Don’t let cybersecurity breaches and hacking ruin your business growth.
Unfortunately, we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg with the recent hacking of a few major US companies which were then held for ransom. A very recent report predicts a flood of this type of bribery and not just with government agencies, critical infrastructure, or high-profile companies, but possibly with individuals. If you think about it, how much would you pay to have your smartphone unlocked? $50? $100? $200?
While you may not like it, the easiest path to resolving the situation would be to spend $100 to be back in business. That’s no different than the logic Colonial Pipeline used when they decided to pay a hefty ransom to get their pipeline back online. Spend a couple of million and be back in business, or lose millions per day with an empty pipeline. The decision is pretty easy to make once you put a calculator to it.
While staying one step ahead of the bad guys is an ongoing game of cat and mouse, the approach to securing your company is not all that different from how you secure your home, car, or facility.
Deterrence Is Usually Most Effective, Even When It Comes To Cybersecurity
There is no magic bullet, but deterrence is always the first and usually most effective step. If a thief is looking for a car or home to break into, he will usually look for the least secure target. If I leave a pile of cash in open view in my car with the doors unlocked, it makes for a tempting target. If my car is locked and parked in a well-lit place with no valuables in sight, it’s a much less attractive target. Simple enough, right?
To some degree, the same is true with cybersecurity. The harder it is to hack into your company, the more likely it is that a bad actor will move on to an easier target. In that same previously mentioned report, there were examples of companies who have been hacked and have admitted that they could have done more to protect themselves.
As a matter of fact, this is true of most companies. They simply choose to not spend resources on doing more because they do not see themselves as a high-value target. But in this game, if you are perceived as having the money to pay a large ransom, then you are a high-value target.
Again, if a bad actor wants in, he might be able to breach, but why make It easy on him? The difficulty is not just being smarter than the bad guys, but being constantly vigilant which can be difficult and costly in a complex environment with so many entry points.
A Modern Desktop Minimizes Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
A major component of that vigilance is keeping the desktop environment up to date with the latest security patches from the provider.
To complicate things even more, software providers are moving to a shorter release cycle which requires a significant effort to keep the patches and releases (which often contain critical security updates) integrated into your desktop estate. This is not just business apps running on the desktop or mobile device, but also utility software such as the operating system, email, and messaging. For example, Microsoft has been pushing enterprises for years towards a very fast-paced six-month release schedule.
That means that every six months, you need to test and deploy a new version of Windows to stay compliant. Also, you need to make sure all the apps will continue to work with the new version of Windows. All of a sudden, an easy-to-understand problem/solution becomes overly complicated when you have 100,000 desktops. Even in a small to medium size organization, this can turn into a time-consuming and expensive process.
Reduce Hidden Risks, Costs, & Complexity By Automating Your Modern Desktop Management
The good news is that companies like Access IT USA provide tools that automate the process of keeping your desktop estate up to date continuously and at a fraction of the cost of doing it manually, thus making this a viable approach.
In addition to the size, cost, and complexity of this issue there are hidden risks. As shocking as it sounds, many large organizations do not know what they have in their desktop estate or how current their inventory of apps is. We refer to this knowledge as the “hygiene” of the desktop estate.
As an example, we completed an inventory of the desktop estate for a large enterprise and found over 5,000 unique applications in varying states of version currency or even license compliance. To further the problem, over 1,000 of these apps were no longer being used and had been on the desktop for years. This is not an unusual situation at all.
Unfortunately, it means that certainly there were apps that were many releases behind and missing important security updates. Luckily, we have automation tools that can give a company a full picture of the current state in a week or so.
So, what’s the fix? Keeping your desktop estate up to date ensures that you have the latest security updates that come with each patch or release of each software asset in the landscape. It is one major piece of the security puzzle and possibly the most complex, given the number of apps and endpoints.
The options for addressing this security puzzle piece are the following:
- Do nothing and hope for the best.
- Put a large organization and process in place to manually inventory all the desktop apps. Then start testing and deploying new versions of software to all the desktops in the landscape.
- Use Access IT USA automation tools that make the process faster, cheaper, and more reliable to keep the desktop estate current and as safe as possible.
- Move to a cloud-based desktop-as-a-service model that takes advantage of state-of-the-art security by using a tier 1 cloud provider. This also makes it easier to automate the app packaging, testing, and deployment of software patches and version updates.
Deciding on which approach to take is not simple. It depends on the state of the desktop estate, the status of your company in terms of on-prem, cloud, or hybrid-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, the impact on the organization, the financial impact of retiring assets (especially legacy application sprawl), and the timing with other priorities.
If you play the scenario out, the conversation — after a breach and after a costly ransom has been paid — would probably sound like this: “We could have avoided this if we had spent more to move to a modern desktop” or “We knew the risk but moving to a modern desktop was too costly”. In either case, doing a quick assessment to see where you are and what it will cost to move to a more secure modern desktop will at least let you make an informed decision.
Access IT USA can do a two-week assessment for a minimal cost to give you a view of where you are, what your options are, the cost, and a roadmap of how to get to your chosen solution. Our proprietary tools allow us to automate the asset and application discovery process to quickly deliver a “state of the estate” to give you a view into where you stand. Our consultants are experts in this area and can quickly give you a framework to make an informed decision on the condition of your desktop environment for modern desktop readiness.