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A survey of 1,406 individuals in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, who influence their organization’s information technology (IT) decision-making regarding investment in security technologies and infrastructure, finds nearly two-thirds (64 percent) are more likely to purchase technologies and services from technology providers that are leading edge with respect to innovation.

Zero-trust is a key focus for security innovation

Conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of Intel, the survey also finds the top areas of focus for security innovation are security automation (41 percent), security at the silicon level (40 percent), cloud migration (40 percent) and education and training (38 percent).

Among the 36 percent that have adopted hardware-assisted security solutions, 85 percent say hardware and/or firmware-based security is a high priority in their organization. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said it’s also important for a vendor to offer both hardware and software-assisted security capabilities.

Nearly a third that are using hardware-assisted security solutions have also implemented a zero-trust approach to security infrastructure, with another 75 percent expressing increased interest in zero-trust models.

Upgrades ensure better cybersecurity

Overall, the survey finds more than half of all respondents (53 percent) have refreshed their security strategy because of the pandemic. However, less than half of respondents (48 percent) have visibility into newly disclosed vulnerabilities and patches/updates. Roughly 42 percent primarily prioritize security updates for the latest product generation of hardware over legacy devices.

Intel has been making a case for upgrading both client and server devices to better ensure cybersecurity. Managed service providers (MSPs), of course, have a vested interest in that effort because it’s less costly to provide security services for the latest generation of systems than it is for legacy systems that are more easily breached. The fewer security incidents there are, the more profitable a managed security service becomes. That’s critical because while there is a lot of demand for security services, the cost of acquiring and retaining the expertise to deliver those services remains considerable. And there are few MSPs that can resist the temptation to aggressively price those services to the point where profit margins become much less robust than they might otherwise be.

Newer infrastructure saves cybersecurity teams from trouble

Savvy MSPs provide incentives to customers that use the latest and most secure infrastructure because at the end of the day it means there will be less pressure on cybersecurity teams that are often already stretched to the breaking point. It can take six months or more to replace a member of that team with someone that has equivalent expertise, so reducing the number of incidents that lead to increased fatigue is a critical key performance indicator (KPI) for any MSP to track.

Yet, it’s still a challenge to get customers to upgrade systems. Many of them have systems that are three or more years of age and are running outdated versions of operating systems that often make cybersecurity professionals cringe. It may not be possible to require customers to upgrade those systems, but if the price of a managed security service is less for newer systems than it is for older systems, it won’t take the end customer too long to figure out that the older system is more trouble than it’s worth.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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