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Simplify Tech Decisions with Microsoft Zero Trust

03.28.23 | By Ascent

Should all technology come from one vendor for consistency, or should all technology come from different vendors for more niche expertise?

For many businesses, a best-in-platform approach provides more comprehensive security and streamlined user experience, which can readily support a Zero Trust architecture.

Many technology and cybersecurity vendors exist in the landscape today, each of which has its own area of expertise and focus. When choosing a technology provider, or multiple providers, IT teams and leadership must consider their goals and how a piece of technology will be used to support them to ensure provisioning decisions are most effective.

At Ascent Solutions, we are a Microsoft partner which gives us deep insights into the full stack of Microsoft Zero Trust solutions and how they can be used to bolster an organization’s security posture. By pursuing best-in-platform technology and using Microsoft solutions, firms can make fast, meaningful progress toward their Zero Trust goals.

Best in breed addresses niche problems at a cost

Best-in-breed technologies address the problem areas a company faces, as each solution promises to be the best approach to a given problem.

While there are benefits to this approach, there are also challenges. With best-in-breed provisioning, companies may be vulnerable to threat actors and create a fractured user experience.

In a Zero Trust architecture, teams must be mindful of the potential vulnerabilities between systems and how to address them. For a more secure, frictionless experience, teams may consider best-in-platform systems.

Best in platform offers comprehensive benefits organization-wide

Best-in-platform technologies offer a suite of solutions that can address multiple problems, all from one consolidated vendor. Rather than researching the “best” solution to a given problem, companies taking a best-in-platform approach to provisioning work closely with one vendor to customize a system of solutions that meets their business needs.

With one technology provider, all solutions will be similar enough that team members can rapidly onboard when needed, reducing the investment of time and resources for upskilling. In addition, having a strong foundational knowledge of the provider ensures IT teams are more equipped to support users who experience challenges.

IT teams can also be confident that, with one provider, the security protocols across solutions will be the same, allowing for consistent, cohesive Zero Trust protocols and more effective monitoring for anomalies. This reduces friction for users across the organization.

Many organizations appreciate the flexibility afforded by best-in-platform technologies. With one provider, companies can customize and scale their solutions based on business needs. The tech stack can upgrade to meet these changes, integrating new tools into the existing ecosystem or deprovisioning unused tools to increase security and reduce costs.

In terms of cost, best-in-platform solutions are more cost effective than best in breed. Rather than researching new tools to solve problems separate, integrated solutions don’t solve, onboarding users across disparate platforms, or addressing gaps between systems, IT teams using best-in-platform solutions can focus on fine-tuning their systems, analyzing user insights, and addressing critical business needs.

Microsoft Zero Trust Solutions

As teams build their tech stack, Microsoft is known for a suite of solutions that can support an organization’s growth and Zero Trust journey. For example, Microsoft offers tools like Defender for Business, which can be used to improve a firm’s Zero Trust architecture by protecting employees from threat actors, securing company data, and providing insights into user activities for better monitoring. Here are three common examples of Microsoft Zero Trust solutions:

Microsoft Defender for Business

Defender for Business is a Microsoft Zero Trust endpoint security solution that protects against malware and ransomware, and provides other forms of detection, prevention, and response to cybersecurity threats. With real-time monitoring and options for IT teams to remotely scan and access devices, Defender can increase team efficiency by 50 percent while simultaneously improving organizational security posture, according to Forrester.

Microsoft Azure AD

Another Microsoft Zero Trust solution is Azure AD, which automates identity and user management. In keeping with the identity pillar of Zero Trust, users should have the least privileged access necessary to fulfill their job responsibilities. In turn, this reduces the risk of a breach of sensitive data. Rather than have IT teams manually adjust users and access, Azure AD streamlines this process, making the onboarding process 75 percent faster over time.

Microsoft Authenticator

Microsoft also offers authentication tools, like Windows Hello for Business and Microsoft Authenticator, which support other Zero Trust practices, including monitoring user identities and device access. With authentication tools, companies can move to passwordless sign-on to reduce user friction, protect individuals from social engineering, and improve password hygiene for better data security. Bolstering identity and access management (IAM) is a key factor in implementing Zero Trust practices.

These Microsoft Zero Trust solutions are examples of the many tools offered to increase organizational security and streamline operations using best-in-platform technology. Forrester reported that by using Microsoft Zero Trust solutions, businesses can expect to save over $7 million a year on legacy software and infrastructure. Microsoft’s customizable, scalable solutions can create a seamless Zero Trust architecture.

Need advice for cyber decisions beyond Microsoft Zero Trust?

Whether you customize best-in-breed solutions or consolidate tools with Microsoft Zero Trust, Ascent Solutions can help organizations meet business needs and contribute to a stronger Zero Trust architecture with minimal disruptions.

Our consultants have expertise in both the cybersecurity industry and Microsoft’s unique technology, giving us the knowledge needed to help your team transition to a Zero Trust focused, best-in-platform tech stack. For more information on the benefits of a Zero Trust architecture, read our latest white paper, then contact us to get started.

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