Microsoft continues to strengthen its position as a front runner in information security and has been recognised as a leader in four Gartner magic quadrants: Unified Endpoint Management, Access Management, Cloud Access Security Brokers and Enterprise Information Archiving. The strengths for each solution are discussed and the cost implications are explored.
- by Adriaan Bekker, Softwerx Technical Director, 15 February 2021
As leaders in four Gartner Magic Quadrants as of 2020, Microsoft excel in the delivery of information security solutions. According to Gartner, “Leaders have the highest combined measures of ability to execute and completeness of vision. They may have the most comprehensive and scalable products. They have a proven track record of financial performance and an established market presence. In terms of vision, they are perceived to be thought leaders, with well-articulated plans for ease of use, product breadth, and how to address scalability.
Magic Quadrant for Unified Endpoint Management
Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) has been recognised as a leader for Unified Endpoint Management. MEM combines Intune and Configuration Manager and is available with an Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) license. With a geographically diverse clientele, Microsoft continues to invest in improving end-user and IT admin experience, integration with endpoint security and identity systems, and expanded use of analytics, AI and machine learning (ML).
- Marketing and product strategy: Including MEM, Microsoft has the most used unified endpoint management tool on the market, also MEM combines its offerings into a single console at no additional cost.
- Microsoft native: Microsoft’s integration across their products enhances security by reducing third party plugins. MEM’s integration with Azure Active Directory, Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and Microsoft 365 app protection offers improved security and user experience through Zero Trust Conditional Access.
- Co-management: Improved Intune and Configuration Manager integration, along with the pandemic, have accelerated adoption of co-management and modern management.
Magic Quadrant for Access Management
Microsoft is also a leader for Access Management with Azure AD, which offers SSO, MFA, and a catalogue of pre–integrated applications. Azure AD might require a more expensive license for more-advanced functionality, but it starts with a free tier.
- Many people are using Microsoft’s services to work remotely during the pandemic and as a direct result, Microsoft has seen high double-digit growth in services like Azure.
- Azure AD premium includes Conditional Access, which is a popular and heavily leveraged adaptive access tool – Microsoft has even added an audit-only mode which is popular with users.
- Microsoft simplified its pricing for its B2C offering, switching it to a monthly authenticated users (MAU) model, with no charge for the first 50,000 external identities – the overall pricing has been found to be below the market average.
- Microsoft is one of the vendors not only meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standard for compliance, but it is also concerned with providing a strong positive experience to people with disabilities.
Magic Quadrant for Cloud Access Security Brokers
Microsoft is a leader in the Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) category. CASB is focused on the core functionality and works best when supplemented with other Microsoft security products. Its operations are geographically diversified. During 2020 and into 2021, Microsoft continues to emphasize endpoint-based and cloud-based controls, directing attention away from the network.
- Microsoft has combined different classification mechanisms into one shared across MCAS, Office 365, Azure Information Protection (AIP), Rights Management Services (RMS) on-premises and Windows Information Protection (WIP) on endpoints.
- Data Loss Prevention actions are comprehensive and can even send real-time notifications of violations through Teams. The list of common sensitive data types is frequently updated.
- Power Automate (previously Flow), an extra cost item, allows administrators to build playbooks to automate incident response workflows across all governed SaaS applications.
- The user entity and behaviour analytics interface displays a useful unified view of a single account’s activities across multiple cloud services.
Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving
Microsoft’s archiving solution is built on the Microsoft 365 SaaS platform, and it was released in October 2015. It is a leader in the Enterprise Information Archiving quadrant. This solution is designed for archiving a variety of e-communications and unstructured data sources. During the past 12 months, Microsoft has added the following features: data classification dashboard, sensitivity labels, records management, auto/trainable classification, third-party data connectors and Microsoft Teams conversation threading. Microsoft is best-suited for in-place archiving, records management, regulatory compliance, e-discovery and end-user archiving.
- Microsoft complements its EIA and compliance capabilities with portfolio options to simplify licensing for insider risk management and data loss prevention (DLP).
- Microsoft license key enablement and ability to manage Microsoft 365 data in-place, simplifies the adoption of multiple use cases and streamlines the management of existing data.
Microsoft’s status as a leader in these four important areas is a reflection of the continual innovation and investment that they have made in the areas of data governance, archiving, eDiscovery, security and compliance solutions. In addition, Microsoft solutions can be highly cost-effective when compared with the alternatives. With such momentum, Microsoft is set to continue this trend of leadership in the years to come which is one of the reasons Softwerx champions a Microsoft First approach.
About the author:
Adriaan Bekker is Technical Director of Softwerx. He has worked with Microsoft and at corporate C-level clients for over 10 years. He is well placed to bridge the gap between technical, commercial and compliance requirements thanks to this experience and his business and IT degree qualifications.
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