Cyberattacks tend to be subtle, and even the highest level of network visibility may be inadequate in the protection of your network from data breaches and other forms of attack. As a result, you will be forced to scour the internet and hold numerous tech specialists about what you need to do to protect and secure your networks. In your research, you will come across ‘application control’ quite a bit, and you will be happy to know that this could be potentially the most important and the best solution to your troubles. Why?

What is application control?

Application control can be defined as a security practice developed to restrict or block unauthorized applications from executing in a manner that puts your data at risk. While its control functions vary depending on the purpose or intended use of the application selected, application control is primarily intended to ensure your data’s privacy, as well as the security of the data that is used and transmitted between two or more applications. What this means is that application control features everything from the validity and the completeness checks to authentication, identification, authorization, as well as the forensic and input controls.

Why is application control important?

Well, there has been a rapid increase in the number of applications aimed at making people’s jobs and lives easier. These applications are imperfect, though, and in many cases, their legitimacy is put to the test, especially because cybercriminals often use applications to launch attacks on unsuspecting institutions and individuals. Application control comes in to ensure corporate security by minimizing security threats without dampening productivity levels.

This security system is also important because applications used by individuals and corporates could result in bandwidth breach when the application isn’t trusted, which could result in the hindered employee productivity and the business data put in jeopardy.

There is also the fact that the traditional firewalls that are based on addresses, ports, and protocols aren’t enough in ensuring secure ecosystems. So, while working with tech experts like Techprojournal, you may want to think and ask about application control protocols that you could implement.

Components of Application Control

The application layer is the most important component of application control, but it comes in more than one part. First, there is the TCP/IP layer, the main protocol that is used for sending and receiving data over the internet. It has sub-layers – application, network, transport, and interface. Why the division? Well, this division is necessary for the maintenance of the integrity of the data traveling across said network.

Each of the 4 layers is tasked with a specific function, but all the programs used in sending and receiving data/ information from any other network system does that by use of the application layer. The application layer features security protocols like FTP (file transfer), HTTP (internet browsing), SSH (secure remote login), as well as SMTP (used for email). Once the information has been processed by the application layer, the filtered data passes through the partition below. A firewall is needed for access into the application layer because it’s only capable of analyzing certain applications, ensuring that the activities performed by the application layer are working optimally. The important thing to note about the application layer is that it can be easily controlled, and in the absence of vendor firewall updates, there might be a change in the behavior of the protocols used, resulting in an overall compromised security setup. This is where the application control feature comes in.

Application Control Groups

As software designed to prevent the applications used in a network (by employees) from performing tasks that could put the entire network at risk, the control system will keep logs of all the actions performed by different applications. It also manages the activities by the applications based on the established security policies. To do all these, there are 4 groups in application control:

  • Reliable Applications – this features the digital signature applications from the trusted vendors.
  • Low-Restriction Applications – this group encompasses the applications lacking digital signatures from trusted vendors, and the applications in question get a low-threat rating.
  • High-Restriction Applications– This applies to the applications without any digital signatures, and they are rated high-threat applications
  • Untrusted Applications – these applications are considered big threats to the network and connected devices, and they represent the applications from untrusted sources and without digital signatures.

Benefits of Application Control

  • It secures the private networks from malware, enhancing productivity while increasing bandwidth.
  • Ensures creation of custom rules regarding the use of unsupported protocols
  • You can block hundreds of applications easily and in seconds.
  • Easy creation of policies based on time of use applications
  • Reports give administrators insights into the active protocols on private networks.

The other uses of application control include the simplification of things like policy engines, trusted ownerships for whitelisting, dynamic whitelisting, privilege management, on-demand changes, application archiving, license management, and also to ensure the integrity of applications through monitoring of digital signatures.