Paul Zimski, VP of Product, Automox: On keeping up with endpoint security

Paul Zimski, VP of Product, Automox: On keeping up with endpoint security
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Keeping pace with increasing cybersecurity threats is more important than ever. The rapid proliferation of IoT devices and their historically poor security practices have made them key targets while changing working practices unlocks new opportunities but also threats.

In this interview with Paul Zimski, VP of Product at Automox, IoT News tapped the company’s expertise in endpoint security to gain insights into how to keep up with such evolving threats.

IoT News: What are the key challenges faced in keeping up with endpoint security?

Paul Zimski:

  • Remote Workforces: Almost every organization is facing the need for extending corporate networks and stretching their security tools to their limits due to the shift to remote workforces. The reality is setting in that this is not only unlikely to go back, but is more likely to continue growing across nearly every industry. Attackers are taking advantage of this and exploiting weakpoints in these overstretched networks in an effort to steal data and access corporate networks.
  • Ransomware Attacks: The rise of ransomware and ransomware-as-a-service are putting incredible pressure on endpoint security teams. These teams are facing financially motivated adversaries using sophisticated tools. Compounding this is an increase in payouts for cyber criminals. Attackers now know that hitting large organizations is likely to net them millions in payouts with minimal effort. 
  • Phishing: Phishing is still the most common vector for adversaries to approach their target. Endpoint security can only go so far. Securing against negligent employees exploited by phishing attacks is a top challenge for most organizations today.
  • Cyber Hygiene: Above all, improving cyber hygiene is a challenge for endpoint security teams. Without proper cyber hygiene, it is practically impossible to mitigate adversaries opportunities to exploit a target system. Patching, proper configurations, and secure practices are all components of a proper cyber hygiene approach and will be a key challenge for these teams over the next year.

IN: What cybersecurity threats does the hybrid working model pose and how can organisations counter it?

PZ: Securing devices within a secure local network is fairly well understood by organizations today. When devices are in motion, they are at their most vulnerable. Organizations have long known this and implemented strict security policy for devices traveling through airports and other less manageable locations when going between two secure office locations.

Hybrid poses a new set of challenges by accepting that these remote and inherently less secure locations are now commonplace for employees. Extending the security perimeter is cost prohibitive and organizations will need to look to solutions that are purpose built for remote environments to help secure and manage devices confidently.

Legacy tools are unable to achieve full visibility on these remote systems without cumbersome VPN connections or otherwise intrusive processes. Solving for visibility is the first step for reducing organizational risk due to hybrid and remote workforces.

IN: How quickly are remote devices patched compared to on-premises?

PZ: Our survey results show that there is a significantly higher number of organizations unable to patch remote devices within 30 days compared to on-premise devices. 

Compounding this, looking at the data from last year’s report to this year’s, we see a nearly 50% increase in the number of organizations taking more than 30 days to patch a remote device while simultaneously only half or organizations are confidently able to patch a critical vulnerability in the first 24 hours of that vulnerability being disclosed.

IN: What are the main barriers stopping devices from being patched sufficiently quick enough?

PZ: Organizations cite the lack of proper tools (legacy solutions are commonly unable to confidently patch remote devices), inconsistent connection for remote employees to legacy on-premise solutions, or lack of visibility of those remote devices as the primary barriers to patching quickly enough.

These all have a common theme: the way things were done before is not working for today’s highly remote workforces.

IN: Automox raised $110 million earlier this year — what does it intend to do with the extra funding and what’s next for the company?

PZ: Our vision is to deliver the leading cloud-native IT operations platform that offers the complete visibility, automation, and control IT teams need to effortlessly advance operations at scale, streamline IT workflows, and minimize risk and exposure.

We are using the funds to expand the enterprise functionality of Automox’s platform and build out the sales go-to-market function. Specifically, it will allow us to expand our established and proven endpoint management platform towards a single, cloud-native platform that streamlines and simplifies all aspects of IT operations.

Since the announcement of our Series C funding we have added over 150 new roles to the company and are continuing to grow.

(Photo by Roth Melinda on Unsplash)

Automox is a key sponsor of IoT Tech Expo North America which runs from 29-30 September 2021. Adam Whitman, Senior Solutions Engineer at Automox, will be sharing his invaluable insights on day two of the event. You can find out more about his session and how to attend here.

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