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Why Securing Endpoints Is The Future Of Cybersecurity

Why Securing Endpoints Is The Future Of Cybersecurity

  • 86% of all breaches are financially motivated, where threat actors are after company financial data, intellectual property, health records, and customer identities that can be sold fast on the Dark Web.
  • 70% of breaches are perpetrated by external actors, making endpoint security a high priority in any cybersecurity strategy.
  •  55% of breaches originate from organized crime groups.
  • Attacks on Web apps accessed from endpoints were part of 43% of breaches, more than double the results from last year.

These and many other insights are from Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), downloadable here (PDF, 119 pp. free, opt-in). One of the most-read and referenced data breach reports in cybersecurity, Verizon’s DBIR, is considered the definitive source of annual cybercrime statistics. Verizon expanded the scope of the report to include 16 industries this year, also providing break-outs for Asia-Pacific (APAC); Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); and North America, Canada, and Bermuda, which Verizon says is experiencing more breaches (NA).

The study’s methodology is based on an analysis of a record total of 157,525 incidents. Of those, 32,002 met Verizon’s quality standards, and 3,950 were confirmed data breaches. The report is based on an analysis of those findings. Please see Appendix A for the methodology.

Key insights include the following:

  • Verizon’s DBIR reflects the stark reality that organized crime-funded cybercriminals are relentless in searching out unprotected endpoints and exploiting them for financial gain, which is why autonomous endpoints are a must-have today. After reading the 2020 Verizon DBIR, it’s clear that if organizations had more autonomous endpoints, many of the most costly breaches could be averted. Autonomous endpoints that can enforce compliance, control, automatically regenerating, and patching cybersecurity software while providing control and visibility is the cornerstone of cybersecurity’s future. For endpoint security to scale across every threat surface, the new hybrid remote workplace is creating an undeletable tether to every device as a must-have for achieving enterprise scale.
  • The lack of diligence around Asset Management is creating new threat surfaces as organizations often don’t know the current health, configurations, or locations of their systems and devices. Asset Management is a black hole in many organizations leading to partial at best efforts to protect every threat surface they have. What’s needed is more insightful data on the health of every device. There are several dashboards available, and one of the most insightful is from Absolute, called the Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center. An example of the dashboard shown below:
  • 85% of victims and subjects were in the same country, 56% were in the same state, and 35% were even in the same city based on FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) data. Cybercriminals are very opportunistic when it comes to attacking high-profile targets in their regions of the world. Concerted efforts of cybercriminals funded by organized crime look for the weakest threat surfaces to launch an attack on, and unprotected endpoints are their favorite target. What’s needed is more of a true endpoint resilience approach that is based on a real-time, unbreakable digital tether that ensures the security of every device and the apps and data it contains.
  • Cloud assets were involved in about 24% of breaches this year, while on-premises assets are still 70%. Ask any CISO what the most valuable lesson they learned from the pandemic has been so far, and chances are they’ll say they didn’t move to the cloud quickly enough. Cloud platforms enable CIOs and CISOs to provide a greater scale of applications for their workforces who are entirely remote and a higher security level. Digging deeper into this, cloud-based Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) provides invaluable real-time analysis, alerts, and deterrence of potential breaches. Today it’s the exceptional rather than the rule that CISOs prefer on-premise over cloud-based SIEM and endpoint security applications. Cloud-based endpoint platforms and the apps they support are the future of cybersecurity as all organizations now are either considering or adopting cloud-based cybersecurity strategies.
  • Over 80% of breaches within hacking involve brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials. One of the most valuable insights from the Verizon DBIR is how high of a priority cybercriminals are placing on stealing personal and privileged access credentials. Shutting down potential breach attempts from stolen passwords involves keeping every endpoint completely up to date on software updates, monitoring aberrant activity, and knowing if anyone is attempting to change the configuration of a system as an administrator. By having an unbreakable digital tether to every device, greater control and real-time response to breach attempts are possible.

Conclusion

Autonomous endpoints that can self-heal and regenerate operating systems and configurations are the future of cybersecurity, a point that can be inferred from Verizon’s DBIR this year. While CIOs are more budget-focused than ever, CISOs are focused on how to anticipate and protect their enterprises from new, emerging threats. Closing the asset management gaps while securing every endpoint is a must-have to secure any business today. There are several cybersecurity companies offering endpoint security today. Based on customer interviews I’ve done, one of the clear leaders in endpoint resilience is Absolute Software, whose persistent-firmware technology allows them to self-heal their own agent, as well as any endpoint security control and productivity tool on any protected device such as their Resilience suite of applications.

How Barclays Is Preventing Fraud With AI

How Barclays Is Preventing Fraud With AI

Bottom Line: Barclays’ and Kount’s co-developed new product, Barclays Transact reflects the future of how companies will innovate together to apply AI-based fraud prevention to the many payment challenges merchants face today.

Merchant payment providers have seen the severity, scope, and speed of fraud attacks increase exponentially this year. Account takeovers, card-not-present fraud, SMS spoofing, and phishing are just a few of the many techniques cybercriminals are using to defraud merchants out of millions of dollars. One in three merchants, 32%, prioritize payment providers’ fraud and security strengths over customer support and trust according to a recent YouGov survey.  But it doesn’t have to be a choice between security and a frictionless transaction.

Frustrated by the limitations of existing fraud prevention systems, many payment providers are working as fast as they can to pilot AI- and machine-learning-based applications and platforms. Barclays Payment Solutions’ decision to work with AI-based solution Kount is what the future of AI-based fraud prevention for payment providers looks like.

How AI Helps Thwart Fraud And Increase Sales at Barclays   

Barclays Payment Services handles 40% of all merchant payments in the UK. They’ve been protecting merchants and their customers’ data for over 50 years, and their fraud and security teams have won industry awards. For Barclays, excelling at merchant and payment security is the only option.

In order to offer an AI-based suite of tools to help merchants make their online transactions both simpler and safer, Barclays chose to partner with Kount. Their model of innovating together enables Barclays to strengthen their merchant payment business with AI-based fraud prevention and gain access to Kount’s Identity Trust Global Network, the largest network of trust and fraud-related signals. Kount gains knowledge into how they can fine-tune their AI and machine learning technologies to excel at payment services. Best of all, Barclays’ merchant customers will be able to sell more by streamlining the payment experience for their customers. The following is an overview of the Barclays Transact suite for merchants.

Barclays and Kount defined objectives for Barclay Transact: protect against increasingly sophisticated eCommerce fraud attempts, improve their merchants’ customer experiences during purchases, prepare for UK-mandated Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) by allowing businesses to take advantage of Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) exemptions, optimize payment acceptance workflows and capitalize on Kount’s Identity Trust Global Network.

Adding urgency to the co-creation of Barclays Transact are UK regulatory requirements. To help provide clarity and support to merchants and the market from the impact of Covid-19 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have agreed to delay the enforcement of a Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) until 14 September 2021 in the UK. The European Economic Area (EEA) deadline remains 31 December, 2020. Kount’s AI- and machine learning algorithms designed into Barclay Transact, tested at beta sites and fine-tuned for the first release, are effective in meeting UK government mandates.

How AI Is Turning Trust Into A Sales Accelerator At Barclays

The Barclays Payment Solutions and Kount teams believe that the more ambitious the goals for Barclays Transact to deliver value to merchants, the stronger the suite will be. Here are examples of goals businesses can achieve with this partnership:

  1. Achieve as few false positives as possible by making real-time updates to machine learning algorithms and fine-tuning merchant responses.
  2. Reduce the number of manual reviews for fraud analysts consistently by applying AI and machine learning to provide early warning of anomalies.
  3. Minimize the number of chargebacks to merchant partners.
  4. Reduce the friction and challenges merchants experience with legacy fraud prevention systems by streamlining the purchasing experience.
  5. Enable compliance to UK-mandated regulatory requirements while streamlining merchants and their customers’ buying experiences.

Barclays Transact analyzes every transaction in real-time using Kount’s AI-based fraud analysis technology, scoring each on a spectrum of low to high risk. Each Barclays merchant’s gateway then uses this score to identify the transactions which qualify for TRA exemptions. This results in a more frictionless payment and checkout experience for customers, resulting in lower levels of shopping cart abandonment and increased sales. Higher-risk transactions requiring further inspection will still go through two-factor authentication, or be immediately declined, per the regulation and customer risk appetite. The following is an example of the workflow Barclays and Kount were able to accomplish by innovating together:

Conclusion 

Improving buying experiences and keeping them more secure on a trusted platform is an ambitious design goal for any suite of online tools. Barclays and Kount’s successful development and launch of a co-developed product is prescient and points the way forward for payment providers who need AI expertise to battle fraud now. A bonus is how the partnership is going to enrich the Kount Identity Trust Global Network, the largest network of trust and risk signals, which is comprised of 32 billion annual interactions from more than 6,500 customers across 75+ industries. “We are excited to be partnering with Kount, because they share our goal of collaborative innovation, and a drive to deliver best-in-class shopper experiences. Thanks to Kount’s award-winning fraud detection software, the new module will not only help customers to fight fraud and prevent unwanted chargebacks, but it will also help them to maximize sales, improve customer experience, and better prepare for the introduction of SCA,” David Jeffrey, Director of Product, Barclaycard Payments said.

Debunking The Myth That Greater Compliance Makes IT More Secure

Debunking The Myth That Greater Compliance Makes IT More Secure

Bottom Line:  Excelling at compliance doesn’t protect any business from being hacked, yet pursuing a continuous risk management strategy helps.

With a few exceptions (such as spearphishing), cyberattacks are, by nature, brutally opportunistic and random. They are driven to disrupt operations at best and steal funds, records, and privileged access credentials at worst. Conversely, the most important compliance event of all, audits, are planned for, often months in advance. Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) teams go to Herculean efforts to meet and exceed audit prep timelines working evenings and weekends.

Wanting to learn more about the relationship between GRC and cybersecurity strategy, I searched for webinars on the topic. I found Improve Your Compliance Posture with Identity-Centric PAM, a recent webinar-on-demand offered by Centrify. The webinar brought up several interesting insights, including shared pains companies experience with compliance and cybersecurity, yet require drastically different approaches to solving them.

Rationalizing Compliance Spending with Cybersecurity

The truth is organizations are attempting to rationalize the high costs of compliance by looking for how GRC spend can also improve cybersecurity. This is a dangerous assumption, as Marriott’s third breach indicates. Marriott is an excellently managed business and sets standards in compliance. Unfortunately, that hasn’t thwarted three breaches they’ve experienced.

Why are organizations assuming GRC spending will improve cybersecurity? It’s because both areas share a common series of pains that require different solutions, according to the webinar. These pains include:

  • Updates to regulations are exponentially increasing today, averaging 200 or more per day from approximately 900 oversight agencies worldwide, leading to a quickly changing, heterogeneous landscape. Dr. Torsten George, Cybersecurity Evangelist at Centrify, said that when he worked in the GRC space, the midsize clients he worked with had to deal with 17 different regulations. Larger organizations that operate on a global basis are dealing with, on average, 70 or more regulations they need to stay in compliance with. Dr. George provided an overview of the compliance landscape, differentiating between the levels compliance requirements every organization needs to abide by, which is shown below:
  • Compliance is, by nature, reactive to a known event (audit), while cybersecurity is also entirely reactive to random events (cyberattacks). GRC teams need to ramp up their staff and equip them with the apps and tools they need at least six months before an audit. For cybersecurity, the threat is random and will most likely be more severe in terms of financial loss. Preparing for each takes entirely different strategies.
  • The lack of continuous risk monitoring by GRC teams and identity management by IT cybersecurity leads to systemic failures in achieving compliance and securing an organization. The webinar makes an excellent point that for compliance to succeed, it needs to be based on continuous risk management, not just checking off the boxes or categories of a given GRC approach. The same holds for cybersecurity. Identity-Centric Privileged Access Management (PAM) provides GRC and IT professionals mutual benefits when it comes to achieving the mission of being and staying compliant, and shows how securing enterprises drive better compliance, not vice versa.
  • Manually updating compliance mapping tables showing the interrelationships of requirements by industry is not scaling – and leaving gaps in GRC coverage. The more regulated a business is, for example manufacturing medical products, the more important it is to automate every aspect of compliance. A great place to start is automating the process of creating mapping tables. Taking a manual approach to creating mapping tables comparing standards often leads to errors and gaps. And in highly regulated industries like medical products manufacturing, the accuracy, speed, and scale of staying compliant can be turned into a competitive advantage, leading to more sales.

How To Resolve The Conflict Between GRC and Cybersecurity Spending

According to the webinar, 80% of today’s data breaches are caused by default, weak, stolen, or otherwise compromised credentials. GRC and cybersecurity strategies’ best efforts need to be put on securing privileged access first. The webinar makes a strong argument for prioritizing privileged access security as the initiative that can unify GRC and cybersecurity strategies.

Key insights from the webinar include the following:

  • Industry standards and government regulations are calling for identity and access management as a requirement, with several specifically naming privilege access controls.
  • Identity-Centric Privileged Access Management (PAM) approaches help meet compliance mandates, while at the same time hardening cybersecurity to the threat surface level.
  • Attaining greater compliance by taking an Identity-Centric PAM approach ensures machines have secured identities as well, and the use of anonymous access accounts is limited to break-glass scenarios only, while organizations should otherwise be leveraging enterprise directory identities for the authentication and authorization process.
  • Improving accountability and segmentation by establishing granular security controls and auditing everything helps bridge the gap between GRC and cybersecurity initiatives.
Debunking The Myth That Greater Compliance Makes IT More Secure

Conclusion

Continuous risk management is key to excelling at compliance, just as securing privileged access credentials is foundational to an effective cybersecurity strategy. Dr. Torsten George ended the webinar saying, “In the long term, I believe that the current situation that we’re dealing with and its associated spike of cyber-attacks will lead to even stricter compliance mandates; especially when it comes to secure remote access by key IT stakeholders and outsourced IT.” The bottom line is that compliance and cybersecurity must share the common goal of protecting their organizations’ privileged access credentials using adaptive approaches and technologies if both are going to succeed.

 

 

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • One in 10 enterprises now use 10 or more AI applications; chatbots, process optimization, and fraud analysis lead a recent survey’s top use cases according to MMC Ventures.
  • 83% of IT leaders say AI & ML is transforming customer engagement, and 69% say it is transforming their business according to Salesforce Research.
  • IDC predicts spending on AI systems will reach $97.9B in 2023.

AI pilots are progressing into production based on their combined contributions to improving customer experience, stabilizing and increasing revenues, and reducing costs. The most successful AI use cases contribute to all three areas and deliver measurable results. Of the many use cases where AI is delivering proven value in enterprises today, the ten areas discussed below are notable for the measurable results they are providing.

What each of these ten use cases has in common is the accuracy and efficiency they can analyze and recommend actions based on real-time monitoring of customer interactions, production, and service processes. Enterprises who get AI right the first time build the underlying data structures and frameworks to support the advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI techniques that show the best potential to deliver value. There are various frameworks available, with BMC’s Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE) encapsulating what enterprises need to scale out their AI pilots into production. What’s unique about BMC’s approach is its focus on delivering transcendent customer experiences by creating an ecosystem that uses technology to cater to every touchpoint on a customer’s journey, across any channel a customer chooses to interact with an enterprise on.

10 Areas Where AI Is Delivering Proven Value Today

Having progressed from pilot to production across many of the world’s leading enterprises, they’re great examples of where AI is delivering value today. The following are 10 areas where AI is delivering proven value in enterprises today

  • Customer feedback systems lead all implementations of AI-based self-service platforms. That’s consistent with the discussions I’ve had with manufacturing CEOs who are committed to Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs that also fuel their new product development plans. The best-run manufacturers are using AI to gain customer feedback better also to improve their configure-to-order product customization strategies as well. Mining contact center data while improving customer response times are working on AI platforms today. Source: Forrester study, AI-Infused Contact Centers Optimize Customer Experience Develop A Road Map Now For A Cognitive Contact Center.
  • McKinsey finds that AI is improving demand forecasting by reducing forecasting errors by 50% and reduce lost sales by 65% with better product availability. Supply chains are the lifeblood of any manufacturing business. McKinsey’s initial use case analysis is finding that AI can reduce costs related to transport and warehousing and supply chain administration by 5% to 10% and 25% to 40%, respectively. With AI, overall inventory reductions of 20% to 50% are possible. Source: Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? McKinsey & Company.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • The majority of CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) globally plan to use more AI within three years, with the U.S. leading all other nations at 73%. Over 63% of all CEOs and CHROs interviewed say that new technologies have a positive impact overall on their operations. CEOs and CHROs introducing AI into their enterprises are doing an effective job at change management, as the majority of employees, 54%, are less concerned about AI now that they see its benefits. C-level executives who are upskilling their employees by enabling them to have stronger digital dexterity skills stand a better chance of winning the war for talent. Source: Harris Interactive, in collaboration with Eightfold Talent Intelligence And Management Report 2019-2020 Report.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • AI is the foundation of the next generation of logistics technologies, with the most significant gains being made with advanced resource scheduling systems. AI-based techniques are the foundation of a broad spectrum of next-generation logistics and supply chain technologies now under development. The most significant gains are being made where AI can contribute to solving complex constraints, cost, and delivery problems manufacturers are facing today. For example, AI is providing insights into where automation can deliver the most significant scale advantages. Source: McKinsey & Company, Automation in logistics: Big opportunity, bigger uncertainty, April 2019. By Ashutosh Dekhne, Greg Hastings, John Murnane, and Florian Neuhaus.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • AI sees the most significant adoption by marketers working in $500M to $1B companies, with conversational AI for customer service as the most dominant. Businesses with between $500M to $1B lead all other revenue categories in the number and depth of AI adoption use cases. Just over 52% of small businesses with sales of $25M or less are using AI for predictive analytics for customer insights. It’s interesting to note that small companies are the leaders in AI spending, at 38.1%, to improve marketing ROI by optimizing marketing content and timing. Source: The CMO Survey: Highlights and Insights Report, February 2019. Duke University, Deloitte, and American Marketing Association. (71 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).
  • A semiconductor manufacturer is combining smart, connected machines with AI to improve yield rates by 30% or more, while also optimizing fab operations and streamlining the entire production process. They’ve also been able to reduce supply chain forecasting errors by 50% and lost sales by 65% by having more accurate product availability, both attributable to insights gained from AI. They’re also automating quality testing using machine learning, increasing defect detection rates up to 90%. These are the kind of measurable results manufacturers look for when deciding if a new technology is going to deliver results or not. These and many other findings from the semiconductor’s interviews with McKinsey are in the study, Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? . The following graphic from the study illustrates the many ways AI and machine learning are improving semiconductor manufacturing.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • AI is making it possible to create propensity models by persona, and they are invaluable for predicting which customers will act on a bundling or pricing offer. By definition, propensity models rely on predictive analytics including machine learning to predict the probability a given customer will act on a bundling or pricing offer, e-mail campaign or other call-to-action leading to a purchase, upsell or cross-sell. Propensity models have proven to be very effective at increasing customer retention and reducing churn. Every business excelling at omnichannel today rely on propensity models to better predict how customers’ preferences and past behavior will lead to future purchases. The following is a dashboard that shows how propensity models work. Source: customer propensities dashboard is from TIBCO.
  • AI is reducing logistics costs by finding patterns in track-and-trace data captured using IoT-enabled sensors, contributing to $6M in annual savings. BCG recently looked at how a decentralized supply chain using track-and-trace applications could improve performance and reduce costs. They found that in a 30-node configuration, when blockchain is used to share data in real-time across a supplier network, combined with better analytics insight, cost savings of $6M a year is achievable. Source: Boston Consulting Group, Pairing Blockchain with IoT to Cut Supply Chain Costs, December 18, 2018, by Zia Yusuf, Akash Bhatia, Usama Gill, Maciej Kranz, Michelle Fleury, and Anoop Nannra.
  • Detecting and acting on inconsistent supplier quality levels and deliveries using AI-based applications is reducing the cost of bad quality across electronic, high-tech, and discrete manufacturing. Based on conversations with North American-based mid-tier manufacturers, the second most significant growth barrier they’re facing today is suppliers’ lack of consistent quality and delivery performance. Using AI, manufacturers can discover quickly who their best and worst suppliers are, and which production centers are most accurate in catching errors. Manufacturers are using dashboards much like the one below for applying machine learning to supplier quality, delivery, and consistency challenges. Source: Microsoft, Supplier Quality Analysis sample for Power BI: Take a tour.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • Optimizing Shop Floor Operations with Real-Time Monitoring and AI is in production at Hitachi today. Combining real-time monitoring and AI to optimize shop floor operations, providing insights into machine-level loads and production schedule performance, is now in production at Hitachi. Knowing in real-time how each machine’s load level impacts overall production schedule performance leads to better decisions managing each production run. Optimizing the best possible set of machines for a given production run is now possible using AI.  Source: Factories of the Future: How Symbiotic Production Systems, Real-Time Production Monitoring, Edge Analytics, and AI Are Making Factories Intelligent and Agile, Youichi Nonaka, Senior Chief Researcher, Hitachi R&D Group and Sudhanshu Gaur Director, Global Center for Social Innovation Hitachi America R&D.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

Additional reading:

15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing, eConsultancy, February 28, 2019

4 Positive Effects of AI Use in Email Marketing, Statista, March 1, 2019

4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Your Marketing (Plus 10 Provider Suggestions), Forbes, Kate Harrison, January 20, 2019

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier? McKinsey Global Institute (PDF, 80 pp., no opt-in)

Artificial Intelligence: The Ultimate Technological Disruption Ascends, Woodside Capital Partners. (PDF,

DHL Trend Research, Logistics Trend Radar, Version 2018/2019 (PDF, 55 pp., no opt-in)

2018 (43 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).

Digital/McKinsey, Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? (PDF, 52 pp., no opt-in)

How To Win Tomorrow’s Car Buyers – Artificial Intelligence in Marketing & Sales, McKinsey Center for Future Mobility, McKinsey & Company. February 2019. (44 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in)

How Top Marketers Use Artificial Intelligence On-Demand Webinar with Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce and Meghann York, Director, Product Marketing, Salesforce

In-depth: Artificial Intelligence 2019, Statista Digital Market Outlook, February 2019 (client access reqd).

bes Insights and Quantcast Study (17 pp., PDF, free, opt-in),

Marketing & Sales Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales, (PDF, 60 pp., no opt-in), McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey & Company, Automation in logistics: Big opportunity, bigger uncertainty, April 2019. By Ashutosh Dekhne, Greg Hastings, John Murnane, and Florian Neuhaus

McKinsey & Company, Notes from the AI frontier: Modeling the impact of AI on the world economy, September 2018 By Jacques Bughin, Jeongmin Seong, James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Raoul Joshi

Papadopoulos, T., Gunasekaran, A., Dubey, R., & Fosso Wamba, S. (2017). Big data and analytics in operations and supply chain management: managerial aspects and practical challenges. Production Planning & Control28(11/12), 873-876.

Powerful pricing: The next frontier in apparel and fashion advanced analytics, McKinsey & Company, December 2018

Winning tomorrow’s car buyers using artificial intelligence in marketing and sales, McKinsey & Company, February 2019

World Economic Forum, Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Supply Chains (PDF, 22 pgs., no opt-in)

World Economic Forum, Supply Chain 4.0 Global Practices, and Lessons Learned for Latin America and the Caribbean (PDF, 44 pp., no opt-in)

Worldwide Spending on Artificial Intelligence Systems Will Grow to Nearly $35.8 Billion in 2019, According to New IDC Spending Guide, IDC; March 11, 2019

 

How To Build A Business Case For Endpoint Security

How To Build a Business Case for Endpoint Security

Bottom Line:  Endpoint security business cases do much more than just quantify costs and benefits; they uncover gaps in endpoint and cyber protection that need urgent attention to avert a breach.

Bad actors and hackers prefer to attack threat surfaces that are isolated, vulnerable with out-of-date security patches, yet integrated into a corporate network to provide access. For these reasons and more, endpoints are now the popular choice for hacking attempts. Ponemon Institute’s Third Annual Study on the State of Endpoint Security Risk published in January of this year found that 68% of organizations were victims of successful endpoint attacks in 2019 that compromised data assets and IT infrastructure. Since 2017, successful endpoint attacks have spiked by 26 percent. The Ponemon study also found that it takes the typical organization 97 days to test and deploy patches to each endpoint. When the average endpoint is three months behind on updates, it’s understandable why breaches are increasing. In 2019 the average endpoint breach inflicted $8.94M in losses. The following graphic compares the escalating number of breaches and economic losses for the last three years:

How To Build A Business Case For Endpoint Security

Exploring Endpoint Security’s Many Benefits

Think of building a business case for endpoint security as the checkup every company needs to examine and identify and every threat surface that can be improved. Just as all efforts to preserve every person’s health is priceless today, organizations can’t let their guard down when it comes to keeping endpoint security strong.

The economic fallout of COVID-19 is hitting IT budgets hard. That’s why now is the time to build a business case for endpoint security. CIOs and CISOs have to make budget cuts due to revenue shortfalls. One area no one wants to compromise on, however, is allowing endpoint agents to degrade over time. Absolute Software’s  Endpoint Security Trends Report found that the more complex and layered the endpoint protection, the greater the risk of a breach. Overloading every endpoint with multiple agents is counterproductive and leaves endpoints less secure than if fewer agents were installed.  Additionally, Absolute just launched a Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center, providing insights into the impact of COVID-19 on IT and security controls. An example of the dashboard shown below:

How To Build A Business Case For Endpoint Security

 

Business Case Benefits Need To Apply To  IT and Operations

Absolute and Ponemon’s studies suggest that autonomous endpoints are the future of endpoint security. Activating security at the endpoint and having an undeletable tether to every device solves many of the challenges every business’s IT and Operations teams face. And with the urgency to make IT and Operations as virtual as possible with budgets impacted by COVID-19’s economic fallout, team leaders in each area are focusing on the following shared challenges. COVID-19’s quarantine requirements make hybrid workforces instantly appear and make the budgets needed to support them vanish at the same time.  The following are the shared benefits for IT and Operations that need to anchor any endpoint security business case:

  • The most urgent need is for greater IT Help Desk efficiency. While this is primarily an IT metric, the lack of real-time availability of resources is slowing down remote Operations teams from getting their work done.
  • Both IT and Operations share asset utilization, loss reduction, and lifecycle optimization ownership in many organizations today. Having a persistent, undeletable tether to every device at the hardware level is proving to be an effective approach IT, and Operations teams are relying on to track and improve these metrics. The Absolute and Ponemon studies suggest that the more resilient the endpoint, the better the asset efficiency and lifecycle optimization. Autonomous endpoints can self-heal and regenerate themselves, further improving shared metric performance for IT and Operations.
  • The more autonomous endpoints an organization has, the quicker Operations and IT can work together to pivot into new business models that require virtual operations. Education, Healthcare, Financial Services, Government, and Professional Services are all moving to hybrid remote workplaces and virtual operations as fast as they can. Using the business case for endpoint security as a roadmap to see where threat surfaces need to be improved for new growth is key.

Endpoint Security Benefits 

The following are the benefits that need to be included in creating a business case for endpoint security:

  • Reduce and eventually eliminate IT Help Desk backlogs by keeping endpoints up-to-date. Reducing the call volume on IT Help Desks can potentially save over $45K a year, assuming a typical call takes 10 minutes and the cumulative time savings in 1,260 hours saved by the IT help desk annually.
  • Reduce Security Operations staff interruptions and emergency security projects that require IT’s time to run analytics reports and analyses. Solving complex endpoint security problems burns thousands of dollars and hours over a year between Security, IT, and Operations. Having a persistent, unbreakable connection to every endpoint provides the device visibility teams need to troubleshoot problems. Assuming the 2,520 hours IT Security teams alone spend on emergency endpoint security problems could be reduced, organizations could save approximately $130K a year. 
  • Autonomous endpoints with an undeletable tether improve compliance, control, and visibility and is a must-have in the new hybrid remote workplace. For endpoint security to scale across every threat surface, having an undeletable tether to every device is a must-have for scalable remote work and hybrid remote work programs in the enterprise. They also contribute to lowering compliance costs and improve every aspect of asset management from keeping applications current to ensuring autonomous endpoints can continue to self-heal.
  • Reducing IT asset loss, knowing asset utilization, and system-level software installed by every device can save a typical organization over $300K a year. Autonomous endpoints that can heal themselves and provide a constant hardware connection deliver the data in real-time to have accurate IT asset management and security data teams need to keep software configurations up to date. It’s invaluable for IT teams to have this level of data, as it averts having endpoint patches conflict with one another and leave an endpoint vulnerable to breach.
  • Accurate asset lifecycle planning based on solid data from every device becomes possible. Having autonomous endpoints based on a hardware connection delivers the data needed to increase the accuracy of asset life cycle planning and resource allocation, giving IT and Operations the visibility they need to the device level. IT and Operations teams look to see how they can extend the lifecycle of every device in the field. Cost savings vary by the number of devices in the field and their specific software configurations. The time savings alone is approximately $140K per year in a mid-size financial services firm.
  • The more autonomous and connected an endpoint is, the more automated audit and compliance reporting can become. A key part of staying in compliance is automating the audit process to save valuable time. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) all require ongoing audits. The time and cost savings of automating audits by organizations vary significantly. It’s a reasonable assumption to budget at least a $67K savings per year in audit preparation costs alone.

Evaluating Endpoint Security Costs

The following are the endpoint security costs that need to be included in the business case:

  • Annual, often multi-year endpoint security licensing costs. Endpoint security providers vary significantly in their pricing models, costs, and fees. Autonomous endpoint security platforms can range in licensing costs from $750K to over $1,2M, depending on the size of the organization and the number of devices.
  • Change management, implementation, and integration costs increase with the complexity of IT security, Operations, and IT Service Management (ITSM) integration. Expect to see an average price of between $40K to over $100K to integrate endpoint security platforms with existing ITSM and security information and event management (SIEM) systems.

Creating A Compelling Business Case For Endpoint Security

The best endpoint security business cases provide a 360-degree view of costs, benefits, and why taking action now is needed.

Knowing the initial software and services costs to acquire and integrate endpoint security across your organization, training and change management costs, and ongoing support costs are essential. Many include the following equation in their business cases to provide an ROI estimate. The Return on Investment (ROI) for endpoint security initiative is calculated as follows:

ROI on Endpoint Security (ES) = (ES Initiative Benefits – ES Initiative Costs)/ES Initiative Costs x 100.

A financial services company recently calculated their annual benefits of ES initiative will be $475,000, and the costs, $65,000, will yield a net return of $6.30 for every $1 invested.

Additional factors to keep in mind when building a business case for endpoint security:

  • The penalties for non-compliance to industry-specific laws can be quite steep, with repeated offenses leading to $1M or more in fines and long-term loss of customer trust and revenue. Building a business case for endpoint security needs to factor in the potential non-compliance fees, and penalties companies face for not having autonomous endpoint security. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other laws require audit reporting based on accurate endpoint security data.
  • Endpoint Security ROI estimates fluctuate, and it’s best to get started with a pilot to capture live data with budgets available at the end of a quarter. Typically organizations will allocate the remaining amounts of IT security budgets at the end of a quarter to endpoint security initiatives.
  • Succinctly define the benefits and costs and gain C-level support to streamline the funding process. It’s often the CISOs who are the most driven to achieve greater endpoint security the quickest they can. Today with every business having their entire workforces virtual, there’s added urgency to get endpoint security accomplished.
  • Define and measure endpoint security initiatives’ progress using a digitally-enabled dashboard that can be shared across any device, anytime. Enabling everyone supporting and involved in endpoint security initiatives needs to know what success looks like. Having a digitally-enabled dashboard that clearly shows each goal or objective and the company’s progress toward them is critical to success.

Conclusion

The hard economic reset COVID-19 created has put many IT budgets into freefall at a time when CIOs and CISOs need more funding to protect proliferating hybrid remote workforces. Endpoint security business cases need to factor in how they can create an undeletable resilient defense for every device across their global fleets. And just as every nation on the planet isn’t letting its guard down against the COVID-19 virus, every IT and cybersecurity team can’t let theirs down either when it comes to protecting every endpoint.

Autonomous endpoints that can self-heal and regenerate operating systems and configurations are the future of endpoint security management. The race to be an entirely virtual enterprise is on, and the most autonomous endpoints can be, the more cost-effective and valuable they are. The best business cases bridge the gap between IT and Operations needs. CIOs need endpoint security solutions to be low-cost, low maintenance, reliable yet agile. Operations want an endpoint solution that has a low cost of support, minimal if any impact of IT Service Help Desks, and always-on monitoring. Building a business case for endpoint security gives IT and Operations the insights they need to protect the constantly changing parameters of their businesses.

 

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