Here’s Why Whitelisting Is Better than Blacklisting

Did you know that millions of dollars are lost in productivity every year due to malicious applications that are run in business environments? Malware is a huge problem, of course, but it is also a problem when employees run unauthorised applications on their workstations. This causes time delays and potential data loss as IT specialists scurry to repair the damage and restore lost files.

Dealing with Malware

It is common for businesses to turn to anti-virus and other anti-malware applications in order to control their IT environments. These applications typically rely on blacklist databases that list all of the known malware applications and untrusted websites.

The major problem with this approach is that the malware landscape is changing so fast that new viruses are popping up every month and causing untold damage to companies around the world. Anti-virus companies are simply struggling to play catch-up in the face of this onslaught but their profit margins remain respectable because their clients rely so heavily on their expertise and their software as part of their IT security model.

Whitelisting: A Better Way to Deal with Malware

What if one could turn around this approach? Instead of blacklisting known malware applications and updating a central database tirelessly, why not reverse the approach and use a whitelisting strategy instead? Where a blacklist contains all of the known malware and acts as a reference, software that relies on application whitelisting contains only those programs that can be executed and used. It simply disallows everything else.

For example, a company relies heavily on its computer workstations and operators but has had a major problem with malware outbreaks despite in-house education programs. Their cybersecurity strategy relies on programs that contain a list of known malware and then quarantine this malware when scanning the workstations each day. This database is updated on a weekly basis by the IT department but malware is still getting through.

The IT department decides to test out a whitelisting strategy and deploy the software onto a sandboxed network of test workstations. This application works in real time, is lighter and more efficient, consumes few resources, and effectively prevents every unauthorised application from being executed in real time.

A More Effective IT Security Strategy

The end result of such a strategy is that not only are external malware threats completely cut out but unauthorised programs run by employees are also prevented. In essence, if the application is not on the small whitelist database, it will not be executed. This means that only business-related software can be run at any time, minimising the risk of cybersecurity breaches drastically and saving the company money and time.

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