The Growing Responsibilities of System Admins in IT Security

The Growing Responsibilities of System Admins in IT Security

Technology is pushing boundaries and helping businesses make bigger and better decisions. The technocrats who enable it to occupy a quiet but powerful spot in the organizational hierarchy. Yes, they are the system administrators. As cybersecurity started to become a pressing issue, organizations and leaders wanted to spend more time and resources on securing all devices that were part of the corporate network. 

IT admins were the closest and the only people to understand this new challenge. Automatically, they were loaded with not only running the entire IT operations with a huge array of network equipment, data centers, servers, desktops, and laptops but also securing them from invisible threats.

The journey so far 

From around the early 2010s, IT teams serve as the enablers for evaluating and implementing new tools and services for the different teams. Apart from running day-to-day IT operations, they became the priests of technology, guiding, and helping teams improve their productivity and business processes with better tools and data handling. 

By 2015, digital transformation and cloud services took off big time. However, among the buzz of new technology, cybersecurity did not share the necessary spotlight it deserves. Security breaches and ransomware attacks slowly started to rise, but security measures did not grow along as they should have.

Unexpected detour

The biggest blow to businesses came this year, in the form of the worst pandemic the planet has seen in a long time. Leaders and employees were happy about keeping daily business operations running with digital tools with the help of remote IT management. 

Since remote work norms started setting in, many personal and corporate devices started to flood the IT landscape. The devices that were once within a controlled network went into unknown locations with zero monitoring and security maintenance. Endpoints such as laptops and desktops have gone out of direct vision and control.

The United Nations has reported a 600% increase in malicious emails since February 2020. The average ransom an organization paid in early 2019 was $41,198. By late 2019, it doubled to $84,116. In 2020, the average ransom paid by an organization is $111,605. The cost and damage caused by ransomware attacks are going uphill with no end in sight.

Upcoming security challenges for system admins 

Many businesses worldwide have hit rock bottom this year. Although they’re starting to recover, 

Out of all the new challenges, IT security is now the biggest challenge for each system admin. 

  1. Unpredictable work norms

Even though businesses are slowly starting to build momentum again, it doesn’t mean the normal routine and work norms resume as if nothing happened. The sudden shift to remote work has forced business leaders to think about turning away from conventional work modes. New work norms like hybrid and remote workforces are slowly being experimented with. 

IT security and management should also undergo a shift to support the goals of the organization. System admins need to leverage security controls in the cloud and be prepared to fight risks and threats from anywhere.

  1. Increasing number of threats and vulnerabilities

The number of disclosed vulnerabilities is already skyrocketing this year. Organizations have also experienced an increased number of security breaches and ransomware attacks.  In 2019, the number of data breaches in the United States amounted to 1,473, with over 164.68 million sensitive records exposed. 

Automation is the best friend to keep a low attack surface and detect breaches immediately. Patch automation and EDR (endpoint threat detection and response) ensure faster patch deployment cycles and immediate responses to malware compromised devices. System admins should focus on bringing these two main functionalities on their watch.

  1. Shadow IT

Before 2020, employees worked at the office where all devices were under direct scrutiny under corporate networks. The entry of new devices could be prevented very easily. But now, the situation has turned upside down. Employees are encouraged to work from anywhere, which means untrusted devices and software will easily find their way into the asset inventory.

System admins need to be prepared with the right tools and capabilities to monitor changes in their assets. Whenever a new device is used or a new vulnerability is disclosed, the system admin must know about it immediately.

  1. Regulatory compliance

Almost all regulatory organizations have announced and adopted remote audit procedures. Organizations who want to certify themselves can submit their reports online and connect with audit professionals through video calls. However, the internal audit procedures have to change accordingly and adapt to the new normal.

Security and compliance should be seen as one unit where devices are under continuous compliance and audit-ready all the time. Vulnerabilities in all remote devices should be mitigated and patched regularly to have a risk-free and compliant environment. 

  1. Increasing number of heterogeneous assets

An organization is always growing. More devices operating in multiple platforms will constantly make their way into the asset inventory to support the growth with technology. Using multiple tools for different operating systems and security operations will create data silos and decrease the operational efficiency of IT teams.

To have fast responses and minimal turnaround time, an all-inclusive platform is the best bet. All heterogeneous assets can be monitored, managed, and secured efficiently from a single console.

Make your journey easy

No matter what, system admins will always stick to one objective. Solving technical challenges to empower the workforce and drive business growth. IT security is now the latest tech challenge in front of system admins. 

Helping the IT superheroes navigate the challenges of IT security and management is our primary obsession at SecPod. We’ve meticulously built SanerNow Unified Endpoint Security and Management Platform over the past few years to address all endpoint challenges. The platform is powered by the largest database of security intelligence to detect vulnerabilities and stay compliant. You can maintain endpoint health by performing all day-to-day management tasks like software deployment, disk clean-ups and tune-ups, and more. 

Try SanerNow and see how it empowers you to fight the demons of endpoint security.

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