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How to Reduce Complexity and Lower Costs by Modernizing Your Approach to Cybersecurity

Complexity is the bane of security administrators. This is doubly true as organizations seek to empower a growing remote workforce—many of whom have never even worked remotely, let alone from home.

Complexity adds security costs and risk, putting organizations at a severe disadvantage against adversaries that are increasingly using automation, machine learning, social engineering and other modern tools to launch more sophisticated and potentially devastating attacks.

The need to alleviate pressure on overworked cybersecurity teams is intensifying as a result of COVID-19 and the shift to remote work. The reality of an ongoing shortage of qualified security personnel is compounding a skills gap that is only getting worse over time.

A survey of cybersecurity and IT professionals by Enterprise Strategy Group reveals that the “skills crisis” has worsened for four consecutive years. The ramifications, it says, are “an increasing workload, unfulfilled open job requisitions and an inability to learn or use cyber technologies to their full potential, putting organizations at significant risk.”

To help overburdened cybersecurity teams, organizations are looking to comprehensive, integrated, end-to-end solutions to fill the gap. By modernizing and unifying your approach to cybersecurity, you can reduce complexity, lower costs, ease the burden on cybersecurity personnel and mitigate the risk of external attacks or internal breaches.

Here are some of the key steps you can take:

Modernize Identity and Access Management (IAM)
With the shift to remote work, the teams responsible for access and identity need to provide secure access to thousands of applications scattered across on-premises, public cloud and private cloud environments. As noted by Forrester Research, “To be successful, these teams require a simple solution that can cut through these complexities and apply consistent security and access policies to all applications and users.”

By moving IAM to the cloud with Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD), organizations can deliver to users a single sign-on experience, allowing remote workers to access applications from anywhere. IT can reduce operational time and expenses by automating user provisioning, reducing policy and vendor management, and eliminating the need to patch and maintain on-premises servers. According to a Forrester Total Impact™ Study, there-year cost savings with Azure AD totaled $8.8 million with a return on investment of 123%.

Leverage Unified, Centralized Hybrid Cloud Management
The future of cybersecurity is in the cloud. It makes sense, because cloud delivery is a much more efficient model for cybersecurity. It is faster, more responsive to active threats, and safer and simpler for applying policy, governance, patches, updates and virtually anything else in today’s new world of remote work.

When it comes to cloud management, Microsoft has a huge advantage versus the more traditional cybersecurity providers because its solutions are not only tightly integrated with existing software but also cloud-native and able to deliver value across multiple public cloud environments. Azure security services offer an integrated solution that can also help protect other public cloud and on-premises infrastructure. Azure Security Center, Azure Network Security and Azure Sentinel enable customers to reduce costs, improve operations and alleviate complexity, while strengthening protection and mitigating the risk of breaches.    

Move to a Platform Model With Built-in, Not Bolted-on, Security
In today’s environment, cybersecurity is multilayered and multidimensional. It is no longer about just protecting the perimeter with a firewall—in fact, with remote work and work from home, every user and device is a perimeter unto itself. With a platform model, you can evolve to a future-ready architecture in which security is built in and tightly integrated with the everyday productivity tools users are already using, such as Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Azure AD.

Built-in integration makes cybersecurity less expensive: Compared with paying for dozens of point products and their upkeep, the additional software licensing fees for built-in security and compliance protections are a fraction of the cost. Integration also makes security management for administrators much easier, with automated updates and patching, coordinated governance and version control, and simplified onboarding and offboarding.

Finally, the platform model accelerates access to innovation, making it easier to expand automation, deploy Zero Trust and leverage advanced threat protection. With an integrated, end-to-end platform, cybersecurity teams and security operations centers have a faster path to using machine learning and artificial intelligence to reduce costs, simplify operations, reduce risk and improve protection.

Taking the Next Step
This is a time when the workplace is transforming quickly, with COVID-19 as a catalyst. It is therefore a time to transform cybersecurity to keep pace with the new workplace. By modernizing identity and access management, leveraging hybrid cloud management and moving to an integrated, end-to-end platform model, decision-makers can take proactive steps to protect their organizations and remote users—while also reducing security team workloads. To begin, extend or expand your cybersecurity modernization journey, please visit Microsoft.