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The Hidden Flaw in Data Center Security: Endpoint Connectivity

Many organizations know how important it is to segment their environments, but a dangerous oversight persists that can unravel the layers of defense they’re working so hard to build.  

This oversight pertains not to the external threats that organizations prepare against daily or the Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS) controls over 60 percent of organizations are working towards. Rather, it’s part of the internal threat landscape, specifically how attackers can propagate within a data center from one segment to another through compromised end-user devices like laptops and workstations.

In this blog post, learn why endpoints are leaving your organization exposed and how to stop lateral movement between endpoints and the data center with the Illumio Zero Trust Segmentation Platform.  

Illumio Endpoint delivers segmentation for end-user devices

Endpoint devices are a threat to cyber resilience

Modern hybrid, multi-cloud environments are a hive of activity, with data moving in every which way. Amongst this complexity, organizations are striving to build cyber resilience, and many are turning to Zero Trust security strategies to do it. A foundational technology of any Zero Trust architecture is segmentation. By stopping lateral movement, segmentation enables organizations to focus on limiting the blast radius of the next potential cyberattack to as small as possible.  

While many organizations focus on segmenting their data center and cloud environments, a quiet threat still lurks. Many aren’t considering their endpoints, and this security gap allows attackers to leverage compromised laptops, workstations, and operational technology as steppingstones to deeper, more critical segments of the data center.

Endpoints: Hidden pathways for attackers

With segmentation in place, security teams can lock down lateral movement between segments, making it unlikely that attackers will be able to move from a development environment to a high-security application, for example.  

However, there might be a pathway from the development environment to an engineer’s laptop, to a network admin, and eventually to that critical, high-security application. A lack of stringent controls on endpoint-to-data center traffic, combined with limited endpoint-to-endpoint control, makes it easy for attackers to find hidden pathways for lateral movement.  

A diagram of how endpoints can be a pathway for cyberattacks to move laterally through a network
Even with segmentation in the data center and public cloud, endpoints can be a pathway for cyberattacks to move laterally through the network.

Without proper, modern segmentation, attackers can exploit open internal pathways upon gaining a foothold within the data center. Addressing this threat requires a different approach that goes beyond conventional segmentation methods.  

The Illumio ZTS Platform: Segmentation across every environment

Addressing this security gap requires extending segmentation controls to devices connecting into the data center. It requires a solution capable of providing granular visibility and control over the traffic within the data center — and with anything that connects into it.

Illumio Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS) delivers a single platform designed to extend modern segmentation across the cloud, data center, and endpoints. The Illumio ZTS Platform not only restricts lateral movement within and between applications but also ensures that any attempt to move laterally across the data center through the endpoint estate is prevented.  

The case for endpoint segmentation

Illumio Endpoint is not just designed to contain breaches originating on the endpoint — it’s also an integral part of Illumio’s ZTS platform. By extending segmentation beyond the confines of the data center to end-user devices with Illumio Endpoint, organizations can fully control their endpoint-to-server traffic in a single platform.  

Here's how Illumio Endpoint helps:

  • See all endpoint traffic: Illumio Endpoint provides immediate clarity on network activities, offering visibility of traffic flows, whether endpoints are in the office or operating remotely. This visibility is essential for building segmentation policies — and is critical insight for any security team.
  • Control application access: By restricting endpoint access to only the servers needed, Illumio Endpoint significantly minimizes the avenues available to attackers for data breaches. This targeted approach ensures that traffic that can reach sensitive areas of the data center is severely limited, reducing the risk posed by user devices.
  • Secure endpoint exposure: In preparation for a potential breach, Illumio Endpoint is designed to limit the impact to a single device. This breach containment strategy is critical for maintaining the integrity of the broader network and preventing the spread of attacks to the data center.

Learn more by watching a demo on Illumio Endpoint:

The answer: A single platform

The evolution of cyber threats demands a corresponding evolution in cybersecurity strategies. With Illumio Endpoint and the entire Illumio ZTS Platform, organizations can take a forward-thinking approach to stopping breaches from spreading in the data center. By recognizing and mitigating the risks associated with endpoint connectivity, organizations can be ready for whatever comes next.  

Ready to learn more about Illumio Endpoint? Contact us today.

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