Why CIOs must confront endpoint security challenges with innovative thinking

By Ian Robinson

For many CIOs, unified endpoint management (UEM) and endpoint security are long-term visions that are only just starting to become realities. One of the biggest challenges confronting CIOs and IT leaders is the cost, inconvenience and risk of running multiple incompatible systems to secure traditional laptops and desktops, a diverse set of smartphones and tablets and now IoT devices.

Symantec reported the number of malware families targeting IoT devices jumped from three in 2014 to eight in 2015, making 2015 a “record year for IoT attacks.” And threats only grew in 2016, when the average IoT devices were attacked once every two minutes during peak activity times, reported Diginomica. Careers can be made and lost in the attempt to instill order amid the chaos of an enterprise where everything is connected.

The targets of choice for malware makers shifted from PCs to mobile devices some time ago, and more recently, their focus has expanded to include the multitude of IoT devices, which are often deployed with easily hacked factory default security settings. Added to the diversity of challenges confronting CIOs, this broader attack surface can result in entire industries impacted, utilities disrupted or businesses shut down. Clearly, the game has changed, demanding a more intelligent and innovative approach to UEM.

Enter cognitive computing capabilities

Cognitive computing makes possible an unprecedented new level of intuition and analysis to reinforce CIOs in the endpoint security struggle. A great example is IBM MaaS360 with Watson, introduced recently at InterConnect 2017, which augments the popular MaaS360 offering with cognitive insights, contextual analytics and cloud-sourced benchmarking.

The new MaaS360 Advisor capability provides CIOs and IT managers with a dashboard showing a customized selection of opportunities, risks and general information to improve their security posture across all connected endpoints. With timely security updates from sources such as the X-Force Exchange, the information displayed by the MaaS360 Advisor can be uniquely tailored to the relevant industry, company size and selection of devices deployed.

Maintaining effective enterprise security is often compared to an arms race, where each side continually struggles to gain the upper hand. For many organizations, intelligently deploying cognitive capabilities could be the breakthrough tactic that outflanks malware makers and elevates the “defense in depth” approach to the next level. For this reason, security-savvy CIOs should at least begin investigating the benefits of a cognitive edge.

Though the pace and acceleration of digital transformation varies among industries, cultures and regions, it’s clearly a global phenomenon that has considerable momentum. CIOs must ensure endpoint security remains a key focus at every level of planning for all new digital transformation projects, both large and small. Even for those organizations that have barely begun investigating the benefits of cognitive and AI capabilities, the next generation of UEM is surely a sensible place to start.

Written By

Ian Robinson

IBM Mobile Product Marketing Leader

Ian worked in executive marketing management roles at leading technology vendors, including Borland, Brio, Zone Labs and VMware, prior to being hired as VP of Marketing for Transitive Corporation. Following the acquisition of Transitive by IBM in 2008, Ian was appointed as IBM PowerVM…

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