However, as computers advanced so did the threats to them. Viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits, ransomware, social engineering, phishing. The many terms to describe the threats are only eclipsed by the number of threats there are.

Antivirus is no longer the only protection you need. In many cases, it is not even the best. Acumen Technology is ready with the tools your company needs to meet the security challenges of today. We are going to take a small dive into each.

Application Control

Antivirus applications work by reading behavior and intervening before something malicious can go too far. However, there are many protective solutions that go further. Application Control limits the applications that can run on the desktop. Application Control will first take a baseline scan of all known, good software on a machine. Then it locks down at the root level any variations on that baseline from running. Acumen Technology uses Application Control to ensure that only the software you have approved is running, and nothing else. Of course, businesses need flexibility to install and run software regularly, so our Secure Desktop solution will allow users to request access right from the desktop and we can have them going in minutes. When needed we can even provide temporary administrative rights for that specific instance to make it even easier.

Storage Control

Where app control focuses on the software, Storage Control focuses on your data and externally attached storage devices. It is a common hacker practice to drop a USB drive in the parking lot of a company and see if someone picks it up and tries to use it. The moment it is plugged in the malicious software embedded in the device will go to work. Our Secure Desktop software will prevent USB drives from being accessed. In addition, it will allow you to whitelist specific devices, or simply audit all the reads and writes to physically attached drives, network shared, or any other storage medium. Your company’s data does not move unless you say OKAY.

Device Encryption

Also required for a secure desktop, and by many regulatory and insurance bodies, is device encryption. Every PC data storage medium should be encrypted with a proven secure algorithm to render the data unreadable if stolen. The biggest challenge with implementing full device encryption is managing the ongoing need. All it takes is one device to slip through for data to get to the wrong hands. Acumen Technology’s Secure Desktop provides encryption enforcement and reporting. Our proprietary processes allow us to verify all your devices stay encrypted.

Web Filtering

The Internet is ubiquitous within business. Emails and websites are so integral to business it is hard to imagine life without them. Unfortunately, many, many locations on the internet are traps just waiting for an errant click to attack your desktops. Your best strategy is to never let the user reach these sites. Website filtering located at the desktop and laptop level ensures that users cannot mistakenly open a malware laden site. Acumen’s Secure Desktop will make sure this does not happen, with the added benefit of allowing content filtering as well if that is desired.

Other Things to Consider

There are many other things to consider with security. First is enforcing Multi-Factor Authentication for ALL users for ALL access. Second is ongoing security and phishing training to teach users how to spot threats. Third is both internal and external vulnerability scanning to find open doors that attackers could use.

Of course, all of this does not even touch on Network Security, like an enterprise class firewall, proper physical security, or the numerous other areas of a healthy security framework. It can certainly be overwhelming. Luckily, Acumen Technology is in your corner to help overcome the challenge.