Zero trust and UES lead Gartner’s 2021 Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security

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A surge toward remote work has caused enterprise device inventories to grow in ways no one anticipated. That coincided with a drastic jump in endpoint cybersecurity threats. This is the compelling backdrop to Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security.

The report makes a clear case that emerging unified endpoint security (UES) technology provides an important consolidation platform to manage the diverse parts of a cybersecurity tech stack. Chief information security officers have to protect unmanaged endpoint devices new to their networks and need the flexibility of managing them on a single platform.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security, 2021 explores how chief information security officers can achieve their goals while reducing costs and improving visibility and control. This year’s Hype Cycle prioritizes UES as the solution chief information security officers need in order to secure their endpoints. Based on conversations VentureBeat has had with chief information security officers and CIOs, unified endpoint security market momentum is accelerating as cybersecurity teams rush to close the gaps in their endpoint infrastructure and avert potential breaches before they happen.

According to Gartner, the worldwide security software market grew 10.3% in 2020, reaching $49.7 billion in annual revenue. The top five segments with the highest growth rates are application security testing, access management, endpoint protection platform (enterprise), secure email gateways, and identity governance and administration. The endpoint protection platform (enterprise) category is the second-fastest growing segment of the worldwide security market, garnering $8.8 billion in 2020 (and 20% CAGR). The largest five vendors are Microsoft, McAfee, Norton LifeLock, IBM, and Broadcom.

Practical advice from the Hype Cycle

This Hype Cycle’s most practical advice comes from its suggestions of orchestrating new technologies to give chief information security officers, CIOs, and cybersecurity teams real-time threat assessment and asset management data within a single data lake.

A single data lake approach to unified endpoint security gets endpoint security under control on a comprehensive platform that reduces risks and costs while improving asset management. According to chief information security officers and CIOs VentureBeat interviewed for this article, self-healing endpoints will form a baseline requirement for all budgeted cybersecurity purchases in 2022.

Here’s what’s new in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security, 2021. A total of 18 technologies appear in the report this year, down from 20 last year. Technologies removed from the Hype Cycle this year include browser isolation, virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI), and secure enterprise data communications, while VDI/DaaS endpoint security has been added. Clearly, secure virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) connections have become a priority over the last two years, given the rapid growth of virtual meetings, remote training sessions, and sales calls. VDI/DaaS helps prevent virtual sessions from being hijacked while securing the identity of every virtual participant with no degradation in bandwidth.

Graph showing Gartner's security Hype Cycle with expectations overtime

Above: Security Hype Cycle

Image Credit: Gartner

The following are the key insights from Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security, 2021:

  • Gartner is seeing a rise in zero trust network access (ZTNA) initiatives across their enterprise clients today. The Hype Cycle’s finding on zero trust is consistent with what chief information security officers tell VentureBeat about their zero trust roadmaps, pilots, and plans. In almost every conversation VentureBeat has with chief information security officers in financial services and manufacturing, zero trust is mentioned as a business decision first. Scaling endpoint security across new digital revenue models is the goal. Even before President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, 160 cybersecurity vendors claimed to have zero trust-based products and cloud services. Interest in zero trust continues to outpace the broader cybersecurity market, growing more than 230% in 2020 over 2019, according to Gartner.
  • ZTNA products’ scale has expanded beyond web applications to support a wider range of applications and protocols, illustrating a quickening pace of innovation. Gartner notes that the current generation of ZTNA applications has improved user experiences, increased flexibility, and improved persona and role-based adaptability. Gartner also notes that “cloud-based ZTNA offerings improve scalability and ease of adoption.” Absolute Software’s acquisition of NetMotion is prescient in positioning the combined companies to deliver what CISOs are looking for in a ZTNA solution. Other companies in the ZTNA space to watch include Ericom — which includes ZTNA and other technologies in the cycle, such as remote browser isolation, secure web gateway, and CASB — in its ZTEdge Zero Trust Cloud Security platform. Ivanti Neurons for Zero Trust Access uses machine learning to streamline security policies, compliance, and least-privileged access across users, devices, and applications to ensure network micro-segmentation is in force. Additional ZTNA vendors to watch are Akamai, Appgate, Cato Networks, Netskope, Perimeter 81, Proofpoint, and SAIFE.
  • Unified endpoint management (UEM) earns respect during the pandemic and sees adoption increase. UEM proved its value during the pandemic by unifying identity, security, and remote access in support of ZTNA architectures now considered essential for securing an anywhere workforce. Like ZTNA, there’s been rapid innovation occurring in UEM over the last 12 to 18 months, with the goals of reduced security and compliance risks, along with support for more devices and operating systems. UEM’s benefits — which include streamlining continuous OS updates across multiple mobile devices and platforms, enabling device management, and having an architecture capable of supporting a wide range of devices and operating systems — are why enterprises are looking to expand their adoption of UEM. Another major benefit enterprises mention is automating internet-based patching, policy, and configuration management. UEM leaders include Ivanti, which provides its customers with additional security solutions integrated into its UEM platform, including passwordless multifactor authentication (its Zero Sign-On feature) and mobile threat defense (MTD). Additional vendors to watch in UEM include Blackberry, Citrix, and Sophos.

The typical enterprise tech stack is straining to support the influx of new unmanaged devices on networks when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s common to find endpoint detection and response (EDR), mobile threat defense (MTD), and endpoint protection platforms (EPP) overloaded with customized fixes to support device inventories no one anticipated growing so fast.

Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security makes a case for unified endpoint security being a vital platform for bringing together the diverse parts of tomorrow’s cybersecurity tech stack. Endpoint security vendors need to accept the challenge and step up their pace of innovation to slow down ransomware and worse cyberattacks that are reaching record levels this year.

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