Endpoint security is traditionally treated separately from the broader network security plan, and usually falls under responsibility of the IT admins team rather than the security team. However, endpoints are becoming a more critical part of the extended network ecosystem as many organizations will continue encouraging remote work after the Great Office Return.

The IT admins approach not only limits visibility and control but also makes it difficult to assess a device’s security level. It’s challenging to take the necessary automated steps in the event of a compromise due to a lack of access to vital threat intelligence. These challenges are even greater for Linux users, which is the preferred system of many developers and DevOps-led organizations.

Stack Overflow’s 2020 developer poll cites that professional developers will increase by more than 28 million by 2024. Thus, long-term integration and automation of Linux systems and infrastructure into IT operations is an even bigger priority for organizations moving forward.

Why organizations lack control and visibility over their Linux endpoint devices

Unfortunately, Linux infrastructure is not generally straightforward to automate. Without extra tooling, some administrators may face a long road to achieving their automation targets in the first place. To automate Linux systems, IT administrators must have complete control over their security and configuration settings. They must also possess the ability to monitor systems afterward to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Challenges of Linux endpoint management

Many endpoints currently connected to corporate networks are not official corporate assets. IT departments can’t quickly assess or monitor them to ensure they get the updates and patches they need because they don’t own these devices. This makes them vulnerable to threats, but it also makes them a relatively unknown threat vector, posing a threat to the entire fleet of devices.

Another significant barrier to visibility is mobility. Endpoint devices were once considered corporate assets kept behind the corporate firewall. Users of these endpoint devices today can connect to corporate resources, access corporate data, and even work on it using a variety of applications. They don’t need to be connected to a VPN to access physical or cloud-based resources. This is becoming more common across organizations of all sizes.

These devices spend the majority of their time related to non-corporate network resources which significantly reduces IT visibility. According to a 2020 Ponemon Institute report titled “The Cost of Insecure Endpoints,” two-thirds of IT professionals admit to having no visibility into endpoints that connect to the network regularly when they work outside of it.

There is also the challenge of Shadow IT. Employees can easily install and run traditional and cloud-based applications on their phones and computers and on corporate-owned assets assigned to them without having to go through IT. If IT administrators don’t have insight into all of the programs operating on these devices, they won’t be able to verify that essential access controls are in place to mitigate threats or govern the spread of data and other business assets. Self-compliance and security are not ideal for Linux endpoints.

Why manage your Linux devices in real-time?

Having complete visibility over IT asset inventory for security and productivity monitoring is critical to helping identify and eliminate unauthorized devices and apps.

What should IT teams monitor in real-time? Important metrics to keep an eye on include the number of unknown, checked-in, and total devices in the fleet, as well as devices installed and outdated and rarely used apps. IT professionals should look for a tool that keeps a constantly updated and monitored inventory of IT assets, including Linux.

Maintaining endpoint health with security controls is another advantage of managing Linux devices in real-time. Every day, numerous activities take place at an endpoint. It is critical to keep an eye on everything, including suspicious activity.

IT practitioners need a tool that conducts regular endpoint health checks to protect your endpoints, enforces firewall policies, quarantines or isolates unnecessary devices, kills rogue processes and services, hardens system configurations, and performs remote system tune-ups and disc clean-ups. This will help identify and eliminate unauthorized devices and applications.

Otherwise, allowing any random device or application in the network will gouge a hole in IT security and employee productivity. That’s why disabling or blocking illegal devices and programs from entering your network is critical.

Moreover continuous monitoring and remediation must be enabled. Continuous monitoring of your endpoints requires security tasks to be executed periodically. Chef Desktop helps achieve this without worrying about connectivity and maintenance issues and helps to ensure that endpoints remain in the desired state 

Conclusion

Long-term integration of Linux systems and infrastructure into IT operations is common in organizations that have them.  Continuous monitoring of endpoints requires security tasks to be executed even remotely, without relying on physical access of devices. IT administrators must have complete control over their security and configuration settings to automate Linux systems, as well as the ability to monitor systems after the fact to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

IT managers must reduce costs and optimize time by leaning off manual processes. Instead, they should configure the entire linux fleet in a consistent, policy-driven manner. This boosts efficiency and productivity as well as maintains detailed visibility into the overall status of the Linux and desktop fleet. Easy-to-implement configuration management capabilities can assist IT teams in managing and overcoming some of the challenges they face when managing large Linux laptop fleets.

Prashanth Nanjundappa

AUTHOR BIO

Prashanth Nanjundappa is VP of Product Management at Progress. He has spent his entire career of over 20 years in the tech world, managing cross-functional high-performance teams, focused on building and launching enterprise and consumer products globally.

In the first 12 years of his career, Prashanth worked as a developer, technical lead and architect for mobile, video-broadcast and OTT, SaaS, and PaaS products. Prior to joining Progress, he led the product management teams for high-tech B2B and enterprise products at companies like Cisco and Knowlarity. He has spent time working in Italy, France, and South Korea.

Prashanth has an engineering degree in Electronics & Communication from Bangalore University and an MBA from the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad.



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