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Endpoint security management is a policy-based approach to network security that requires endpoint devices to comply with specific criteria before they are granted access to network resources. Endpoints can include PCs, laptops, smart phones, tablets and specialized equipment such as bar code readers or point of sale (POS) terminals.
Endpoint security management systems, which can be purchased as software or as a dedicated appliance, discover, manage and control computing devices that request access to the corporate network. Required elements may include an approved operating system, a VPN client and anti-virus software with current updates. Devices that do not comply with policy are given limited access or quarantined on a virtual LAN (VLAN). Endpoints that do not comply with policy can be controlled by the system to varying degrees. For example, the system may remove local administrative rights or restrict Internet browsing capabilities.
Endpoint security systems work on a client/server model in which a centrally managed server or gateway hosts the security program and an accompanying client program is installed on each network device. In a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model, the host server and its security programs are maintained remotely by the vendor. In either delivery model, when a client attempts to log onto the network, the server program validates user credentials and scans the device to make sure that it complies with defined corporate security policies before allowing access to the network.
Once you have the basics down, find advice for evaluating, researching and testing endpoint antimalware protection products, and read a comparison of the top antimalware products for small, midsize and large organizations.