Face the developing threat landscape head-on
Today, Avecto are very excited to announce our latest and greatest release, Privilege Guard 3.8.
Packed with unique and innovative features, version 3.8 really does set Privilege Guard apart in terms of our ability to solve real challenges when implementing least privilege. Our experience in delivering successful projects to some of the world’s largest organizations has helped us understand what is important; ensuring that users are given a seamless, hassle-free and productive experience when logged on as a standard user. Continue reading
Bad privilege management is as dangerous as none
Utilizing tools native to the operating system to convert Windows networks to an environment in which administrator-level privileges are the justified exception rather than the rule is often mistakenly seen as a discrete destination when it is really part of a long, on going, complicated journey.
It’s an easy mistake to make. Many organizations find themselves simultaneously running up to three significant generations of Windows; XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8, plus one or two way points in between such as Vista and Service Packs. Each one of these comes with slightly different ways to manage standard and administrator accounts. These include the evolving controls in User Account Control (UAC) and related technologies such as XP’s prototype whitelisting Software Restriction Policies (SRP) and 7′s AppLocker. Continue reading
64% of IT security professionals believe malware incidents to be a significant reason for the increase in IT operating expenses (2013 State of The Endpoint, Ponemon)
Today’s malware is increasingly sophisticated, taking advantage of normal user behaviour to gain a foothold within your organization. Web browsers, media plugins, Java exploits and removable media are amongst the most common vectors of introduction and each of these require an unknowing user at the keyboard to access the ‘trojan’ content.
However, in order to infect your corporate environment and take hold of your critical systems, malware requires access to an administrator account. Implementing least privilege means removing vulnerable admin accounts whilst assigning privileges to individual applications based on user need.
In 2012, IT professionals voted effective Privilege Management as the most valuable tool for reducing IT risk (2013 State of The Endpoint, Ponemon)
90% of Windows security vulnerabilities will be mitigated overnight when you remove admin rights from your organization. Further Gartner studies have concluded that the least risk Windows 7 desktop can be delivered only where traditional methods of endpoint protection are deployed across standard user accounts.
Optimizing security, increasing operational efficiency and simply demonstrating return on investment from your projects can become somewhat of a juggling act for IT professionals. Prioritizing a least privilege implementation project will allow you to ‘tick the box’ for each of these key deliverables.
Don’t let privilege creep be the downfall of a project to secure your company’s IT systems.
What is Privilege Creep?
Despite the work Microsoft has done to make Windows easier to run with standard user access, some Windows features and legacy applications still require administrative privileges. When users experience an issue, the first step that the helpdesk often takes is to grant administrative privileges to check that the problem isn’t caused by a lack of access rights.
Even if the problem turns out not to be caused by standard user permissions, administrative privileges are often deliberately left in place so that the user doesn’t continue to call the helpdesk, or the privileges are simply forgotten and never removed. This phenomena of moving from standard user privileges to administrative rights is referred to by system administrators as privilege creep. Continue reading
How you could reduce the cost of downtime by 70%
“Organizations which have a one size fits all approach to PC lock-down will have a higher TCO than organizations that optimize their policies based on user needs” (Gartner)
Optimizing desktop and server security may seem to have little to do with your organization’s profit and loss, share price and bottom line, but going beyond anti-virus protection can have a significant impact on user productivity and total cost of ownership.
Driving Employee Productivity with Least Privilege…
Anyone who has run Windows 7 or Windows 8 as a standard user will know that these PCs naturally perform more consistently and more reliably if compared to the same system running with administrative privileges.
At first glance, this scenario should lead to a more productive workforce; it would seem to follow that there’d be less down time experienced due the more reliable system provided, right? Wrong. Continue reading
In an era where 67% of security professionals believe that they do not have ample resource to minimise IT endpoint risk throughout their organization (2013 State of the Endpoint, Ponemon), it has never been more crucial that the IT security projects you prioritize deliver maximum return on investment as well as exceptional security benefits.
Within their 2013 desktop total cost of ownership (TCO) study, research from Gartner continues to advocate the movement of organizations towards a ‘locked and well managed’ environment with respect to user privilege. The cost profile associated with this landscape is coveted by global organizations as it results in TCO savings of almost 30% against a ‘moderately managed’ environment; that’s $1,264 per desktop per year. Continue reading
At April’s Infosecurity Europe conference in London, we conducted a survey that revealed a troubling disparity between IT professionals’ top security concerns and their existing (or lack of) best practices. Results shed light on the extent to which organizations allow employees full control over their desktops and servers, without implementing adequate controls to defend against accidental or deliberate misuse of privileges.
Of the 500 surveyed participants, comprising IT security decision makers at the show, 41 percent cited rogue employees as the biggest threat to their organization. An additional 31 percent of respondents reported malware exploits and targeted cyber-attacks as their top threats and 8 percent of respondents pointed to unauthorized software as most dangerous. Continue reading
Do you give local administrative rights to all your users? Or maybe it’s just to the executives or laptop users? As companies now have under a year to move away from Windows XP, this is the perfect, once-in-a-decade opportunity to make your environment more secure, raise user productivity and make the lives of your support personnel easier.
It’s not easy to change user permission levels during the lifetime of an operating system but with the introduction of Windows 7 to users the changes can stay hidden behind bigger changes like a new logon screen.
I’ll start off with a short personal story: I was 16 years old when I first got Domain Admin rights to a company that had more than 30,000 workstations. I couldn’t have been more proud of my godly powers that most users did not have, so I was happy to blindly agree when users asked me to install the games on their computers that they couldn’t! “Sami, I heard you can install Solitaire on our NT4 – could you help me out after work?” they would whisper to me, “Yes” I would reply, “I sure can”.
Privilege management can be a way of spotting an attacker’s footprints
Cyber-criminals are motivated, technically innovative and incredibly observant; it is a depressing and repeating pattern of the last decade that they have been able to zero in on important weaknesses when the defenders were either unaware these existed or just had their fingers crossed.
There are really only three ways to break into an organization digitally. You target a poorly-secured resource (e.g. a server left unguarded using a default login), attack an insecure or unpatched application, or try to undermine the end user with social engineering. All three serve as jumping off points to spider behind the firewall or intrusion prevention layer in search of further resources, data or users to target. Conceptually, cybercrime really is that simple.
Recent history tells us that the criminals have worked out the implications of this. Resources can eventually be secured by technological means but for applications it is much harder. For the user it might be almost impossible, which is why the user is usually where today’s attacks usually begin.
Today we are very pleased to announce the release of Privilege Guard ePO Edition, a brand new version tightly integrated with McAfee ePO which delivers comprehensive and scalable privilege management to all McAfee secured endpoints.
Since we released the McAfee ePO Integration Pack last year, we have been focused on extending our very successful partnership with McAfee, by building a complete solution within the ePO ecosystem.
We are really pleased with the end result, which showcases the strength of Avecto’s innovative approach to least privilege, married with the powerful ePO platform. Continue reading