Forrester’s Total Economic Impact (TEI) reports are studies that assess just that: the overall economic impact of purchasing and using certain technology tools. They’re based on interviews with customer organizations who use a particular product, looking at the economic effects of the choice over three years. Last fall we wrote about Forrester’s TEI report on Azure Sentinel, which found over 200% average return on investment (ROI) over the three-year study. Now Forrester has released a report on Microsoft’s Azure Security Center, which did even better. The study found a payback of initial investment in less than six months and an ROI of 219% over three years. Part of the overall benefits found were also in saving time and reducing security risks.
The customer companies in Forrester’s study had previously been using a variety of third-party cloud security vendors and tools. This kind of variegated approach can mean inefficiency, ranging from redundant or false alerts to wasted money. In this case a financial difference was indeed noticeable. According to the study, switching from these multiple security tools to Azure Security Center brought composite benefits of $3.56 million over the course of the study while costing a totaled $1.1 million. Customers reported that they saved 20-30% on third-party security tools and as much as 50% on penetration tests and other security services. Overall, this resulted in 100% ROI in less than six months and 219% over the three years.
Using Azure Security Center also resulted in time savings for security teams. Just the reduction in deployment and maintenance (previously of multiple tools) was a way to reduce both time and costs. Furthermore, the time that administrators spent updating security policies and creating compliance-related workflows was decreased by 20-30%. Companies that chose to deploy Azure Defender within the Azure Security Center also reduced their time to threat remediation by 50%, and the simplified security arrangement brought their alerts needing remediation down by a whopping 86%. This of course meant better productivity and redirection of that saved time to other security needs.
Reduction of Risk
The streamlined and increased visibility of consolidated security tools, together with a quicker response to alerts, reduced threat risk as well. Forrester used numbers based on typical experiences of companies the size of those interviewed to assess what normal risk costs for these kinds of companies. Such organizations typically face 1.9 breaches annually, costing over $5 million to remediate after each breach, and they generally lose about 3.9 hours in productivity for each affected employee per breach. Compared to this typical scenario, those in the study using Azure Security Center were able to reduce their risk of a cloud security breach by 25%. Another perhaps less frightening but still important risk—that of non-compliance—was reduced as well. Azure Security Center improved the companies’ views of their compliance standings and found it easier to see recommendations and make adjustments.
Costs of Using Azure Security Center
Forrester noted in its report that the security posture, compliance, and asset inventory assessments of the Security Center are free to Azure subscribers, but that there is an additional cost (based on workloads) for the detection and remediation capabilities of Azure Defender. Time costs that customers reported were generally two hours of training the security team about Azure Security Center, and one company maintained two hours of training weekly.
Forrester’s Conclusions on Azure Security Center
Overall, Forrester’s TEI study found a number of benefits for companies using Azure Security Center: improved efficiency in security workflows, reduction of false-positive threat alerts, better visibility into the organization’s security posture, improved compliance, and reduced security risks—not to mention savings in actual monetary costs. This meant a total economic impact that was quite beneficial to the companies interviewed. For more details, view the full report here.