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According to Microsoft, there is a business case for modernizing endpoint management

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on May 16, 2022

Get Ready for Next-Generation Endpoint Security

Is your CFO requesting cost-cutting measures from you? Many of the Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) I talk with are concerned about this. After all, the US is experiencing 8.5 percent inflation, which means increased input costs for businesses. This includes employees: according to Skillsoft, the number of IT decision-makers confronting a talent shortage has increased to 76%, implying that pay for in-demand IT workers are rising. In fact, the cost of hiring and keeping IT personnel has risen. Any CTO who can assist the CFO with Benjamin Franklin’s old adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” will be praised by the board of directors.

However, the 18th-century adage “penny saved” has to be updated to be useful. It’s critical to consider the overall cost of ownership, which includes the value of human time as well as hidden expenses such as continuing productivity losses caused by security breaches. It’s also important to note that business reasons may have altered in recent years due to shifts in staffing expenses or the cost of cyber breaches.

In light of this, this blog article offers some new perspectives on the economics of unified endpoint management (UEM). We’ll start by outlining the primary savings you’ll notice in a UEM business case, then move on to recent industry changes and how they’re affecting how certain clients calculate the value of deploying UEM.

Recapping the business case for unified endpoint management

Three of the primary benefits of Microsoft’s unified endpoint management were described in an independent Forrester analysis:

  1. Reduced support tickets as a result of more automatic endpoint security.
  2. The cost savings from connecting on-premises devices to the cloud and centralizing endpoint management.
  3. lowering the likelihood of a security breach and the expenses associated with data loss

Reducing support needs

The business case’s first point is how unified endpoint management saves support costs. The argument is simple: fewer support tickets mean fewer hours spent by helpdesk representatives. Forrester Consulting independently interviewed corporate organizations to assist benchmark the amount of the savings in decreasing support needs for a 2021 commissioned Total ImpactTM assessment of Microsoft Endpoint Manager. The savings may be calculated in terms of the amount of assistance needed at each stage of the user’s lifetime. Forrester estimates time savings in configuring a new endpoint or setting up a new user on a laptop, for example. According to these companies, the time it takes to set up a new laptop for both users and IT administrators may be reduced by 25% in some circumstances, which is substantial if it previously took a total of six hours to get a new employee up to and running. Then there’s the overall drop in support tickets from customers who don’t need to call the helpdesk as often (through proactive, automation of issues before the user is even aware, for example). Following the modernization of their endpoints, our clients report seeing a 20 to 40% drop in tickets. They also claim that by decreasing the complexity of the requests they are processing, helpdesk workers would be able to address current problems faster. Overall, unified endpoint management’s process automation saves IT time, which can then be redeployed to other important initiatives.

Connecting on-premises devices to the cloud and centralizing endpoint management

The ability to centralize endpoint administration and hence decrease fragmented expenses is the second pillar of the business case. Allowing IT administrators to administer devices from anywhere allows for better staffing flexibility and cost savings because endpoints may be managed from a single console rather than several panes of glass. It also guarantees that devices, whether on a local network or not, are set up and up to date with the latest security updates.

To reduce the danger of a security breach, some of the business justification for this will be counted below. However, centralization allows for a rethinking of overlapping technology and personnel expenditures. For example, this might result in cost savings from old software subscriptions, licensing, and maintenance. Additionally, combining many providers that serve different device platforms or provide services other than endpoint management may minimize overhead expenses. Similarly, on-premises hardware expenses may need to be reconsidered. Finally, clients tell us about staff time savings: this strategy may significantly reduce onsite IT admin and network engineer hours.

Reducing the risk of data breaches or non-compliance

Finally, unified endpoint management aids in the prevention of data breaches. Forrester estimates that a security breach costs about half a working day (approximately 3.5 hours) per year in lost productivity per affected employee,5 since they may need to update their device with the latest patch or retrieve work or data that has been compromised by the breach. Reducing the risk of a data breach by 30 to 50% (as several of our clients have calculated, especially as part of a larger Zero Trust approach) leads to considerable cost savings for the company. There are immediate out-of-pocket expenses of a data breach, such as extra effort in remediating the breach and probable increases in insurance premiums, in addition to the lost employee productivity costs.

Endpoint management business case update for 2022 for today’s workplace

So, why is someone encouraging you to reconsider your business case for cloud-based endpoint management? In summary, two significant changes have occurred. First, growing IT labor expenses have increased the relative worth of automated solutions. Second, the transition to remote and hybrid work has raised the average cost and risk of a data breach for businesses, hence increasing the cost of inaction.

First, data show that the job market for IT professionals is highly tight. According to Gartner®, “IT executives regard the talent scarcity as the most important adoption obstacle to 64 percent of developing technologies, compared to just 4% in 2020.”8 Those currently engaged in IT are also looking elsewhere. According to a poll conducted by TalentLMS and Workable in October 2021, 72% of respondents in the United States are considering quitting their employment in the coming year.

Wage inflation has come from these processes. According to the Information and Cyber Security Salary Guide, the median salary for security engineers with one to two years of experience in the United Kingdom has increased by 7% in the last year, while information security managers with more than five years of experience can expect a 9% pay increase this year. The more that can be automated among help desk workers, network engineers, IT admins, and security professionals, the fewer hours are required (and consequently the less need to hire more IT staff to handle organizational requests).

Second, as a business moves toward remote and hybrid work settings, the cost of a data breach rises. According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study, the cost of data breaches increased about 10% year over year in 2021. Additionally, when remote working was a factor in triggering the data breach (USD4.96 million on average), the total cost of the breach was 28% greater than when remote working was not a factor (USD3.89 million per breach, on average). The more employees that work remotely, the greater the disparity. The average cost of a data breach for businesses with 81 to 100% of workers working remotely is USD5.54 million, compared to USD3.65 million for businesses with fewer than 10% of employees working remotely.

Next step

Despite the high financial costs of a possible data breach, there are basic steps you can take right away.

To begin, aggressively engage with your company’s CFO on the issue of strategic value, not simply expenses and budgets, if you haven’t before. As I mentioned at the start, the connection between the CTO and the CFO is becoming increasingly important in guaranteeing an organization’s best performance.

Second, as part of that conversation, I’d want to suggest that you appoint someone from your team to examine the UEM business case in light of rising employee wages and greater breach costs. Here’s a description of Forrester’s business case for UEM to get you started, and Microsoft can help you customize and compute the business case for your specific needs.

 


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