Surging cyberattacks hit traditional security like a hurricane in 2020. Already facing pressure brought on by the pandemic, IT leaders scrambled to bolster security defenses against the threats on the horizon. Many rushed to implement solutions before they became the next victim. But before they knew it, some were working with over a dozen security vendors.
While that may have helped at the moment, this method has not been effective for long-term management – especially considering today’s economy and ongoing talent shortages. According to a recent Gartner survey, 75% of organizations are pursuing vendor consolidation, up from 29% in 2020. Two years after surging attacks remodeled the security landscape, organizations are realizing the downfalls of having multiple vendors.
Risks of a multi-vendor environment
It’s already a challenge for IT staff to manage several security products, and when each one is owned by a different vendor, it doubles the workload. Without a holistic cybersecurity approach, organizations often go down this route…but it’s not the most cost-effective plan. The inefficiency of implementing individual solutions can increase costs over time. Juggling multiple product upgrades and routine maintenance is a burden on staff too, leading to enhanced security risks and resource constraints. On top of that, the sheer complexity of managing multiple retrofitted products creates gaps and vulnerabilities cyber criminals will exploit.
This is not a strategy built to last. Businesses must reconsider their cybersecurity strategy with longevity in mind. All organizations, specifically highly regulated ones, should consider the cost, productivity and security benefits of consolidation.
Increase productivity despite resource constraints
More vendors in an environment means more strain for IT to manage them. There’s added complexity with product maintenance. It’s not uncommon for disparate solutions to require more frequent upgrades. You can imagine how time-consuming that process is, especially if you run into any incompatibility issues between products along the way.
The scarcity of skills and resources is also a driving factor for consolidation, according to Gartner. By consolidating vendors, IT teams can significantly shrink their workload and the need for additional staff. Instead of spending the workday managing a dozen or more different products, employees can focus more of their time on technology and security initiatives that could enable business efficiency.
Optimizing security costs amid a recession
Although vendor consolidation doesn’t always lead to dramatic cost savings, it’s often a more affordable long-term approach. With one vendor for several solutions, you’re more likely to experience economies of scale due to the productivity enabled and time saved (you might see more bulk discounts, too). Plus, by improving your security posture, it reduces the risk of an attack – or ransom payment – in the future.
Albeit these cost benefits won’t make an immediate difference. In fact, Gartner’s study found that consolidation will take most organizations at least two years due to time constraints, existing contracts and adjusting for anticipated costs. However, while the road to manageable security might be long, it’s critical for CISOs and CIOs to have a future-oriented strategy to ensure it’s well worth it.
Reduce risk and bolster defenses
Vendor sprawl also brings risk in possibly the scariest way: blind spots. Ensuring visibility over the environment becomes very difficult with disparate tools, as each solution is unique and often overseen by different people. This lack of collaboration can lead to missed alerts, poor visibility into how solutions work together and finger-pointing when things go wrong. Without a single source of truth, it’s easy for risks to slip through the cracks.
It may seem hard to trust one vendor with multiple security solutions, especially as mergers and acquisitions dominate the tech industry. This is why it’s critical for businesses to build a digital identity strategy to know where to start and how to move forward. Having a partner who can act as an advisor is a significant benefit. According to Gartner, 65% of those businesses surveyed are consolidating to improve their overall risk posture. To ensure their infrastructure is built to last, organizations should consider working with an established identity and access management vendor. Having fewer vendors can drastically reduce complexity, enable secure automation and paint a clear picture into your risk environment.
While it won’t happen overnight, businesses need to start their journey towards vendor consolidation. A strategy that’s built to last will be key to improving risk, maximizing your budget and coping with resource constraints. It’s time for cybersecurity to work smarter, not harder