The cybersecurity fail-safe

Despite spending £122bn each year on security solutions, organisations are finding it harder than ever to protect their IT infrastructure. Security is changing and it's time for the convergence of security and operations

The huge increase in home and hybrid working over the past two years means that CIOs and CISOs have re-evaluated security policies and are looking to bolster endpoint security. It’s little wonder that Gartner Group report that 61% of CIOs of organisations plan to increase spending on cyber and information security this year.

It’s turned out to be a bigger project than expected. According to a survey of 750 IT decision makers carried out by Tanium, 82% of CISOs said that they were overhauling endpoint security, but 94% were faced with endpoints that were either unprotected or overloaded with conflicting software agents. As many as one in five endpoints were discovered to be vulnerable to attack.

Organisations are experiencing more attacks than ever before. Cybersecurity Ventures notes that ransomware attacks on businesses occur every 11 seconds. All the while, businesses experienced a 50% increase in weekly cyberattacks in 2021.

Unlike traditional, fragmented approaches to endpoint management, XEM maximises visibility, control and trust, and allows teams to interact with all endpoints in seconds, regardless of the scale and complexity of the IT environment

Cyber criminals are also becoming more targeted in their attacks. Microsoft’s recent ‘Digital Defence Report’ stated that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot, and which threaten even the most seasoned IT security team. Criminal groups targeting businesses have moved infrastructure to the cloud, where they can hide among legitimate cloud services, and attackers have developed new ways to scan the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware.

This massive growth in the number and complexity of attacks, combined with a global shortage of IT security professionals, is a big problem for businesses.

Something needs to change
Endpoint security company Tanium says there is a fundamental problem in how most organisations approach endpoint security management. As the number of IT security threats increases exponentially, companies often respond by buying another point solution. In the last year, 90% of organisations have bought at least one new IT security point solution, and almost half (45%) have bought at least four new products, according to the Foundry ‘Security Priorities Study.’ A typical enterprise now has 43 separate IT security and security management tools in its infrastructure.

This approach simply isn’t sustainable. When businesses add more tools to their infrastructure, they don’t necessarily increase their protection, because the pace with which new threats emerge is faster than most organisations can keep up with. This is especially true in today’s highly distributed organisations. There’s also some evidence that the effectiveness of some point solutions is falling; according to one recent report in the New York Times, the first detection rates of some antivirus tools has fallen below five percent.

Then there’s the issue of keeping up with a proliferation of point solutions, each with its own data, interface and owner. Perhaps one tool is managed by IT operations and reports into one data silo daily, but another is managed by compliance and reports quarterly into another data silo. If that scenario is repeated 40 times, that’s an example of the data headache that CIOs and CISOs are facing.

This patchwork approach cannot provide complete protection, and it can be actively harmful to corporate security efforts. If an organisation has multiple security tools sitting in multiple silos, CIOs can’t get a clear overview of how many endpoints there are, much less how effectively they are protected, and what changes need to be made.

It’s crystal clear that businesses need a new approach to endpoint management that helps us to keep pace with tomorrow’s threats

In many ways, security is a data visibility problem. When an organisation is running dozens of systems, and dozens of IT security solutions, each generating huge volumes of data at different rates, how is that data being integrated and understood? Simply put, companies can’t protect what they can’t see.

Today’s security decision-makers need help. They need a platform that helps them to keep up with a proliferation of endpoints, and to understand exactly how each one is performing, the threats posed to it, and how it can be protected. This information needs to be available in one place, and in real-time. Only then can CIOs create a single view of security that is needed to deliver effective protection and create a strategy that prioritises the right things at the right time.

What’s needed is a converged solution.

Just how bad are things out there?
Tanium spoke with hundreds of IT security decision makers who said they want a way to reduce and simplify endpoint security management.

Key challenges that organisations face in managing endpoint security include siloed teams, especially in IT operations and security, that aren’t able to share security data quickly or effectively. Despite this, many business leaders feel a false sense of confidence about their protection. Second, poor visibility of security data leaves networks vulnerable to attack. Some 64% of businesses expect to experience a cyber attack in the next 12 months.

This lack of visibility and fragmented approach puts companies at risk of financial losses, downtime, damaged brand reputation and potential heavy fines for non-compliance. This is a huge concern given that 20.4% of vulnerabilities that are discovered within businesses are classed as high or critical risk. It also takes an average of 61.4 days to remediate a critical risk, according to Edgescan, presenting a huge security risk to organisations.

Endpoint security management must be a higher priority for business leaders. In a recent Harvard Business Review survey, 70% of business leaders said they thought that leadership should be more concerned about cybersecurity.

A new approach to endpoint security management
“It’s crystal clear that businesses need a new approach to endpoint management that helps us to keep pace with tomorrow’s threats,” says Steve Daheb, CMO at Tanium. The reason why so many enterprises fall victim to ransomware attacks is that the tools they use are no match for the sophistication of attackers: tools are slow, unreliable and lack a common dataset to operate from. And they inherently create silos.

This approach to security isn’t working. It’s time to unite tools and data with a unified solution: converged endpoint management (XEM).

Introducing converged endpoint management (XEM)
Tanium takes a unified approach to IT security management. Its platform combines multiple endpoint tools and data so that organisations can have visibility and real-time data on all endpoints, through a single interface.

“Unlike traditional, fragmented approaches to endpoint management, XEM maximises visibility, control and trust, and allows teams to interact with all endpoints in seconds, regardless of the scale and complexity of the IT environment,” says Daheb.

XEM provides accurate, real-time data to support end-to-end automation, so information security teams can align their efforts and protect their organisations against attacks more effectively. With a unified approach, there’s no need for staff from IT operations, compliance, security and numerous other siloes to spend hours collating and sharing data. It can be viewed in a single interface, meaning IT security teams can do more with less resources.

Legacy management systems are often at the heart of problems for organisations looking to improve visibility and efficiency. Moving to a converged platform gives back countless hours of management time, allowing companies to allocate headcount elsewhere and address dangerous vulnerabilities more quickly and effectively across the whole organisation.

The case for better data
IT leaders can’t make effective decisions about security without the right visibility into data across their infrastructure. XEM provides real-time information from every single endpoint, so that critical information isn’t locked in siloes, accessed by different teams using different tools.

By converging tools into a single interface, companies can focus on actually delivering effective security. With XEM, organisations can easily see, assess and manage all their IT security data in a single view. Data can be shared, allowing for more effective collaboration and easier, more cost-effective management. Ultimately, a converged approach provides reliable, timely insight that can be used to drive better, faster decision-making. That’s essential in today’s fast-moving threat landscape.

Providing effective governance
IT governance is a top priority for many CIOs but when it comes to security, it can be almost impossible to achieve. Organisations have multiple teams with responsibility for IT security, including compliance, governance, IT operations, security and risk. These teams are often working in isolation from each other, so there’s no visibility of organisation-wide threats.

“Without collaboration or visibility about organisation-wide risks, enterprises can develop blind spots, making both security and compliance a challenge. If you don’t have visibility into all your endpoints, it’s almost impossible to enforce access policies and maintain control across your IT infrastructure,” Daheb says.

The good news is that fixing these blind spots doesn’t need to be a complex, time-consuming process. XEM provides a relatively quick solution to existing challenges, increasing efficiency and effectiveness by reducing unnecessary complexity and improving visibility of your IT assets. Daheb adds: “Tanium’s platform approach means that everything you need – from risk and compliance to data monitoring and more – is accomplished in a single solution. We can identify where all your data is in a matter of seconds, meaning that you can deploy security tools across all endpoints, with a single control plane and common data set and taxonomy.”

Making a difference
Daheb says: “Tanium’s XEM offering is the only solution that allows teams to collectively perform detailed and complete discovery, in-depth assessments, enterprise prioritisation, cross-platform remediation, and continuous vigilance everywhere.”

XEM-based approaches to endpoint security allow organisations to deliver convergence of IT operations and security, as well as the security infrastructures that are based on point solutions. The Tanium platform aims to change the market and meet the twin challenges of spiralling cybersecurity threats and rising complexity of endpoint security management.
Without XEM, the industry will inevitably see more breaches, more attacks, more data leaks and more problems. It’s time to make a change.

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