OPEX efficiency through unified cybersecurity

By Winston Wong, ANZ Security Sales Engineer, Jamf
Wednesday, 11 October, 2023

OPEX efficiency through unified cybersecurity

The cybersecurity financial burden on organisations has steadily increased at an annual rate of around 11%. According to projections from Gartner, global expenditure on information security and risk management products and services is expected to surge beyond USD188 billion (AUD289 billion) in 2023, up from USD158 billion (AUD 243 billion) in 2021.

A substantial contributing factor is the proliferation of remote working, a shift in the environment shaped by the COVID pandemic. Recent estimates indicate that more than 67% of Australians now either frequently or consistently work from home, as opposed to 42% before the pandemic. This has introduced significant challenges and added substantial costs for IT departments, exponentially expanding the attack surface and necessitating implementation of new security measures. Managing a large fleet of remote devices, including tasks like patching, upgrading and inventory management, has become a complex undertaking.

In its 7 Top Trends in Cybersecurity for 2022 report, Gartner identified expansion of the attack surface as the foremost trend. With 60% of knowledge workers operating remotely and at least 18% not returning to the office, these changes in work dynamics — coupled with increased usage of public cloud, highly connected supply chains and the adoption of cyber-physical systems — have exposed new and intricate attack surfaces. In addition, Gartner identified zero trust protection for remote workers as the most rapidly growing security market segment, with a projected growth rate of 31% forecast for 2023.

Organisations resorting to multiple siloed security solutions

To combat escalating security threats, organisations often deploy various disparate systems and solutions to safeguard and oversee remote devices and communications channels. Each of these carries its own procurement, licensing and management costs, cumulatively imposing a significant financial burden on organisations and impacting operational efficiency. In addition, there are expenses associated with the loss or theft of remote devices.

The complexity and cost of securing remote access is amplified by the presence of diverse operating systems and versions, especially in BYOD environments. Ensuring all devices are up-to-date with the latest security patches and software further adds to complexity and cost. Maintaining secure connections and preventing data interception becomes challenging when users access resources over various connection types.

Less is more — why unified solutions help reduce operational costs

When securing a network, unified tools that simplify the complexities of managing and securing remote devices reduce operational costs. A single, integrated, multipurpose product provides many essential functions of remote device operation and management: security, inventory control, patching and updating.

Zero-touch deployment capabilities enable the enrolment and configuration of new devices on a network without physical interaction with the devices themselves. Centralised software distribution functions automate the distribution of standard and/or custom software packages to end users’ workstations, ensuring the correct software and applications are on each device. Additionally, patch management functions can monitor for patches to the most common software and enable updating of end devices to be centrally managed.

Tracking is one of the more time-consuming tasks associated with managing a large fleet of remote devices — tracking hardware assets and installed software to ensure compliance with licensing, device lifecyle management and auditing requirements. A unified tool incorporates these functions and significantly streamlines and automates these tasks.

Unified security tools enable the swift and consistent setup of user settings such as Wi-Fi and email across all devices, consolidating hardware, software and security configuration details from all devices into a single location. They also facilitate the deployment of apps to devices over-the-air, allow for licence reassignment as the workforce evolves, and provide robust data security measures, password enforcement and remote device locking or wiping capabilities when needed.

These solutions empower users to take responsibility for their devices, reducing the support burden. Users can install apps from a centralised app store, update software and perform basic device tasks without the help of IT.

Managing and securing remote devices using various siloed solutions is difficult and can be complex and costly. Opting for a single integrated tool not only eliminates these challenges and reduces operational cost, it also assists IT teams by enhancing cybersecurity and automating tasks including support ticket management and device tracking.

Image credit: iStock.com/metamorworks

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