Reduce Your Ransomware Risk with Allow-Listing and Other Application Execution Control Solutions

3 minutes read

In 2021, escalating ransomware and other malware attacks continued to inflict significant damage on U.S. companies and public sector organizations. According to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, there was $590 million in domestic ransomware-related activity in the first six months of 2021 alone.

While most cybersecurity solutions are designed to protect against existing malware threats, they cannot adequately defend against emerging complex attacks. That’s why many organizations are embracing more advanced application execution control solutions to further safeguard their environments. These solutions include allow-listing, which allows known, ‘good’ files to run while blocking all others.

Allow-listing combines with three other technologies — ringfencing, storage control, and elevation control — to provide a powerful, multi-layered solution that proactively prevents ransomware, malware, and other unknown threats from running on a computer or system.

Next-Generation Allow-Listing Solutions

While many businesses rely on antivirus software, those legacy solutions cannot fully protect sensitive data and network assets. Allow-listing, while effective, has traditionally been too complex for all but the largest companies to operate. However, with next-generation solutions, even SMBs can now deploy allow-listing technology in just a few hours.

Today’s best-in-class allow-listing solutions employ a default-deny approach that blocks all applications unless they are on the allow list. These solutions also allow you to control what software, scripts, executables, and libraries can run on endpoints and servers.

Ringfencing For Added Security

While allow-listing blocks all untrusted applications, it cannot completely stop an attacker from deploying tools and applications to penetrate your network. Ringfencing adds another layer of protection by giving you the ability to control how applications behave after they’ve been opened.

With ringfencing, you can stop applications from interacting with other applications, accessing network resources, registry keys, and even files. It is particularly effective at stopping fileless malware attacks and preventing rogue applications from stealing your data.

Ringfencing also allows you to:

  • Stop fileless malware and limit the damage from application exploits
  • Specify how applications interact with each other
  • Prevent users from infiltrating applications connected within the network
  • Stop applications from interacting with other applications, network resources, registry keys, files, and more
  • Prevent applications from interacting with built-in tools such as PowerShell, and stop built-in tools from accessing your file shares

Combining allow-listing and ringfencing solutions eliminates untrusted applications and helps prevent other security breaches.

Storage Control — Complete Control of Your Data and Devices

Many data protection solutions block access to USB drives and encrypt data storage servers but can delay access by authorized users in the process. These delays can reduce user productivity and create employee satisfaction issues.

Storage control allows you to control device access down to the most granular level, including file type, user or group, application, and serial number. With storage control, you can determine what data can be accessed or copied and the applications, users, and devices that can access that data.

Storage control also lets you:

  • Create an audit of all file access on USB, network, and local hard drives
  • Restrict access to external storage, including USB drives, network shares, or other devices
  • Use single-click approval for specified devices or users
  • Provide permanent or temporary access approvals
  • Restrict access to specific file types
  • Limit access to a device or file share based on the application
  • Enforce or monitor the encryption status of USB hard drives and other external storage devices

Learn about Path Forward IT’s managed services.

Understanding Elevation Control

Elevation control provides additional security by creating access policies for individuals using specific applications. Combined with allow-listing and ringfencing solutions, elevation control allows you to control what applications can run, who can access them, and how they interact in your organization’s environment.

Elevation control capabilities include:

  • Full administrative rights visibility. The ability to approve or deny an individual access to specific applications
  • Streamlined permission Users can request permission to elevate applications and attach files and notes to support their requests.
  • Varied elevation levels. Enables you to set durations for how long users are allowed access to specific applications by granting either temporary or permanent access.
  • Secure application Combined with ringfencing, elevation control ensures that once applications are elevated, users cannot infiltrate connected applications within the network.

Why Path Forward IT Recommends ThreatLocker

At Path Forward IT, our expert team has evaluated the leading application execution control solutions. Based on our testing and experience, we recommend ThreatLocker as the most effective solution available at this time. By integrating allow-listing, ringfencing, storage control, and elevation control into a single solution, ThreatLocker provides any size company (from SMB to enterprise) with unprecedented levels of security.

ThreatLocker incorporates specific features that prevent operational interruption. For example, single-click allow requests for applications that users want to install or access capture all relevant application information required by IT security administration. Competing products employ a more manual submission process that requires users to gather the relevant details themselves and communicate them to IT.

Your Expert For Application Execution Control solutions

Many smaller organizations may not have the in-house resources or expertise needed to onboard ThreatLocker or other security solutions. At Path Forward IT, we provide a comprehensive ‘security-as-a-service’ solution tailored to your specific needs. We’ll assess your requirements, implement, manage, and optimize your ThreatLocker and other services, and ensure they’re integrated into your overall security strategy.

Contact Path Forward IT to learn how you can put ThreatLocker and other security solutions to work protecting your business.