Application control solutions help to put endpoints into a more robust default-deny posture that works to block the execution of malware and other unauthorized applications that are unknown and potentially malicious.
Companies are highly dependent upon applications to maintain normal, day-to-day business operation. Today’s business processes have web-based, cloud-based, and third-party applications at their core; each of these will need to be monitored in a unique and effective way. All the while, data needs to be controlled without negatively impacting productivity and operational efficiency. In Fortra’s Application Security Report 2022: Key Trends and Challenges, 37% of respondents indicated that they were concerned about securing cloud applications, while 42% claimed to be concerned about keeping up with the rising number of vulnerabilities.
Most application control solutions will allow users to whitelist and backlist specific applications, ensuring that only trusted applications are allowed to execute. With strong applications control, organizations of all sizes can improve their security and reduce the risks posed by malicious, illegal, and unauthorized software, and network access.
We have put together a list of the top applications control solutions that can help organizations to gain a better understanding of their data environments. In each case we will look at each vendor’s background and the features that they offer, before we finally give our recommendations for who would be best served by each application control solution.
What Is Application Control?
Application control is the term used to describe a security practice where unauthorized applications are blocked or restricted from behaving in, or allowing, potentially risky ways. The control functions and configurations may vary depending on the sector and specific organization that the platform is applied to. However, the core objective remains to ensure the security and privacy of data that is used by and transmitted between applications.
Application controls, simply put, are designed to ensure your applications and services have proper coverage and to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of any associated data. Appropriate applications controls allow businesses and organizations to significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to cyber threats associated with applications usage. This is achieved by blocking applications from operating as normal if doing so would put sensitive data at risk.
What Is Application Control Software?
Application control software – sometimes referred to as application whitelisting software – gives organizations the ability to monitor and manage their applications more effectively and securely. These solutions facilitate the automated enforcement of regulatory compliance policies and allow you to place restrictions on which application or functions users can access.
Implementing an application control solution brings with it a range of benefits, including:
- Greater control over which applications are in your IT environment
- Identify trusted software automatically and block unwanted applications from executing
- Reduce IT complexity
- Reduce the risks and costs associated with malware
- Improve network stability
- Protect against exploits or unpatched OS and third-party application vulnerabilities
What Features Should You Look For In An Application Control Solution?
While solutions may differ slightly in their feature offering and what capabilities they prioritize, a good applications control solution should provide the following:
The ability to enforce application-specific security policies. Setting these application specicif give the organzation the power to allow, block, of set limits on various types of applications traffic and as these policies are built on application identification make it easier for organizations to confidently implement automated controls.
Identity-based policy enforcement for stronger authentication and access control. With an applications control solution in place, organizations can more easily define policies for particular users and groups to control access to specific resources and verify input authorization, thereby implementing and enforcing a zero-trust security model.
These key features are so vital because they provide the most important benefits that users are looking for when they choose to implement a solution for application control, which is to improve the performance of the corporate network and to grant organizations more granular visibility into network traffic.
Why Do You Need An Application Control Solution?
Application control gives organizations knowledge and insights into key areas regarding applications, threats, web traffic, and data patterns. Users benefit from application control by gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the threats their applications may face, their key features and common behavioral characteristics, information on who is using which applications and when, and details of users who have been affected by a cyber threat.
Application control solutions provide organizations with more in depth information on traffic sources and destinations, security rules, and zones in order to gain a more complete image of overall application usage patterns, which then allows for quicker identification of risky behaviors and more informed decisions making on how to secure applications. While these decisions are being mulled over, organizations can rest easy that their applications control solution is automatically protecting the network via whitelisting and blacklisting.