Glyn Geoghegan

Why a breaker became a maker

From one hacker to another, Devicie is striding towards flipping end users from weakest link to strongest defence. 

Hacker is oft abused as a dirty word. 

So, for context, what I’m talking about here is offensive security, red team, or penetration testing. 

What we confront is that making things is hard, but breaking things is easy (at least for folk like me). 

Until Devicie, I hadn’t seen a technology in the fix-it (or defensive) space that I could really believe in. 

Devicie woke me out of my break-it funk and showed me an environment in which I felt I could have a positive impact. 

In this article, I am going to talk about what made this breaker switch to become a maker. I will also outline why Devicie is striding towards flipping end users from weakest link to strongest defence.  

Cutting to the chase: The breaker  

Why does my opinion matter? 

Well, to many people it might not. 

But, I’ve been hacking stuff for quite a while. 

In fact, I have been breaking systems for over 25 years and am humbled to have worked with some really amazing hackers. 

I’ve seen many ways of building and defending applications, networks, and systems. 

But, despite the talent and effort, they have all (at least in part) failed to solve the overall problem. 

A quick scan of some reputable commentators and the mainstream media shows attackers are currently doubled down on ransomware and phishing.  

In 2020, Cybersecurity Ventures reported a company is hit with a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, with phishing attacks accounting for more than 80 per cent of reported security incidents.  

The material impact is escalating quickly too, with predictions that cyberattacks will cost the world up to US$10.5 trillion annually by 2025

Those were the prediction in 2020, fast forward to 2023 and the projections are even more concerning.  

"A rise in the average cost per cybercrime report to over $39,000 for small businesses, $88,000 for medium businesses, and over $62,000 for large businesses, an average increase of 14 percent."
ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report, July 2021 to June 2022

There is no panacea: The problem 

There is no single-point solution that will save all the things. 

One size rarely fits all, and this is especially true with regard to the ubiquitous and complex digital systems we are now reliant upon. 

People are frequently, and perhaps unfairly, considered the weakest link; or at least the last remaining soft target once everything else has been secured. 

Education, awareness, and securing endpoints have all been flagged as key to solving cybersecurity weaknesses. But, these initiatives, tools, best efforts, and technologies eventually end up in the ‘too hard’ basket. 

This approach has been partly or wholly unsuccessful for years. 

Testament to this is that you’d be hard pushed to find a real Red Team exercise that failed to infiltrate an organisation. Often a person that made a mistake is the vector for those intrusions.

I’ve seen many projects try to secure endpoints in an effort to save the users from themselves, but, these projects always seem to fail or result in a compromised or incomplete solution.  

Here’s the rub.  

Why should end users need to become security experts, or even IT experts, to do their jobs safely?  

The responsibility is being placed on the wrong folk, and it is sure to fail. 

Likewise, can we expect an under-resourced IT team, or any highly skilled experts, to get it right 100 per cent of the time? 

No, we’re only human (arguably). 

Reinventing end-user security: The turning point 

Devicie has reinvented device security and management, and I think it really can make end users as secure as possible in today’s environment. 

By automating the deployment of standards, processes, and controls, Devicie helps mitigate critical security risks (and automatically reapplies and self-heals when anomalies are detected).  

Devicie also automates the process of ensuring applications are up to date and patches applied in a smarter way. Through automating and managing these steps, Devicie also removes the potential for human error that inevitably comes with a manual process. 

My initial reaction to Devicie might have been a raised eyebrow and “sounds too good to be true” muttered under my breath (or to those that know me perhaps even fewer words). 

Except I’ve known these folks for a very long time. They are a smart bunch who have spent many decades understanding the complexities of building, managing, and securing the widest range of SOEs and employee devices. 

By automating their combined expertise, leveraging Intune for native deployment, and streamlining the process of enabling, managing and securing devices into a product, they are walking the walk in a way that elevates end-user security quickly and effectively

It’s clear from talking with the team that automation has been the key to this. 

By automating, Devicie has been able to repeatably secure the endpoint for users in a way that doesn’t restrict them, while allowing the organisation to have the control and visibility it needs over every device. 

Further, by protecting the users from typical attacks, and deploying the tech to mitigate threats from the endpoint, even when bad stuff inevitably happens, it won’t be catastrophic. 

The fleshy end of the equation moves from being a guaranteed way to compromise to one with a very limited potential and value to the attacker. 

Mission Possible: The switch 

In my professional journey, I’d almost given up on thinking anyone could be fully secure.  

No matter how much work we would do to help organisations build secure applications and infrastructures, the results were always the same. 


Ultimately, once the red team had a crack at the lowly end users, the Crown Jewels still ended up in the hands of the bad guys. 

It felt like all that investment was basically worthless.  

But now, I’ve drunk the cool-aid and seen Devicie in action, I’ve moved from being part of an impossible mission, to feeling like I’ve joined Mission Possible (or at least Mission Plausible). 

Devicie really does put the tools in the hands of our clients to provide a safe playpen for their users to access systems. 

Suddenly the previous weakest link is no longer the final attack vector. 

Instead, it can become an integral part of a secure and productive environment.  

Oh, and I’m still breaking stuff too, don’t worry. 

Martin McGregor

Why the White House zero trust memo is a game changer

The White House orders federal agencies to implement a Zero Trust security model. See why this memo is a game changer.

Martin McGregor

Why organisations are failing to close the gap on ransomware

Despite ransomware being a prevalent global threat, many businesses fail to have sufficient ransomware protection or the measures to address it effectively.

Martin McGregor

Microsoft Intune helps Devicie reinvent end-user device security

Discover how Devicie leveraged Microsoft Intune to deliver a mix of security and productivity in a way that has not been possible before.