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Friday, October 20, 2023

Is there a case for Microsoft as your solely enterprise safety associate?


In current GigaOm analysis, we evaluated whether or not there was a superb argument to make use of a single safety associate to guard a corporation or if a number of “better of breed” options are nonetheless the best way to go.

We checked out two use circumstances. Microsoft, utilizing the broad capabilities of its M365 E3 platform with its E5 safety add-on, in comparison with choosing particular person options from a number of main enterprise safety distributors, together with Crowdstrike, OKTA and Proofpoint.

The analysis consisted of value evaluation, technical comparisons, and conversations with senior IT decision-makers to know among the standards they used when evaluating expertise.

Our evaluation confirmed that technically and commercially, Microsoft’s instruments and companies provide a lovely single-vendor proposition. Nevertheless, it additionally uncovered that, whereas this was the case, there was additionally a pervading angle from a variety of CxOs, that not solely was Microsoft not their main alternative, however for some, they might not even think about Microsoft as a safety associate.

That raised the query as as to whether Microsoft did, in truth, current a powerful sufficient proposition to be a single safety associate for an enterprise and whether or not it was potential to beat the considerations of CxOs. To aim to reply these questions, we needed to assessment our analysis and convey a recent CxO perspective to it. To do this, we enrolled our personal CTO, Howard Holton, to supply further CxO perception into the outcomes of our work.

The analysis round Microsoft as a safety associate

The intention of this submit is to not share all of the analysis. It’s to supply a abstract of our findings which may help reply among the questions decision-makers would ask when evaluating a single-vendor versus multi-vendor strategy for cybersecurity instruments and companies.

Analysis scope

Earlier than offering that abstract, it’s helpful to stipulate the scope of our analysis. It is very important be aware that this was not a hands-on technical analysis, detailed performance testing, or TCO evaluation. The scope of the analysis was to supply a C-level briefing that regarded on the following;

  • Resolution capabilities
  • Excessive-level value evaluation
  • Different operational overhead/enterprise dangers

We evaluated these areas to know whether or not the single-vendor versus multi-vendor strategy might;

  • Scale back complexity
  • Scale back value 
  • Keep/improve safety

We utilized these questions throughout a number of enterprise safety challenges. The Microsoft E5 Safety Add-on covers every of those areas, and we in contrast that to the seller listed in every class;

  • Endpoint together with cell – Crowdstrike
  • Identification Administration – Okta
  • E mail Safety together with BEC, phishing safety, virus, and malware protection – Proofpoint
  • MFA and adaptive entry controls – Okta/Proofpoint
  • Instruments to watch menace and failure – Crowdstrike
  • Information Loss Prevention and Related Information Safety Applied sciences – Proofpoint
  • Cloud Software Safety/Cloud Entry Service Dealer – Proofpoint

These areas precisely replicate the important thing safety focus we discover in all varieties of organizations. Due to this fact, evaluating the potential of any device towards them was a helpful approach to evaluate options and functionality, their value, and whether or not they would meet the wants of a corporation’s fashionable safety calls for.

The professionals and cons of Microsoft as a safety associate

Microsoft’s E3 + E5 Safety add-on affords a complete vary of safety instruments for customers of its Microsoft 365 and Azure companies. Its breadth of functionality would offer a corporation with wide-reaching safety and complete safety by way of a single vendor.

The Microsoft Safety Toolset

Microsoft’s safety protection is broad and break up throughout a variety of core service suites. This contains;

  • Microsoft Defender for EDR, anti-virus, Cloud App safety, anti-phishing, and knowledge loss prevention throughout desktop, server, Mac, cell, and naturally, Cloud
  • Microsoft Entra offers identification safety
  • Alternate On-line Safety defends towards phishing and BEC and affords malware safety

This vary of safety instruments is tightly built-in into Microsoft Azure and M365 to supply clients with a complete, seamless safety expertise. For these clients, the analysis highlighted that the one vendor, single platform strategy reduces each technical and industrial complexity, making a compelling safety providing.

Why had been CxO’s not embracing Microsoft’s compelling providing?

Whereas Microsoft did make a powerful single-vendor case, why did potential clients and their safety decision-makers meet this with the view that “Microsoft isn’t even a consideration” when evaluating safety options and companions?

Causes for not selecting Microsoft

What had been among the key causes we found?

  • I don’t need to spend much more with Microsoft.
  • Whereas the options are broad, I don’t consider their capabilities are nearly as good as specialist distributors.
  • I are not looking for all my safety eggs in a single basket.
  • The pricing of migration from my present suppliers is critical.
  • Can they supply me with hands-on menace response help?
  • Is their menace response device one thing I might reclaim through my cyber insurance coverage?

Are these legitimate considerations?

Whereas all considerations are legitimate throughout our analysis, we discovered proof that may very well be used to assist reply a few of them. This doesn’t imply the considerations are improper, however they supply further context which will alter a possible buyer’s notion.

I don’t need to spend extra with Microsoft

There are good industrial the explanation why this can be the case. We did additionally discover that there was a really sturdy monetary case made for the single-vendor strategy.

Based mostly on revealed pricing, our analysis noticed potential financial savings near 80% when utilizing the Microsoft E5 safety add-on in comparison with utilizing three particular person distributors*. Whereas there could also be industrial causes to not spend extra with Microsoft, it is a important determine, and one that ought to make for nearer examination, particularly the place budgets are below ever-increasing stress.

Microsoft’s capabilities are inferior to specialist distributors

It is a complicated query, and because the analysis was not based mostly on performance testing, it was not definitively answered right here. Nevertheless, we now have present in different GigaOm analysis that Microsoft’s capabilities rating extremely in our security-based reviews.

It must also be thought-about that the single-vendor strategy will scale back the complexity that a number of distributors can create. We additionally found that Microsoft’s E5 strategy is extraordinarily complete and crammed gaps that had been left by the a number of main distributors we additionally evaluated.

I are not looking for a single vendor

The worth of utilizing a number of best-of-breed distributors has benefits. To know if that could be a legitimate concern in any given occasion, you will need to perceive why the multi-vendor strategy is most popular and what it affords {that a} single vendor can not. We discovered Microsoft’s strategy technically and commercially enticing. Our findings actually made a case for the re-appraisal of the one vendor strategy in these situations.

Value of migration

It is a sturdy and legitimate concern. As IT budgets stay strained, migration prices could carry unwelcome further stress. This could not imply it shouldn’t be thought-about, as there are doubtlessly long-term financial savings available. Nevertheless, organizations ought to research the size of this return to determine its viability.

Menace response and cyber insurance coverage

One of many main questions raised when evaluating Microsoft with different main distributors was its functionality to supply menace response if a cyber incident ought to happen. Whereas Microsoft can certainly cowl menace response, we discovered service definitions and prices much less clear throughout our analysis than these of opponents equivalent to Crowdstrike.

An extra concern was whether or not they  could be lined below cyber insurance coverage when participating in such companies. Each considerations are important and would require full readability when evaluating adopting or altering or single safety vendor strategy.

What had been the three key benefits we found?

In exploring this with GigaOm’s CTO Howard Holton, we found a number of key benefits of the one vendor strategy that the diligent tech evaluator ought to think about. None of this stuff is to say Microsoft or any single vendor is the best reply, however there’s a case to discover, and as Howard talked about on the finish of our analysis, “a minimum of we’d have Microsoft within the dialog”.

  • Value discount: the potential right here is critical. Whereas it ought to by no means be the primary criterion, it’s a consideration in a world of under-pressure budgets. Our comparability of Microsoft’s E3/E5 Add-on versus an amalgamated main vendor strategy confirmed potential financial savings within the area of 80%*. After all, in the actual world, clients are unlikely to pay full revealed costs, however the saving potential does exist and should be thought-about.
  • Complexity discount: Complexity is the enemy of safety. The extra merchandise a corporation tries to carry collectively, the extra complicated it turns into to safe, the upper the operational overhead, and the extra seemingly there will likely be safety gaps. Microsoft is extraordinarily sturdy right here, if not excellent. Their options are managed from its single M365 platform however not essentially in a single console. It offers consistency of safety coverage and process throughout the platform. And, after all, the breadth of the platform ensures detailed insights and analytics from throughout a corporation are made out there to assist with menace investigation and looking. That is additionally augmented by each automated incident response and, extra lately, the additions of managed response through Microsoft Safety Consultants. This isn’t unattainable to attain with third-party distributors, particularly those we checked out right here, who share a variety of tight product integrations that share intelligence to supply broad safety insights, nevertheless it does take further work.
  • Improved Safety: This one is much less clear. There isn’t any doubt that the breadth of protection and capabilities Microsoft offers can actually assist enhance safety posture, particularly for these utilizing E5 to fill current gaps. The E5 license affords a powerful answer, particularly for these deeply invested in Microsoft’s cloud platforms. Nevertheless, it’s much less clear whether or not these already invested in different instruments would see the identical enhancements. Whereas in some circumstances, Microsoft will ship parity and even function enchancment, there will likely be many circumstances the place best-of-breed opponents do issues Microsoft doesn’t. Safety should be the primary criterion in these circumstances, no matter potential value financial savings.

Ultimate ideas

In reply to the query we posed on this submit, the reply is sure, Microsoft may very well be a single safety supplier for a corporation. Nevertheless, not for all. Whereas it offers strong safety capabilities at a really enticing value, there are gaps. In actuality, Microsoft’s strategy is just going to be efficient for these with a powerful funding and strategic dedication to Microsoft Azure and M365 already.

There, after all, would be the comparability of capabilities. Specialist distributors are, on the very least, perceived to supply “higher” safety capabilities than Microsoft’s native instruments and, in lots of circumstances, present issues Microsoft don’t. The concept Microsoft offers “ok” safety is true, nevertheless it shouldn’t have adverse connotations. Adequate safety is precisely that, ok to satisfy wants. Nevertheless, organizations should totally consider whether or not any potential options meet their wants.

More and more organizations additionally want companies to reinforce their inner sources. Distributors like Crowdstrike provide complete skilled companies with menace and incident response groups. Microsoft does provide this, however the full route of its Safety Consultants service and the way that can evaluate is unclear. This will likely be an important consideration.

This analysis confirmed us {that a} single vendor, particularly Microsoft, could make a powerful case by way of functionality, efficacy and value. They may both turn into a single vendor filling safety portfolio gaps, and even exchange different distributors in some situations.

Nevertheless, we additionally famous that best-of-breed market-leading options are perceived as that for a cause, and that value alone should not be the one criterion for changing them. 

What was actually true for individuals who take the time to totally consider Microsoft’s capabilities, as our CTO Howard Holton identified, it ought to a minimum of make Microsoft a part of the dialogue.

Be aware

*Our value comparisons had been based mostly on a 5000-user enterprise, 10,000 units evaluating M365 E3 plus E5 safety versus Crowdstrike, Okta and Proofpoint as a part of Crowdstrike’s Spectra Alliance offering the identical safety protection. Based mostly on revealed listing value comparisons, analysis confirmed a 77% saving utilizing Microsoft’s instruments in comparison with an built-in strategy utilizing the three main distributors confirmed.

This didn’t embrace any discount in operational value, as this was exterior of the scope of this analysis. Nevertheless, it ought to be famous that in earlier analysis, wanting on the influence of safety device consolidation, we now have seen reductions in operational prices of 3-7 occasions.

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