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Distributed Workforce Drives Endpoint Security Demand

Enterprise IT security leaders need to protect endpoint devices from cyber attacks. Moreover, they want to offer effective and secure remote access for employees who are now working from home. Besides, this demand will continue to grow as more organizations embrace flexible working models. 

According to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner, two trends will have a transformational impact on global businesses within the next 10 years. Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC) security will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years, while it will take five to 10 years for mainstream adoption of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

"Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was little interest in BYOPC," said Rob Smith, senior research director at Gartner. "At the start of the pandemic, organizations simply had no other alternative."

Endpoint Security App Market Development

The urgent need to enable employees to work from home and a lack of available hardware bolstered its adoption globally. Gartner clients said their adoption of BYOPC is up from less than 5 percent in 2019.

According to the Gartner assessment, the wide and sudden adoption of BYOPC has become a necessary security strategy which requires chief information security officers (CISOs) and other enterprise security leaders to put in place specific security practices.

"CISOs and security leaders should expect the need to support BYOPC to be dependent upon a long-term work-from-home strategy, and also expect to support security tools needed for a BYOPC environment," said Mr. Smith.

They need to prioritize their security practices, including enabling multifactor authentication (MFA) for all access to any corporate IT resource regardless if virtual or not, and regardless if the software application is sourced from a public cloud or on-premises data center.

Organizations must contain all cloud application data and disallow local storage or upload of local data from any BYOPC device as this could infect the corporate cloud computing system. They also need to virtualize access to any traditional on-premises application.

As BYOPCs can be infected with malware or ransomware and fall victim to phishing attacks, IT organizations must limit and control access by offsetting the PC hardware investment with critical security technologies such as MFA, cloud access security broker (CASB), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and desktop as a service (DaaS).

"Without investment in these technologies, IT faces a much higher potential cost in the form of ransomware," said Mr. Smith. "It is also critical that IT works with HR, legal, and workers councils to develop a proper work-from-home policy."

Also, at the peak this year, SASE allows any endpoint to access any application over any network in a protected manner. SASE delivers multiple capabilities such as SD-WAN, secure web gateways, CASB, next-generation firewall and ZTNA.

Although SASE is relatively new, the COVID-19 pandemic has fostered the need for business continuity plans that include flexible, anywhere, anytime, secure remote access, at scale -- even from previously untrusted devices.

As SASE services are cloud-native -- dynamically scalable, globally accessible, multi-tenant and including zero-trust network access -- they are driving its rapid adoption. Over the last three months, SASE has been adopted by more than 40 percent of global remote workers.

Outlook for Endpoint Security Applications Growth

SASE enables IT operations and security teams to deliver a rich set of secure networking and remote access services in a consistent and integrated manner to support the needs of digital business transformation, edge computing, and workforce mobility.

Gartner now estimates that total worldwide spending on information security will reach $142 billion in 2020, which is an increase of 4.2 percent compared with 2019. However, this is down from pre-COVID-19 estimated growth of 9.1 percent. Endpoint protection spending is expected to experience a slight decline in 2020, with a return to moderate growth in 2021.

That said, I anticipate more CEOs and CFOs will be approving budgets to increase spending on IT infrastructure that enables fully-secure remote working methodologies. What's changed? Savvy line of business leaders know that in order to attract and retain the most qualified knowledge worker talent, they'll need to deliver better policies, practices and systems for flexible working arrangements.

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