IT Modernization: Why Old Solutions Can’t Secure Today’s Environments

Dec 17, 2021
IT Leadership

Keeping things ‘status quo’ is more dangerous than ever for IT leaders. Fortunately, change doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem.

Credit: flyparade

There’s a simple reason why organizations have recently experienced so many new vulnerabilities and breaches. Over the past year, organizations transformed their endpoint environment, and yet they continue to manage and secure their new environments using legacy tools designed for legacy environments.

What’s changed in the modern endpoint environment

Historically, endpoint environments were relatively small, static, and predictable. They were filled with endpoints that were provisioned by IT and which lived on-premises.

But over the past year, organizations have:

  • Moved from a majority on-premises environment to a mostly distributed workforce. According to findings from the Pew Research Center, 71% of employees have continued to perform most of their work at home all or most of the time, compared to just 20% pre-pandemic.
  • Dissolved their perimeters. Organizations spent more than a decade building defense-in-depth around their on-premises workforce. Yet, that perimeter was only designed to manage and secure endpoints within its walls and became largely ineffective as soon as users and their endpoints left the office.
  • Flooded their environment with new endpoints, data, and connections. After COVID-19, according to recent research from Statistica, organizations increased their volume of heavily used devices by 11%, increased the volume of sensitive data stored on their devices by 62%, and adopted 176% more collaboration apps.

Despite making these major changes to their environments, many organizations continue to manage and secure their endpoints using legacy tools that were designed for their old environments — with unfortunate results.

Why you can’t apply legacy tools to modern environments

To be clear, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with legacy endpoint tools. Yesterday’s endpoint tools worked well in yesterday’s endpoint environment.

But when these tools are applied to today’s environment, they typically fail to perform fundamental endpoint management and security tasks. Specifically, these tools fail across a few critical points:

They can’t easily manage and secure large, evolving environments filled with distributed endpoints.

Most legacy tools are built on a hub-and-spoke architecture that requires dozens or hundreds of staging servers to perform simple endpoint management and security tasks. This structure prevents them from scaling quickly alongside rapidly changing networks and forces them to consume a high amount of bandwidth to scan and apply security controls to large, distributed networks. Organizations commonly don’t have this bandwidth to spare, creating visibility gaps and low levels of compliance with simple controls.

They can’t deliver the endpoint data that organizations need when they need it. Most legacy tools utilize centralized data collection and instrumentation. Every time they want to analyze endpoint data, they must first pull all that data from the network and store it in a central repository. But today’s sprawling endpoint environments produce more data than legacy tools can quickly centralize. With legacy tools, organizations can no longer collect, store, and analyze endpoint data in a useable manner, and must make endpoint management and security decisions based on limited, stale data sets.

These tools make endpoint management and security needlessly complex and costly. Most legacy tools were designed to solve a single, specific problem. This design commonly forces organizations to adopt a new point tool every time they bring a new asset type or vulnerability into their environment. These point tools don’t work well together and create increasing complexity. The Ponemon Cyber Resilience Study recently found that 63% of security teams are spending more time managing their tools than they spend combating threats, and 53% believe their excess volume of tools is actually making their security posture worse.

These are not small points of failure. They suggest a fundamental mismatch between legacy tools and modern environments.

The problems legacy tools are creating

To see how this fundamental mismatch might be playing out in the real world, we surveyed hundreds of technology leaders about their endpoint management and security tools and how they were

performing. We learned that:

  • Technology leaders have dozens of endpoint tools. Most technology leaders (70%) are using 11 to more than 50 tools to manage and secure their endpoints. Nearly half (46%) are using more than 20 tools, and 20% are using more than 30 tools. Four percent of respondents don’t know how many tools they’re using.
  • Those tools aren’t effective. Many technology leaders aren’t collecting the accurate, real-time security data they need to assess and reduce their risk. Respondents stated that their three most challenging risk-related tasks were gaining real-time visibility into data (88%), combining data from legacy on-premises and cloud infrastructure (79%), and deriving accurate data (77%).
  • It’s time for new, modern endpoint tools. More than half of respondents (53%) are somewhat or extremely likely to rethink their point tools and consolidate their endpoint management and security tools in 2021. Further, 59% of respondents believe their legacy, on-premises infrastructure poses a major challenge to managing distributed endpoints, and 62% believe IT must modernize these tools and move endpoint capabilities to the cloud.
  • Legacy tools can’t manage or secure today’s new environments. They’re creating problems that are contributing to — if not outright causing — the increase in breaches and vulnerabilities that we have seen over the past year.

Modernization doesn’t have to be complicated. Technology leaders must simply replace their legacy endpoint tools with modern endpoint tools designed to perform management and security within today’s new environments.

Learn how to gain complete visibility over all your endpoints and perform large-scale actions within minutes.