What is Endpoint Encryption and Why is it Important? In a fully connected world, data is under constant threat from a cadre of potential scammers, hackers, and opportunists. Keyloggers and “evil maid” attacks can cause significant damage to your system. Evil Maid attacks are especially damaging, as they modify your files in an undetectable way. They’re based on the concept of an unknown entity with access to your device compromising and modifying it in a deleterious manner. For instance, if someone modifies your device when you send it for repairs or order a new one online, or if you leave it unattended at a conference or coffee shop. Attacks will occur through various other means as well, so it’s wise to find a wide-ranging protection measure to secure your systems against such intrusions. Encryption software does considerable work protecting your endpoint systems from possible harm. They’re surprisingly powerful and useful for a variety of applications. Check out our brief guide to endpoint encryption and how it works below.
Endpoint encryption explained
Guarding your systems is important, so it’s best to use some form of endpoint encryption. But what is endpoint encryption, anyway? Encryption typically uses one of two standard encryption standards (AES-256 and RSA) to encrypt and guard your data. Endpoints are simply where you store your data. These can range from POS devices and removable drives to laptop and desktop computers. There are two primary types of encryption: whole drive and FFRM encryption. Whole drive encryption is fairly straightforward, in that it encrypts and protects the entire drive. The master boot record remains unencrypted to act as a sort of “key” to unlock the system when a user needs to access it. If the device containing the drive becomes lost or stolen, it can be incredibly difficult to access the drive’s encrypted data. This encryption method has the additional benefit of automatically encrypting everything on the drive, from old data to newly written files. The second method, FFRM, takes a slightly different approach. Short for “file, folder, and removable media,” this method encrypts file data until a user accesses it. The data remains encrypted even after leaving the organization, maintaining encryption integrity and preventing data compromise over the affected files.
One of the most pragmatic, useful features of endpoint encryption is pre-boot authentication. Pre-boot authentication requires a username and password prior to the system booting up/starting. Without the correct credentials, the system won’t boot up for anyone attempting to access it. Lost or stolen devices are more difficult to access with this protocol in use, largely due to lockouts and remote wiping capability. It’s pretty versatile, too; you can configure pre-boot authentication to trigger a lockout after a certain number of unsuccessful login attempts and set up policy updates before engaging the authentication process. Failed passwords and lockouts aren’t the only security measures pre-boot authentication utilizes, either. It uses the organization’s current policies as part of its security protocols, which ends up enhancing/layering overall security on both the IT department and user’s end.
Remote device management
It may be unthinkable, but sometimes devices get lost or stolen. When something like this happens, you may feel a surge of panic and concern over your data falling into the wrong hands. Using the remote management feature of high-quality encryption software can come to the rescue. The software enables remote “kill” commands, lost data recovery, and identity protection while upholding an organization’s policies and regulatory compliance. One-time passwords can also be deployed remotely, allowing access to authorized users as needed. Remote device management can act as a damage buffer and recovery tool across all your encrypted devices and collect pertinent information for any devices in-use .
Support across different environments
Protecting your intellectual property (IP) and complying with regulations are crucial aspects of guarding your data. Multi-platform support is key to successfully encrypting your data. Laptops, desktops, USB drives, and other removable media should be fully integrated with your encryption software program. Doing so creates a flexible, comprehensive hardware and software-based encryption for your systems. Encryption should also work across various drives made by different manufacturers and should not degrade over time.
Auditing and Reports
The last piece of the encryption security puzzle is in the final reports. Reports not only help you get an idea of what’s going on with your devices, they provide an overview of what actions you may need to take, whether you’ve been attacked, and direction for the future. Reports can be customized by person, device, or other predetermined factors and audited in real-time to help ensure compliance, safety, and full protection for your organization. They’re a great way to remain compliant and always be ready to demonstrate your compliance—and dedication to endpoint security—any time.