I’ve been in and around security for much of my life. My family at one time owned one of the largest security tech companies. I worked for Pinkerton, was a sheriff for a time, owned the security for an IBM group, managed a security practice, and have written a great deal on the subject over the years. Security is a mindset that today surrounds concepts like Zero Trust, constructs like Blockchain, and events like the recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline.
I’m particularly a fan of the concept of Security In-Depth, which is where you have multiple security layers that collectively act to prevent unauthorized access and will alert on attempts. HP chose some time ago to differentiate on security after it was discovered that printers, at the time, were relatively large security threats due to their internal storage and how easy it was to clone them and use their identity for unauthorized access. They’ve built an impressive security competency with a dedicated group of researchers and partnerships with cutting-edge security companies like Deep Instinct.
This week they branded their Security In-Depth approach to security “HP Wolf Security,” and it is an impressive offering. Let me explain.
The Importance Of Endpoint Security During A Pandemic
While we are working in an office, we are generally surrounded by several tools we take for granted or may not even know to exist. These tools range from physical protections like security cameras, secured entry doors, security guards, and sensors that protect the site, to electronic tools like firewalls, network monitors, external call alerting, and anti-virus software.
But when we shifted people to work at home, often over a weekend, much of these physical and electronic security methods were effectively bypassed. Particularly for companies that implemented VPN solutions, they suddenly had people who weren’t protected able to drill in mass into systems that otherwise would be protected. Therefore, according to HP, it should be no surprise that Cyber attacks jumped 238% during the pandemic, with a considerable shift in focus to attacking remote employees.
As of this writing, the Colonial Pipeline breach is connected to a set of highly negligent security practices, suggesting that it won’t be for long if the Colonial gets a new CIO (a reminder to prioritize security).
HP Wolf Security
HP Wolf security is broken down into four product groupings.
HP Wolf Security for the Home, explicitly focusing on the growing attacks on employees indefinitely working from home.
HP Wolf Security for business is designed to address the user security needs in any size business, small to large.
HP Wolf Pro security a set of services that focus on Security for small to medium-sized businesses.
HP Wolf Enterprise is a comprehensive security service that focuses on enterprises and government accounts.
New Enterprise Focus
While much of this offering aggregates HP’s earlier security technologies under a new brand, several aspects of it are brand new. Access Enterprise uses unique isolation technology, ensuring applications, particularly critical applications, are safeguarded from an attack that uses a PC as an entry point. This tool protects using a hardware-enforced virtual machine (VM), creating a virtual air gap between the protected services and the host PC. This tool also allows a user to securely work on multiple virtual privileged access workstations (PAWS) from a single device.
HPs Wolf Pro integrates threat containment based on micro-virtualizations, next-gen antivirus, and identity protection integrated with HP’s hardware security capabilities. Malware prevention appears to use the Deep Instinct technology HP has licensed and Identity protection designed to thwart ever more common identity attacks. This offering appears to integrate with HP’s built-in PC hardware security.
The HP Flexworker offers loops in secure printers, so they don’t become a problem for those working in otherwise unsecure locations like from home. HP+ smart printers include a Wolf Security component, protecting both them and the environments in which they operate.
The Colonial Pipeline event showcases how critical security is and the need to keep systems patched and secure in the office or at work. Given that this work from home pandemic event no longer looks like it is a one-off thing, many if not most employees will remain working from home, and that a 4th wave of the Pandemic (given variants) is becoming more likely, this offering is well-timed.
It is well past time that device, and particularly home, security was an afterthought, and I’d expect HP’s peers to follow HP’s lead in making sure our employees remain safe wherever they work.
Rob Enderle has been a columnist for the TechnologyAdvice B2B sites since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an AS, BS, and MBA in merchandising, human resources, marketing, and computer science. Enderle is currently president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly worked at IBM and served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester.