Jan 07 2021

Why DaaS Could Be Essential for Endpoint Security

As the number of connected corporate devices skyrockets, so does security risk. Device as a Service solutions offer an effective endpoint alternative.

The past year has been a time ripe for IT innovation. Teams have taken on the heavy lift of moving entire enterprises out of the office and into homes across the nation — complete with all the connected devices that staff and C-suite members require to get their jobs done.

This is no small feat. From smartphones and laptops to tablets and desktops, the sheer volume and variety of devices required by employees to effectively — and potentially permanently — work from home is staggering. According to recent IDC data, 78 percent of companies say devices form an important part of the end-user experience. Organizations are already spending 22 percent of IT budgets to support staff-owned and corporate-sponsored devices, and they expect this spending to increase.

Beyond cost concerns, bigger issues loom, such as endpoint security. With the vast majority of corporate users now working from home, device attack surfaces have expanded exponentially. Without direct control over device setup, software and security controls, IT teams are effectively flying blind.

Device as a Service (DaaS) options offer a potential solution for more standardized security. Here’s what enterprises need to know about this endpoint alternative.

Why More Devices Can Mean More Risk

There’s no stopping connected device deployments. Recent estimates suggest that by 2025, there will be more than 40 billion connected devices worldwide, generating almost 80 zettabytes (or 80 trillion gigabytes) of data annually.

More devices mean more risk. According to a survey from CyberArk, for example, 93 percent of parents working remotely said they reused passwords across apps and devices, 37 percent stored passwords in browsers and 29 percent allowed other members of their households to access corporate devices for personal use. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by attackers. Security firm Kaspersky detected more than 1.2 million malicious mobile installers in Q2 2020, up almost 100,000 from the previous quarter.

Combine that with many employees using personal devices to connect to corporate networks, and the issue gets even more complicated. IT teams already facing limited visibility at a distance are also kept at arm’s length by staff looking to protect personal data.

What Is Device as a Service?

DaaS offers an endpoint alternative. The idea is simple: Vendors preconfigure devices such as laptops, tablets or mobile devices with specific applications and security software, along with any value-added services that corporate clients request. Much like other “as a service” solutions, companies aren’t buying the devices themselves but instead are paying for access to the service of fully configured and secure devices. Pricing is generally assessed on a per-device basis, with companies able to customize deployments to suit unique use cases.

For end users, DaaS means no complicated setup or confusion about which apps to install or remove. Instead, they simply start up devices and get to work.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: How highly mobile enterprises should use IAM tools.

Most DaaS vendors offer two- or three-year device contracts that include automatic updates and patching; when the term is up, companies can renew DaaS deployments or return their devices with no penalty. Worth noting: DaaS is sometimes confused with an identical acronym referring to Desktop as a Service. In the device case, vendors are supplying both physical hardware and necessary software, while in the desktop version, they’re offering virtual operating environments.

Getting the Right Security for DaaS

When it comes to endpoint security, DaaS delivers by providing a uniform environment for IT staff to monitor, manage and modify as needed. Instead of struggling to ensure that employees update personal devices or install specific security tools, DaaS puts everyone on the same protective page.

This unified approach also means that if specific endpoints are compromised, IT teams can find and deploy key fixes at scale rather than creating unique response frameworks for each personal device configuration.

While security teams may experience some pushback from staff who aren’t able to add or remove the applications of their choice, overall benefits typically outweigh these issues.

The DaaS market is rapidly expanding — as noted by Tech Republic, while there were no large-scale DaaS solutions just five years ago, 65 percent of major PC manufacturers offered this option to customers in 2019.

And while DaaS isn’t the end-all, be-all of endpoint defense, it’s a solid starting point for companies looking to streamline remote operations, reduce total complexity and improve security at scale.

Geber86/Getty Images