It’s becoming harder than ever for IT and security stakeholders to ensure compliance to carefully laid-out security strategies and standards-of-use protocols regarding IT usage. Nowadays, risk isn’t only associated with technology vulnerability but behavioral activities as well – employees inadvertently downloading infected applications or visiting suspicious sites, or disgruntled employees deliberately leaking confidential corporate data. All of these actions pose a security threat to a company.

Addressing security vulnerability in an organization also requires effective and continuous patch management to ensure that vulnerabilities are correctly managed. This, however, can be difficult when multiple applications and operating systems are in use.

In addition to threatening corporate security, problems of non-compliance to IT guidelines can be costly, damage vendor partnerships and impact the productivity of business end users. Below are some examples.

Breach of Software License Contracts

The use of enterprise-level software is governed by complex license agreements that define who can use the software, how they use it, what computer equipment it can be installed on and whether it’s concurrent or not.  Not conforming to the software license terms can be very costly, when penalties are imposed following a vendor’s software audit.

Yet, given the number of applications being run today in most enterprises, it can be impossible to understand the terms of the contract, such as number of seats, etc., let alone monitor business usage to make sure it is in compliance with the contract. But not doing so can result in large fines when contracts are breached because of a lack of visibility into who is using what and how often.

Shadow IT

Shadow IT is also having a huge effect on non-compliance to standards. For example, despite corporate policies that require employees to share files in a secure location, such as SharePoint, they may still use a location, such as DropBox. Without clear visibility, despite the best-laid security plans, employees may be in non-compliance.

It’s no wonder that IT is constantly working to find evidence and validation that security measures are not only being complied with, but that they are effective. Even on the rare occasion when all compliance deviances are identified, IT and security still often fail in fixing problems efficiently, or in resolving them quickly.

Yet, while challenges and threats to compliance standards exist, companies can’t instill a military-like workplace. They need to continue to provide a work environment that enables employees to be productive and satisfied. The key is in finding the right balance between productivity and flexibility with efficient security controls.

So how can IT and security professionals find the right balance?  Below are key steps:

  • Make sure external and internal policies are being met.
    • Continuously assess your endpoint risk through accurate endpoint visibility
    • Follow compliance trends over time with key indicators
    • Quickly identify non-compliant endpoints and be prepared to remediate
    • Automatically fix compliance incidents without disrupting employee activities
  • Confirm the right end-user experience of employees.
    • Continuously assess quality of service delivered to employees
    • Identify security controls that may have an impact on productivity
    • Adapt and fix your security controls to reach business objectives

Centralized Management of Endpoint Infrastructure, with Automated Remediation

To accomplish these steps, many companies employ multiple IT and security tools, but that increasingly adds to the complexity. What’s key is in using a single solution that centralizes all of these tasks in real-time: continuously monitoring, managing and fixing the compliance status of your endpoints. Only then can IT and security professionals be confident that their endpoint compliance is efficiently managed, ultimately enabling IT to securely and efficiently support the business.