Rewind a couple of years and enterprises were heavily focused on acquiring new tech to drive forward their digitisation plans. Then, when the pandemic struck, organisations were forced to fix any technology gaps in their environment and digitise services to hastily plug these gaps.
Cybercriminals – aware of the opportunity that the new remote landscape offered – were also taking advantage, quickly exploiting vulnerabilities across the digital ecosystem to infiltrate and breach organisations. The evolving threat landscape and subsequent widespread data breaches also led to an increase in security-driven initiatives to protect sensitive assets. But unfortunately, this approach also resulted in technology sprawl and duplication with overlapping security tools adversely impacting security posture. Organisations made a new addition every time a security gap or vulnerability was found, and technology was identified to address it.
This technology sprawl not only added complexity, but it was also expensive, resource-intensive, and difficult for network and security teams to manage. And while these sprawling environments brought flexibility for the workforce, the compounded cyber risk presented network and security teams with an immense challenge, as they struggled with an overload of technology that all required deployment, operational support, and maintenance.
Continuous monitoring and stronger defence
Fast forward to 2023 and the paradigm is shifting again. It is moving towards a more continuous approach to monitoring and securing data and networks that balances the needs of regulatory compliance, robust protection, and security. Without a doubt, cloud and mobility have driven, and continue to drive, digital transformation initiatives in the quest to make businesses more agile and competitive. But this must be achieved while protecting users, workloads, endpoints, IoT devices, and more in the face of ever-growing, sophisticated cyberthreats.
Now enterprises are searching for ways to consolidate, centralise, and integrate their technology while also optimising it, and they are increasingly turning to specialised, reliable managed service partners to assist them in doing this.
A distributed workforce requires a Zero Trust approach
Additionally, with workforces scattered over several locations, countries, and continents, this new highly distributed environment demands a completely different approach; another shift in how the technology stack is implemented, managed, and secured, one that takes a Zero Trust approach.
In effect, digital transformation means that users, devices, apps, and data can be anywhere, meaning that traditional perimeter-based approaches to network security are no longer fit for purpose. That’s why a Zero Trust (or a trust no-one) approach to achieve secure, efficient connectivity is essential to minimise business risk, eliminate point products, and reduce overall costs and complexity.
Doing more with less
Also, in today’s volatile and uncertain landscape, with the expanded attack surface that organizations are tasked to defend – despite industry-wide talent shortages – the new mantra is increasingly turning to how enterprises can “do more with less”. This doesn’t mean working harder or longer. It means applying and optimising technology to amplify what an organisation can achieve amid today’s challenges of constant change.
AI is certainly being hailed as the answer to unlock benefits that free precious resources for more productive work. This is certainly what Microsoft has been promoting, pushing organisations to be more data-driven, to optimize current tech, to deliver efficiency with automation and AI, to innovate through the use of cloud, to reenergize the workforce, and finally protect, everyone, everything, everywhere – all at once. Certainly, cloud-powered technologies, such as AI, IoT, and ML, offer organisations unparalleled agility and efficiency by automating processes, which accelerates innovation and makes security comprehensive while driving growth and advancing sustainability commitments.
Do cybersecurity budgets address enterprise requirements?
And despite the economic and other geo-political challenges, enterprises must continue to adapt to evolving market dynamics to meet customer needs. Their solid digital foundation has gone a long way in helping them innovate quickly and deliver critical business outcomes – but in this new environment have they gone far enough?
A recent Neustar International Security Council survey found that 49% of security decision-makers felt that their organisation’s cybersecurity budget was insufficient to fully address their requirements. In the survey, a large majority of respondents agree that C-suite and board-level decision-makers understand the current security threats their business is facing (83%), but a significant share of respondents (69%) are also concerned that current budget constraints are limiting the use of new strategies, technologies and implementation practices.
We are finding that customers have similar concerns and are increasingly turning to us for help. Embracing a trusted managed service partner enables them to implement the necessary critical technologies at a lower cost and also understand how best to consolidate and optimise their current technology infrastructure.
Shifting from a CapEx to an OpEx model
In my experience, a trusted provider can help customers deploy the required solutions with the right level of expertise at the right time, augmenting in-house resources. Additionally, they can enable enterprises to scale solutions and services up or down as requirements evolve and change. Working with a managed service provider also enables enterprises to shift costs from a capital expenditure to an operational expenditure model and to phase out services and technology they no longer need.
We take on the responsibility of investing in and maintaining solutions and infrastructure, as well as hiring teams to manage the technology and stay abreast of industry developments and the latest threats.
Not all managed service providers are created equal
However, a word of caution, not all managed service providers are created equal, so enterprises should look to work with the right partner. This means looking beyond cost savings to all the other benefits that a partner brings to the table such as superior technology, an innovative approach, exceptional service, deep expertise, speed to results, and the flexibility to ensure that solutions can adapt to the organisation’s unique needs. This should include reducing silos within large enterprises, and allowing for organizations to align and gain the visibility and control necessary for cyber protection.
Managed services will continue to be an attractive option, regardless of the global economic picture, as enterprises look to be more resilient, adaptable, and responsive, while doing more with less. Partners who focus on securely and efficiently connecting users and devices to applications and data quickly and cost-effectively will be in demand as they enable the digital transformation needs of large enterprises both now and in the future.
By Brian Ramsey, VP Americas, Xalient