Three's Company Blog

Endpoint security

Endpoint security is often seen as cybersecurity’s frontline, and represents one of the first places organizations look to secure their enterprise networks. According to companies like Fortinet, when it comes to endpoint security, a small change in configuration, device configurations, or host rules can make a world of difference.

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First, let’s look at a few basic topics that define an endpoint.

Web Application and Application Server Load Balancing

Every Internet service, including voice and video chat, gets some load from other, potentially remote systems. In fact, every business in the world has some form of load balancer. By implementing load balancers for every network segment, a very robust endpoint can be protected from any kind of denial-of-service attack.

These are the simplest applications for endpoint security. A single load balancer is fine for many applications, but it is unlikely to be sufficient for protecting a much bigger environment.

Requests from different clients go through different virtual servers and back ends. Those virtual servers are at risk for having malicious users or machine-level attacks. In this case, a primary and secondary web application or application server can be configured to hold the load, and the load balancer handles the requests. When the primary requests are handled by the load balancer, the network is effectively protected from network-level attacks.

Note that the application server is the same server that is performing the requests, and can still be called the primary server. The application server could also be an application firewall.

Conventional Load Balancing

Load balancing is the most complex kind of endpoint security. It can be implemented with virtual, physical, or a combination of both. Most security considerations apply with load balancers because the nature of the network is complex.

The traffic load within a given Web application, and between the different Web applications, is massively high. A single proxy (like Apache) can quickly saturate a network. The load from the Web application to the Web application proxy, as well as traffic flowing between the Web applications, makes load balancing complex.

How does load balancing deal with this complexity? It comes down to changing the way the load is routed. A reverse proxy can be used to turn traffic destined for the Internet into traffic destined for the proxy. This traffic is guaranteed to go from the browser to the proxy, where it is redirected.

Sophisticated load balancers are able to do much more. They can serve multiple Web applications as needed by either the load balancer or the application server. Load balancers can also automatically change the traffic that passes through them. The proxy configuration of each Web application is changed at the push of a button. With this capability, load balancing becomes automatic and redundant.

Finally, load balancers use several methods to monitor and ensure the integrity of their clients. This monitoring is done on the load balancer itself, and also for each client. The load balancer will typically detect a circuit breaker, and then switch to the next suitable path for the traffic.

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