Written by Patrick Morley, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Security Business Unit, VMware
Nobody can blame all the security challenges facing companies today on the pandemic, but it’s certainly accelerated the need to address those challenges. It was always essential for companies to provide employees secure access to applications and other resources. But when COVID-19 hit, that need grew exponentially as many companies shifted to having many employees working from home. Securing so many new, widely dispersed endpoints became more difficult than ever.
As the world emerges from the pandemic, several forces stand out as companies look to continue securing their systems, applications, and data. What’s needed is an approach to security that takes a proactive stance, reduces the risk of attacks and breaches, and speeds up breach mitigation efforts.
While other forces increase issues around security, the five top ones include:
- The hybrid workspace. Many organizations now let employees decide how often they work in the office versus at home or wherever they choose. All those dispersed laptops, desktops, and other endpoints can be difficult to manage.
- Zero-trust strategy. With a work-from-anywhere workforce, many organizations require every device and application to include multi-factor authentication. Implementing this “trust nobody until verified” strategy is time- and resource-intensive.
- Ransomware attacks. The surge of ransomware attacks is an opportunistic effect of the pandemic and more people working from home. The far-reaching impacts of such attacks raise big concerns for companies and their customers.
- Supply chain reduction. Every organization is only as strong as its supply chain. Reducing the number of solutions and vendors involved in it reduces complexity from dependencies and connections and the number of solutions to manage for security.
- Security Operations Center (SOC) burnout. Security operations teams are almost always under-resourced. The rise in attacks and breaches exacerbates this issue. They’re doing more, but with legacy tools that lack features like automation that help them get ahead. Burnout and a talent shortage make it hard to field full security operations teams.
The good news is that VMware solutions can address these forces by building in security from end to end. This provides a tremendous opportunity for partners, particularly managed services providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs), to use VMware solutions to provide their customers security as a service.
Ready-made for a work-from-home world
VMware Workspace ONE, an endpoint and application management framework, is the solution to support a remote workforce. In early 2020, VMware effortlessly shifted its own employees to working from home and quickly met the deluge of requests for customers doing the same. VMware Carbon Black offered an extra layer of security on top of Workspace ONE. Integrating these two VMware solutions made it easy to deploy Workspace ONE to any employee or contractor so that they could more securely access the applications they needed—all over a public network.
Support for a zero-trust strategy
A zero-trust approach assumes that every attempt to access systems and applications could be an attack, so requires multi-factor authentication for all end users. For example, Workspace ONE requires two-factor authentication for users to access corporate applications.
While these access requirements are great for security, manually authenticating adds a barrier to employee productivity. A hallmark of the VMware story of innovation is its focus on automating processes to simplify the end user experience and reduce human error. For example, VMware embedded its Identity Management module into the log-on process of Workspace ONE, automating RSA token code entry for users. It’s far easier for the user but supplies the same two-factor authentication. Another example: When Carbon Black Workload is added to VMware vSphere, the VMware vCenter management software automatically pushes it out to workloads.
Shoring up defenses against ransomware
Ransomware is on the rise, as is the time an attacker sits inside the network searching for higher-value assets to hold hostage. Many companies fear becoming a ransomware victim. VMware was one of the first vendors to launch a program to combat such incidents, the VMware Carbon Black Incident Response Partner Program. This program trains partners on using VMware solutions to quickly remediate breaches. Since its inception, the number of partners joining and completing the program requirements has grown dramatically and the number of breaches they’ve resolved has tripled year over year.
Cyber insurers recognize the program’s impact and recommend its partners to customers who file a claim for a breach. Many cyber insurers require certain standards of security in customer environments before insuring them, which opens services opportunities to partners who can conduct compliance, auditing, and stress testing upfront to proactively protect customers.
Reducing the software supply chain
VMware research shows that many customers manage well over a dozen security products. Siloed teams, numerous disparate and disconnected security solutions, migration and movement of applications, uncoordinated responses, a lack of end-to-end visibility—all this gives attackers myriad options for how and where to attack.
Businesses want to reduce this complexity and attack surface by decreasing the number of security vendors and solutions they use. They’re also moving toward use of extended detection response (XDR) and everything in the cloud, bringing together all security information into one place, analyzing it with big data and algorithms, and showing that in a single dashboard. VMware Security provides the foundation for reducing multiple products down to one high-performing portfolio product.
SOC burnout—a major issue and partner opportunity
Businesses can no longer afford or find the security expertise they need. That’s driving a huge outsourcing business to MSPs, and specifically MSSPs. In fact, this is the fastest growing area of the security space. VMware has developed a strong security program with robust security solutions. MSPs can expand their business by exploring VMware security offerings, training, and opportunities and preparing to offer security expertise as a managed service.
Preparing to meet the demand as a VMware partner
Historically MSSPs focused on protecting endpoints. With VMware Security now offering an end-to-end platform with solutions such as Workspace ONE, Identity Protection, the Carbon Black portfolio, and VMware SASE, there are new opportunities for MSSPs to protect workloads, applications, networks, and clouds. Automation makes it easier to deliver that security.
The cloud also enables more security than ever. VMware is extracting more data from endpoints and bringing it into the cloud to process, analyze, and detect trends. The ability to look at data across toolsets supports VMware solutions delivering security recommendations. This offers peace of mind to customers who want to turn over responsibility for security to one platform and not continue figuring out how to parcel it up themselves.
The final piece in this picture is the VMware partner—they have the knowledge and experience to help customers shift to a modern security approach, with security built in from the beginning with VMware Security. As Carbon Black partners join the VMware Partner Program, they gain access to all VMware solutions. For Carbon Black partners, resellers, MSSPs, Incident Response partners, or services-only partners, it’s a perfect time to discuss the opportunity to build a business around VMware solutions.
Discover the many ways VMware Security solutions can help you keep customers secure.