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What is application control, and how can it protect my business?

July 12, 2022

With cloud technology playing an increasingly central role in business operations, more employees are turning to web-based applications to get their jobs done.

However, managing the risks associated with these applications – and the network security threats they pose – presents a significant challenge for business owners and directors.

While cyber security protections are evolving as innovations and new technologies become available, cyber criminals are also getting smarter and finding ever more sophisticated ways of entering networks undetected.

End-users compound the problem by inviting threats using unapproved applications, clicking links they shouldn’t or opening malicious attachments in emails.

To combat such risks, many businesses are turning to application control technology to enhance their network security and gain more visibility and control over each application allowed to communicate on their networks.

Application control is software that manages and monitors applications running on devices – such as desktops, laptops and servers – within a network. It can help protect your business by allowing only approved applications to run and preventing malware or unauthorised applications from being installed.

This helps to ensure that only authorised users have access to the data and systems within your network, to protect your business from potential data breaches.

Endpoint security is another term for application control and refers to the devices (endpoints) used to access or store data. By using application control, businesses can protect their endpoints from malicious applications and improve their overall cyber security posture. Here, we take a closer look at why this is essential.

Why is endpoint security important?

Endpoint security refers to the measures taken to protect computers and other devices on a network from unauthorised access or infection.

An endpoint is any device that connects to a network, and the security measures taken to protect them are known as endpoint security solutions.

One of the most important aspects of endpoint security is protecting against malware and other types of attacks.

One way to do this is by using application control software, which can be used to ‘whitelist’, ‘blacklist’ or ‘ringfence’ specific applications to help protect against attacks launched through malicious applications. Application whitelisting allows only pre-approved applications to run. Conversely, application blacklisting blocks unauthorised applications from running.

And application ringfencing separates critical applications from the rest of the network, to reduce the risk of a successful cyber attack. To be effective, application ringfencing must be implemented correctly, with tight controls on which applications are allowed access specific parts of the network.

A properly implemented application ringfence can help to protect against ransomware attacks, data breaches and other malicious activity. It can also help to ensure that critical applications remain available in the event of a network outage or other disruption.

What is ‘zero trust’?

Cyber security experts recommend using endpoint security measures to create a ‘zero trust’ environment.

Zero trust is a cyber security model in which users are not automatically trusted by the network, so they must prove their identity before being granted access to resources. It helps protect businesses against malicious actors trying to gain access to sensitive data or systems through stolen credentials.

In a zero trust security posture, every interaction must be authenticated and authorised, regardless of where the user or system is located. There is no assumption that one device or user is more trustworthy than another. This makes it difficult for cyber criminals to move laterally within an organisation’s network, as they can’t rely on being able to jump from machine to machine using passwords or shared accounts.

Zero trust is a newer approach to endpoint security that doesn’t rely on predefined trust levels. Instead, every device and user is treated as potentially untrustworthy until proven otherwise.

This can be accomplished by using application control software to restrict access to only approved applications and using endpoint security technologies to identify and block malicious activity. Together, these technologies create a more secure environment in which users are authenticated before they are allowed to access company data.

Zero trust security models are often based on the idea of ‘least privilege’, which means that users and devices are given only the permissions they need to do their jobs. This limits the damage that can be done if a user’s credentials are compromised, and makes it more difficult for attackers to move around a network undetected.

Why is application control important?

In today’s increasingly digitised economy, application control should be viewed as a critical part of any organisation’s cyber security strategy. Implementing it has many business benefits.

First, application control can help protect against malware and other threats by allowing only authorised applications to run on endpoints. This can significantly reduce the risk of a cyber attack.

Second, application control can help improve compliance with regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR and other data protection legislation and cyber security standards.

By restricting the use of unauthorised applications, businesses can better ensure that sensitive data is not compromised.

Third, application control can help improve productivity by preventing users from installing unauthorised applications that can slow down or interfere with their work. This helps ensure that employees use only approved applications that have been tested and are known to be compatible with the organisation’s systems.

This, in turn, can help reduce IT costs by preventing unnecessary software installation on endpoints.

How can Quintech help?

Cyber security remains a priority for businesses of all sizes. With the cyber threat constantly evolving, keeping up to date with the latest technology, insight and best practices will help ensure your business doesn’t become easy prey for hackers and cyber criminals.

While larger businesses may have dedicated IT staff responsible for monitoring and securing the company’s networks and data, smaller businesses may not have the resources to do this themselves. This is where working with a strategic technology partner, like Quintech, can help.

We’ve partnered with ThreatLocker to help you create a zero trust security posture to keep your networks, data and devices safe. ThreatLocker combines application whitelisting with ringfencing in ways that make cyber security simple. By combining these techniques, your applications will not be exploited. This is a far cleaner and more comprehensive approach to ensuring malware does not end up on your networks.

We’ll work with you to assess your cyber security needs and identify the best ways to solve them.

We’ll also review your current IT security provision to see how it can be improved.

Get in touch today to find out more.

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