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Unpatched systems are the leading cause of ransomware attacks today: Liam Ryan, Ivanti

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The pandemic has established that data, information, and devices are never too secure. Remote working challenges for organizations was never ending in terms of cyber security compromises. Ransomware, Malware, Phishing, and other cyber-attacks remained a global phenomenon. The Indian market too is mirroring similar trends, and Ivanti, a major player in the enterprise security space, is eyeing huge opportunities. Liam Ryan, Vice President-Sales & Marketing APAC, Ivanti, shares the strategic importance of the Indian market, and highlights some of the major opportunities for his company

Some edited excerpts:

How strategic is India as a market for Ivanti? What are some of the major opportunities?

Ivanti, is a provider of the Ivanti Neurons automation platform that discovers, manages, secures, and services IT assets from cloud to edge. India is a very key market for Ivanti, and hiring is at an all-time high. We are planning to ramp up hiring over the next two years across our offices in India. The company is committed to investing in Indian talent and innovation. Last year Ivanti had also acquired three companies with a strong Indian presence (MobileIron, Pulse Secure and RiskSense) and is now executing its plan, One Ivanti India, to establish the region as its innovation centre.

We note tremendous opportunities in Automation, Zero Trust Security frameworks and Remote/Hybrid work in 2022.These can dominate sectors like FSI, manufacturing, healthcare, etc. We believe, in 2022 the scale of cloud infrastructure will significantly grow. We’ve already seen the cloud go practically everywhere after the pandemic. The shift we will notice next year is the cloud becoming highly specialized at the edges of the network. And cloud security is also gaining ground.

Some technologies that can be leveraged are:

• Organisations will benefit from implementing these trends into their day-to-day operations through increased productivity by automating basic security hygiene like patching, edge discovery services, and systems inventory which frees up IT’s time to focus on more mission critical activities.

• A recent Ivanti survey of US employees found that while 50% of respondents found themselves working more non-office hours than before the pandemic, 52% claim their morale had been impacted positively. This evidence shows that a remote/hybrid work environment can have an encouraging effect on employees and could improve productivity.

• Finally, implementing a zero-trust framework that incorporates unified endpoint management with on-device threat detection and anti-phishing capabilities can help stop breaches and improve the overall security of data, devices, and employees. Cybercriminals are continuing to find new ways to exploit their victims, but a zero-trust framework can provide the infrastructure needed to defend in this evolving world.

Hybrid working has become the new way of operating, technology leaders will innovate to overcome dynamics and achieve business success as well employee support. As companies evolve after COVID-19, they must not remake the mistakes of the past. They need to forge a resilient, adaptable, and trustworthy foundation for their existing and future partnerships.

Do you believe that there is a gap in the Indian enterprise security space that Ivanti can address?

Cyber Security and Data Privacy are serious issues for the world today, and Ivanti is poised to play a significant role in that segment. We want our engineers to continue producing products and solutions for the global market.

Ivanti can definitely play a role in bridging the security gaps that Indian enterprises face today. For example – Unpatched systems are the leading cause of ransomware attacks today and are increasing in frequency and severity every year. There has been an alarming rise in ransomware breaches globally, including India, which increased by 13 per cent in the past year, representing a jump greater than the past 5 years combined and the consequent impact on companies is devastating. These attacks typically lead to business losses for companies as they often cause increased customer turnover, system downtime, diminished reputation, and other adverse side effects. Ransomware attackers are increasingly targeting midmarket companies to avoid the media attention that comes from attacking large enterprises.

We have the most robust data on patches, vulnerabilities, and exploits. In 2021, Ivanti acquired RiskSense, which enables us to drive the next evolution of patch management, grounded in a proactive risk-based approach. We differentiate ourselves from our competitors by our intelligence on which vulnerabilities are tied to ransomware. Organizations can leverage our capabilities to quickly address the threat. These unique capabilities build on each other for a blended offering that is unmatched in the market today.

Request you to kindly brief us on your expansion plans for the Indian market?

Our expansion plans include planned updates to our Ivanti Neurons platform and continually enhancing solutions across the entire platform. We also are focused on different verticals and departments that historically didn’t utilize a service management platform and relied on manual processes, such as facilities and human resources. We are working on finding more ways for our solutions to alleviate the strain IT and security teams are facing and that is opening a tremendous avenue for growth.

It will take investment and proper planning to fully realize the benefits of these trends. Implementing a zero-trust strategy is not something that can be done overnight and requires planning across all facets of the organisation including groups outside of IT and Security. The same goes for automation in that planning is key to ensuring there are no critical work disruptions while moving to this new model of IT. Our R&D tech centers in India will continue to grow exponentially and is the centre of innovation for Ivanti. We will remain focused on investing in more collaboration, innovation, and continuous effort to make products for the global markets.

Can you take us through the One Ivanti Identity initiative?

One Ivanti Identity is to integrate all our employees from the different companies that we acquired to come under one umbrella brand and work as a cohesive team, sharing the same ethos and culture. It is essential that our team builds and delivers world-class solutions for our customers, hence teamwork is intrinsic to what we do. Some of the commitments we have made to each other through our shared values is that we are accountable to each other, and support one another, we provide opportunities to grow, learn, add value, and thrive, while also achieving new levels of performance. Moreover, we treat all our employees with appreciation, dignity, and respect. One Ivanti means that we are committed to maximizing our performance and creating the best possible outcomes for our customers and simultaneously creating a single brand identity for employees.

What are some of the emerging security threats for 2022?

According to Ransomware Index Spotlight Report ransomware groups are continuing to grow in sophistication, boldness, and volume, with numbers up across the board since Q2 2021. This last quarter saw a 4.5% increase in CVEs associated with ransomware, a 4.5% increase in actively exploited and trending vulnerabilities, a 3.4% increase in ransomware families, and a 1.2% increase in older vulnerabilities tied to ransomware compared to Q2 2021. The digitalisation of economy has grown since the global pandemic struck us. It has been particularly fruitful for cybercriminals.

Below are the few emerging security threats to lookout for in 2022:

• Threats to Smartphones
• Phishing Threats
• Risk to Healthcare sectors
• Cloud Security
• Threat to Education
• IoT related vulnerabilities

Cybercriminals are continuing to find new ways to exploit their victims, but a zero-trust framework can provide the infrastructure needed to defend in this evolving world. By the end of 2022 or early in 2023, we could expect to see a continuation of large-scale operations targeting the weakest links in the chain. And it is likely that we will see more breaches targeting managed service providers (who provide IT and security services to companies) as opposed to going after companies directly. Furthermore, recent research conducted by Ivanti revealed that two-thirds of decision-makers reported they accelerated their plans or increased their adoption of automated IT service offerings.

The past two years have disrupted the long-standing norms on how an organization operates. This year companies saw how fragile their supply chain was and the need to adapt to new customer needs. Those who adjusted to these changes sooner became the most successful this year. 2021 made one realize that if businesses continue to have a direct outlook and sharp focus on their digital and tech transformations, they will emerge as the new leaders.

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