Application Whitelisting: Protecting Your Business

Whitelisting applications, also known as AWL, are a technology designed to allow businesses to create and manage specified whitelisted applications in dynamically changing environments. AWL can be compared to application blacklisting, which keeps your computer system safe from malware and other unwanted software.

What Are the Advantages?

Application whitelisting controls the software that is and isn’t permitted to run on or across multiple computer systems. It works by denying any application that has not specifically been whitelisted or deemed safe and permitted by the system’s administrator.

Application blacklisting is another way to control access to software on the system. This method works through denying access to any applications that have been blacklisted or deemed unwanted and malicious.

From a security standpoint, AWL is considered to be much more secure. This is because the network administrator permits a trusted set of applications and denies everything else until it is approved.

In theory, this should even prevent a business’s dread of “zero-day” attacks. These are attacks that exploit a vulnerability of software that was previously undisclosed or unknown. Traditional blacklists aren’t prepared to stop this type of malware because the attack has never been observed previously or deemed unsafe, meaning that it was never blacklisted. AWL is able to stop these types of attacks because all applications that aren’t approved are blocked.

What Are the Disadvantages?

Whitelisting is considered to be a very safe approach in application management but it can also be onerous. The number of legitimate software application can stretch towards the millions. When not managed effectively, this can create frustration in a workplace where employees may need access to dozens of applications to perform their roles.

This, however, is usually resolved with an efficient system in place. Most employers only want their employees to have access to what they need at work and nothing else so this doesn’t pose a huge problem. Workplaces that have designated roles and sets of tasks for their employees don’t often consider this a nuisance as additional approval is rarely necessary, although always available if needed.

Benefiting Your Business

Whitelisting your computer system’s applications is a great way to take preventative action for the security of your computer system. This type of application management also has the added benefits of limiting access to anything that an employee doesn’t need when he or she is at work. It may seem daunting to prevent access to anything you want on a work computer but the benefits typically outweigh the costs. Your employees are there to accomplish a specific job and to help you run and grow your business. This can happen more effectively when security and distractions aren’t major concerns.


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