This year, several trends are converging, making endpoint vulnerability one of the most urgent IT challenges organizations need to address. The temperature has been rising for years on this issue, and it is coming to a boil in 2023 in ways that are already making it a top priority all the way up to the boardroom.
The sheer number of endpoints, particularly those in use outside of the traditional corporate network, is a major driver for urgency. Work models that involve work-from-home options are here to stay for many organizations. The laptops, phones, and tablets of employees are open to vulnerabilities and require effective management as IT assets, and not just for people working from home. Workers whose duties are in the field or who work in non-office environments use tablets, smartphones, and other devices to do their jobs – adding to the rapidly-growing number of endpoints that organizations must manage and protect.
The sharp rise in high-stakes cybercrimes is the other major driver for this urgency. Despite a plethora of emerging security tools, technologies, and services on the market, 2022 was another record-breaking year for cybercrime both in terms of the number of incidents and the cost of those breaches. This year will be even more severe, particularly as ransomware attacks and other cyberterrorism initiatives are launched by organized crime entities and governments overseas. New cyber weapons being developed as a part of this escalation will undoubtedly be used against US & EU critical infrastructure and businesses.
Against that backdrop of sharply rising cybercrime, the growing number of endpoints that organizations manage represents a large attack surface. Organizations have tried to mitigate these threats with many security tools, technologies, and services, but these patchwork strategies have left organizations vulnerable. There is also a severe shortage of expertise for this complex security work. MDMs, UEMs, and RMMs require expertise to manage endpoints, while experts remain in short supply, budgets are under pressure due to economic headwinds, and threat actors are using AI and automation to out-maneuver overworked IT Security teams.
Simply put, endpoints are the soft underbelly of an organization’s security profile. The bad guys know this. And, in 2023, even the C-suite and boards of directors know it. Corporate boards have gotten the message that endpoint vulnerability is critical. That message arrived loud and clear through cautionary tales of breaches at other companies, urgent alerts from analysts like Gartner, and a steady stream of cybersecurity reports from trusted industry and governmental entities like the ones recently published by CISA and ENISA.
This feeling of urgency at the highest levels of organizations is a game changer. In response to the mounting threat, I see leadership demanding visibility, imposing stricter controls, and requiring transparency from their IT Security executives to demonstrate compliance with security policies. To serve this mission, more will be demanded from CISOs & CTOs, who must fight for budgets to bring in automation that will decrease the reliance on skilled labor in a wake of hiring freezes and downsizing.
This dramatically changes the stakes for IT Security leaders. It’s not enough to ‘appear’ secure. They need to ‘be’ secure, and they need to act immediately. There is simply too much work for humans to do to bridge the gaps in most enterprises, especially when hyperautomation and AI solutions are already available to move IT Security forward with alacrity. Businesses need to urgently embrace new technologies in endpoint management and patch management, rather than rely on traditional tools and manual processes that have failed to protect companies.
The two biggest problems at the endpoint are identity management and vulnerability management – the same issues we have had for over 30 years. Where endpoint and end-user management (e.g., “helpdesk” or “service desk”) were routinely considered somehow less skilled or savvy than server teams and cloud architects, CISOs & CTOs are taking a much more active role in modernizing endpoint management, and want a level of reporting and accountability that can drive the risk down to a level that has never been achieved before. To deliver the visibility required, we need endpoint management systems that are built to measure and report progress in ways that resonate with executives.
As a result, CISOs will conduct a thorough assessment of their XDR/EDR and vulnerability scanning solutions in 2023, and this will not lead to the use of more tools but rather a consolidation of tools. CTOs will be compelled to reduce the number of tools into a cost-effective, unified platform for endpoint protection, rather than the patchwork that so many companies have today. I believe both enterprise and medium-sized businesses will consolidate along frameworks provided by the big 3 (AWS, GCP, and Microsoft), such as Microsoft Modern Management, and the endpoint management solutions that come included in that ecosystem, such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager.
The organizations that prioritize this shift will meet the moment and drive business value through their increased security and resiliency.
Aiden is ideally positioned as a trusted partner to organizations that see these converging trends and want to address these vulnerabilities. AidenVision has proven to be a must-have difference-maker for organizations tackling these issues, and we will be bringing more innovative solutions to market in 2023 that help organizations become more secure through IT automation. In less than 3 years, Aiden has established itself as a leader in our industry, and 2023 will be a pivotal year in our growth as we take on an even bigger role in helping solve these urgent challenges for larger enterprises.