To keep up with a complex cyber threat landscape, companies often adopt new tools designed to combat these specific threats, accumulating disparate tools over time. But problems emerge when having excessive tools because they can create overly complex security environments and inefficiencies. This article overviews some reasons for a notable uptick in security tool consolidation among businesses of all sizes.
Tool sprawl refers to the use of a variety of security tools that often have overlapping functions. Many companies end up facing tool sprawl issues not just due to an ever-changing, complex threat landscape that calls for new solutions, but also because of the following reasons:
In one recent survey, 43 percent of respondents replied that their number one challenge in threat detection and remediation is an overabundance of tools. This figure explains why a different survey of SMBs using managed security service providers (MSSPs) found that 86 percent of those companies want to reduce their current portfolio of security tools through consolidation.
While tool sprawl can provide a wide array of security capabilities to businesses, it also creates security management difficulties, increased costs and potential security gaps if the tools are not integrated or used properly.
Security tool consolidation involves reducing the number of security tools and unifying security capabilities into integrated systems. The objective here is a more optimized tech stack. Here’s why you might consider consolidating the security tools you use:
While there are several advantages to consolidating security tools that explain why it’s currently such a hot topic given security budgetary constraints, talent shortages and continued high-profile breaches, there are also challenges and potential downsides worth bearing in mind:
Vendor Lock-in: Consolidating security tools can lead to a situation where you become overly reliant on one vendor for many essential security capabilities. This vendor lock-in makes it difficult to switch vendors in the future.
Single Point of Failure: With tool consolidation, an integrated solution may become a single point of failure. If the consolidated tool fails or is compromised, it could potentially bring down the majority or entirety of security defenses.
Integration Issues: Combining several security functions into a single platform can sometimes lead to integration issues, particularly when incorporating legacy systems or when the consolidated tool doesn’t fully support certain infrastructure components, like IoT. Then you have the difficulties associated with lengthy vendor contracts to add to the equation.
Transition Challenges: The process of migrating from multiple tools to a consolidated toolset can be complex and disruptive. A difficult transition period may require extensive retraining for staff and could temporarily reduce security effectiveness.
Security tool consolidation hints at an overarching desire for companies to simplify their security operations. More tools do not necessarily guarantee better protection.
A complementary strategy for simplifying security operations is to use managed security service providers to whom you outsource monitoring and management of different security functions. Here’s how you get that security simplification from MSSPs: