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Enterprises have a pressing need for endpoint security, but choosing a system that screens PCs before allowing them network access requires careful consideration.

Without a doubt, endpoint security is one of the top challenges facing the enterprise today. In fact, readers rate strengthening endpoint security as this year's top identity and access management-related challenge in Information Security's 2007 Priorities Survey.

The rise of the mobile workforce has put the spotlight on endpoint protection. More than ever before, employees are plugging laptops into networks remotely, putting companies at risk for viruses, worms and spyware. Consultants and suppliers running unmanaged PCs compound the risk.

There are dozens of products that claim to solve this problem by making sure laptops and other endpoints are virus-free and otherwise secure before allowing them onto the network. These appliances work with standards being developed by Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and others to assess PC health and provide some form of remediation and network protection.

But before you open those ornate gates to your network and install just any old virtual callbox, there are four questions you need to ask about endpoint security. The answers will help you choose the product best suited for your organization.

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This was first published in January 2007

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