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Endpoint Police: The Police Officer

Today, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group, as much as 50 per cent of corporate data is created, stored and transmitted on mobile endpoint devices. While datacentre security remains important, endpoint security and data protection is the new security frontier.

In this first of a four-part series of articles, EMEA Managing Director for Code42 Andy Hardy explores how endpoint security impacts the roles of all levels of the IT workforce - from technician to CIO.

Walking the beat

An IT technician is often the first point of contact for many data issues. Like a bobby walking the beat, they are called upon to solve any and all minor tech problems that staff encounter. These issues range from restoring a damaged or hacked laptop, through to maintaining the frontline digital security of the company.

Ensuring employee access to the corporate network and its data is a technician’s main priority - often against all odds. Technicians have to do more with less, having smaller budgets and never quite enough people to get the job done. Nevertheless, an IT technician, much like a police officer, has to work with what he or she has and provide a sense of order.

The IT technician also faces a battle against the clock when policing company data. Restoring laptops, repairing hardware and maintaining data security all consume valuable resources and personnel. In order for the technicians to efficiently walk their beat, they need simple processes and systems that will help them to gain visibility of data, streamline their duties and protect company data from outside interference, even when it is on the move.

Finding the right tools

The police officer can no longer afford to rely on perimeter protection alone, as corporate firewalls aren’t guaranteed to hold up against all cyber attacks or insider threats. These solutions provide a first line of defence, but without any contingency they are not an entirely risk-free strategy. It is like an officer wearing his uniform without a bulletproof vest. After all, 80 per cent of corporate cybercrimes can initially be traced back to staff.

Technicians therefore need to put better security measures in place. Appropriate solutions will help the IT department to save time and closely monitor company data, and transfer some of the responsibility of IT maintenance onto the user - without making the process over-complicated.

The right endpoint data security solution will be able to track data to within minute (not hour) intervals, in near real-time - giving technicians unprecedented visibility of how data moves. More than just tracking data movement, the best solutions will also be able to give technicians visibility on when data has been changed or updated, and by whom. They will also free up the user to restore a hacked or lost device’s data herself, in just a few simple clicks.

In other words, the right solution, with a click of a button, will give the police officer an almost omnipresent ability to survey his surroundings. Based on this visibility the officer will be able to act, or get the community involved in helping to protect the streets.

Migrating the company

Whilst it is their duty to protect and serve the digital needs of the organisation, IT technicians must also anticipate and prepare for monumental data shifts in the company. Whether that is major updates to systems, changing devices or implementing new technology - the technician needs to be prepared.

Take enterprise migrations, such as an operating system migration or a client technology refresh. A migration is usually an ‘all hands on’ effort, if not an inter-departmental challenge. Traditionally the technician had to systematically back up individual devices, user settings and data - which took up valuable time and a lot of resources. However, once again with the right software solution in place - a migration can be easily streamlined, taking care of not only individual day-to-day backup and restore problems technicians face, but also handling migration on a large departmental or company-wide scale.

Even though their responsibilities are numerous, the IT police officers are not alone. Their day-to-day roles are complemented by members of the organisation in charge of different issues and who hold different responsibilities. If a company suffers a data breach, the IT team often requires a specialist’s involvement. Much like the first responders to a crime, the technician has to maintain calm whilst the forensic investigators handle the inspection.

Once the specialists are at the crime scene, the police officer moves on, returning to his beat and responding again to the calls from all over the company; ensuring the organisation keeps on ticking as before.

Andy Hardy, MD EMEA at Code42