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Protecting Endpoints with Encryption

June 24, 2008

Summary

How small to mid-sized businesses can prevent unauthorized access to data stored on endpoints.

Introduction

Endpoint encryption is extremely important, yet it is often overlooked by many small to mid-sized businesses. The ever-increasing variety of endpoints inside any given business can make protecting them all seem daunting. Consider the amount of data that resides on your business endpoints – especially data residing on laptops and other removable devices. Many (or all) of these endpoints contain sensitive information such as business data, financial records, or confidential customer information such as social security numbers, names, addresses, etc. Without encryption, all of this data is subject to any number of threats that are constantly evolving and increasing. Leaving the security of these devices to chance is a risk no business should take, as it is these devices that are at the root of many security incidents.
According to the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, theft or loss of computer or other data-storage medium was the cause of the most data breaches that could lead to identity theft during the second half of 2007, accounting for 57% of the total. While devices like laptops, removable media, handheld organizers, smartphones, memory sticks and cell phones all improve business productivity, they must be used with care. Now is the time for businesses to protect their endpoints with encryption – before the data on any of these endpoints is breached.
This article discusses solutions to prevent unauthorized access to data stored on endpoints that are easy to implement, and manage.

Reasons to encrypt

Most SMB IT professionals understand the need to safeguard data on their endpoints. Not only could data loss be bad for business in general, but it may also result in substantial fines and embarrassing public disclosures resulting from noncompliance with state, national, and international privacy laws when legally protected information is lost. In its September 2007 report, "Magic Quadrant for Mobile Data Protection," Gartner, Inc. found that "Interest in data protection is fueled by liability and privacy concerns. Legislation has become commonplace to require public disclosure in the event of real or suspected mishandling of personally identifiable information. If an asset is misplaced (not just stolen), mislabeled or otherwise unaccounted for, organizations are obligated to report the breach if the data was not adequately protected. Even if information is not misused, negative public exposure is expensive and embarrassing, and it damages buyer and investor confidence."
When an advanced endpoint encryption solution is deployed, encryption is transparent to the end user and performed with minimal performance impact. In addition, encryption:
  • Ensures protection of endpoints from unauthorized access
  • Prevents sensitive data exposure should a laptop be lost or stolen
  • Meets government regulations
Endpoint encryption provides a number of tangible business benefits as well. For example, it can eliminate the legal liabilities of a data breach. It can also reduce the time and cost of privacy compliance, as well as provide proof that no information has been lost.

A solution for endpoints

Symantec Endpoint Encryption offers both full disk encryption and removable storage encryption capabilities.
  • Symantec Endpoint Encryption – Full Disk Edition is the full disk encryption component, designed to protect data on the hard drive of Microsoft Windows-based machines.
  • Symantec Endpoint Encryption – Removable Storage Edition is the removable storage component, designed to protect data on USB, Firewire, Compact Flash, iPod, CD, DVDs, and other storage devices and removable media.

Conclusion

SMBs need to take steps to reduce the risks associated with data breaches by securing information throughout its lifecycle. The nature of endpoint protection is constantly changing, as the devices (and the threats facing them) evolve. Designed to protect sensitive information and mitigate the increasing risks of data loss, Symantec Endpoint Encryption is a scalable security offering that prevents unauthorized access to endpoints with strong encryption and access control technologies.

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