How Managed Security Services Help You Get More from Your Existing PCs

It’s time to rethink security with a cloud-based offering that takes advantage of artificial intelligence to detect and thwart threats.

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Cyberattacks are on the rise, and endpoints such as PCs are a frequent target. With nearly all employees now working from home, PCs are their main connection to the work environment and crucial to remaining productive. Any cyberthreat that compromises or takes down a user’s computer means, at the very least, a loss of productivity.

Yet employees are human, and humans are known to miss threats and fall victim to phishing attacks, including the rising number that use COVID data as a lure. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a 63% increase in COVID-related phishing campaigns and fake social posts, according to a survey by the Information Systems Security Association.  

Similarly, even computers outfitted with the latest anti-virus software can fall victim to zero-day threats and other malware that gets by traditional anti-virus defenses. Once a system is infected, in more than 25% of cases it may not be detected for months or more, according to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report – potentially putting many other users’ PCs and other corporate resources at risk.

It’s therefore time to rethink security with a cloud-based, as-a-service offering that takes advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively detect and thwart threats before they cripple end devices – and productivity. In this post, we’ll go through the basics and benefits of such a service.

Heavy dose of analytics

The emergence of AI has been a boon for cybersecurity, as we can now apply AI techniques including machine learning (ML) to the job of identifying malware and other cyberthreats. Traditionally identifying malware meant matching it to a “signature” that describes its attributes. Such systems were vulnerable to zero-day threats, those for which no signature yet exists.

AI changes that equation. A detection tool can be trained on thousands of existing signatures and then identify new threats based on patterns it detects, making the tool effective against zero-day threats. HP Proactive Security does just that—it leverages the latest AI techniques like ML and deep learning to provide advanced anti-malware protection against these zero-day threats.

Cloud-based analytics tools can also be used to monitor end user devices and identify any disabled, missing, or out-of-date security hardware or software, ensuring that each end device is properly protected. That’s a critical function when IT has little or no visibility into end user devices, and when employees are using the same machine for business and personal use.

Implement zero trust

Another key aspect to providing proper security is adopting a zero-trust approach. In simple terms, zero trust means you don’t blindly trust a user’s identity, PC hardware, operating system, or the network they’re using.

It takes three components to deliver on zero trust, says Mazi Arzanpouli, Senior Director for Security Services at HP:

  • Multi-factor authentication, where it takes two more pieces of evidence to authenticate a user
  • Least-privilege access, where each user is granted only the minimum level of access to data, applications, or other resources needed to perform the specific tasks assigned to them.
  • Micro-segmentation, which reduces the attack surface and contains threats from the endpoint or browser

HP’s approach extends zero trust to endpoint applications. Unique from other solutions, HP Proactive Security makes use of hardware-enforced micro-virtual machines (VMs), which are lightweight containers used to isolate threats from below the operating system layer, according to Arzanpouli. Whenever a user opens a downloaded file, email attachment, or browser tab, it’s opened inside its own micro-VM container, and is completely isolated from the core operating system. HP’s approach makes use of micro-segmentation and takes zero trust down to the individual user tasks.

“If there’s malicious code present, it’s confined to that micro-VM and can’t hurt your PC or other devices on the same network,” Arzanpouli says. “Once the micro-VM is closed, the malicious code is gone. The tool also monitors the file for malicious behavior, providing customers insight on the nature of the threat while keeping the PC protected.”

Security at your service

HP Proactive Security is a fully-managed endpoint protection service that makes government-grade security accessible even to customers without in-house cybersecurity staff or expertise with enterprise security tools. HP brings an unmatched trifecta of advanced AI-based anti-malware, industry-leading isolation and containment technology, and powerful analytics to the fight against cybersecurity threats.

As Arzanpouli says, “At HP, we feel we have an important role to play to help ensure our customers are protected from bad actors, so their employees can work without worry, and IT can stay focused on business priorities.”

To learn more, visit the HP Security Services page.

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