Top 5 Data Security Tools for Macs
With the rise of BYOD and Mac-friendly business environments, the use of Macs in the work place is growing. As a Unix-based operating system, macOS is generally considered to be a more secure alternative to Windows that, as the predominant OS in enterprises, is the favorite target of hackers everywhere.
While it’s certainly true that Macs face fewer attacks than their Windows-running counterparts, the myth of its unbreakable OS makes companies less worried about their protection and in consequence, they invest less or no money at all into it. This, in turn makes Macs attractive marks for cybercriminals. After all, popular infiltration methods such as phishing, do not rely so much on breaking into an OS through vulnerabilities as on the ignorance of users. Without the proper security tools in place, these attacks can go undetected, potentially causing long term damage to companies’ data security.
It is therefore essential that Macs also be protected from breaches and their security no longer be ignored because of macOS’ structural soundness. Here are our top five suggestions for tools that can help your Mac’s security in the workplace:
The most basic way to stop outsider threats is a classic antivirus. Most of the big players in the Antivirus industry offer Mac versions of their solutions. Many of them also have 30-day free trial options and a few even offer free versions.
When choosing an antivirus for your Mac, you should consider the impact it has on your machine’s speed as well as the types of threats it protects against.
Nowadays, many antiviruses also offer malware protection, but experts usually advise against all-in-one solutions when it comes to fighting malicious threats, quoting the old adage: jack of all trades, master of none. It is therefore recommended that besides an antivirus, you also consider an antimalware solution.
While antivirus software often focuses on so-called legacy threats with antimalware features thrown in as an added bonus, antimalware solutions deal exclusively with malware and are often on the frontlines of fighting the latest security threats that arise.
3. Data Loss Prevention
Data is not only vulnerable to outside threats, but also to malicious intentions and the negligence of insiders. While there are several features inside Macs themselves that protect against certain types of data breaches such as FileVault and Open Firmware passwords, these offer no protection when the users themselves are the perpetrators.
This is where DLP solutions for Macs, such as Endpoint Protector, come into play. Through predefined policies, they can keep track of sensitive data, block or log its transfer or delete or encrypt it when found on the Macs of unauthorized users. It can also help you monitor all ports and devices on Macs, flagging any suspicious activity. You can read more about how to choose the best DLP solution for Macs here.
Encryption has long been hailed as a sound way to protect your data in case of device loss or theft. FileVault, a native macOS feature, already allows Mac users to encrypt their entire drives. While it can be a daunting task in the beginning, once FileVault is active and the first drive encryption is completed, it will continue to encrypt new data and ensure that no one without a key can access it. When High Sierra will be launched this fall, the new Apple File System (APFS) will also bring integrated, granular encryption both at file level and for an entire volume to Macs.
While this takes care of your local hard drives, there is also the matter of file transfers to USBs. A Specialized DLP software like Endpoint Protector can help here too. With its Enforced Encryption feature, it can automatically encrypt any sensitive files when they are transferred to portable devices. Not only that, it is also compatible cross-platform, making encrypted USB devices usable on Windows as well.
An easy way to fight ransomware is to not play into the hands of cybercriminals by having your data vulnerable or stored only on your local hard drives. macOS already has a built-in backup tool, Time Machine, that can be set to run automatically in the background to continuously save copies of files, applications and system files to an external or secondary drive.
There are also popular bootable backup solutions as well as the possibility of online backup through cloud or third-party storage services. These, however, must be chosen wisely and only those recognized as the most secure used.
While Apple strives to offer as many security features as possible natively within the macOS, it does not have designated tools to fight viruses, malware or human error. With hackers growing increasingly clever and greedy and the number of Macs in working environments continuing to rise, Mac users no longer have the luxury of relying on the perceived invulnerability of the macOS, but must take steps to protect their data.