Cloud Security: Don’t Confuse Vendor and Tool Consolidation
In the current macroeconomic climate, many organizations are looking to consolidate and work with a smaller number of vendors. It’s understandable. Not only are you reducing potential runaway costs and making vendor relationships easier to manage, you can also gain a more advantageous bargaining position on price. The fewer individual vendors a company has to deal with, the easier it is to manage purchasing, get legal clearances, request support and so on.
However, from a security professional’s end-user perspective, vendor consolidation doesn’t necessarily translate to greater efficiency. The reason is simple: Even when you consolidate vendors, you may not consolidate tools. Unless your vendor offers a truly integrated platform, you still end up working with a discrete set of disparate, disconnected solutions. Whether or not they happen to be provided by the same vendor doesn’t matter much.
This is a reality that cloud security teams know all too well today. As business folks push for vendor consolidation, cybersecurity practitioners are left to wonder what vendor consolidation actually means for them, or how it can improve security outcomes.
Let’s take a moment to explore this phenomenon, discuss why vendor consolidation doesn’t always yield the desired results “on the ground” and what to do to ensure that consolidation initiatives result in tangible benefits.
Why the C-Suite Loves Vendor Consolidation
To start, let’s consider why organizations prefer to consolidate cybersecurity tool vendors.
They do it because it helps streamline their business processes and has fewer vendors to interface with. They get a one-stop shopping process that — just like buying groceries at a supermarket instead of going to individual bakers, butchers, produce stands and so on — will save them time. It might also result in lower overall costs because vendors are more willing to offer pricing discounts when they are selling multiple products to a single customer.
Why Cybersecurity Vendor Consolidation Doesn’t Always Live Up to Its Promise
Unfortunately, simply buying solutions from fewer vendors doesn’t necessarily deliver the operation efficiencies or efficacy of security coverage — that entirely depends on the nature of those solutions, how integrated they are and how good the user experience is that they provide.
If you’re an in-the-trenches application developer or security practitioner, consolidating cybersecurity-tool vendors might not mean much to you. If the vendor that your business chooses doesn’t offer an integrated platform, you’re still left juggling multiple tools.
You are constantly toggling between screens and dealing with the productivity hit that comes with endless context switching. You have to move data manually from one tool to another to aggregate, normalize, reconcile, analyze and archive it. You have to sit down and think about which alerts to prioritize because each tool is generating different alerts, and without tooling integrations, one tool is incapable of telling you how an issue it has surfaced might (or might not) be related to an alert from a different tool.
In short, vendor consolidation without an integrated platform or tight integration between the different tools (that seldom exist) doesn’t make life any easier at all for cybersecurity practitioners. It might improve business efficiency for procurement but at the same time add overhead and reduce efficiency of security operations.
A Better Approach to Cloud Security Tooling
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to consolidate both vendors and tools — a strategy that yields tangible benefits from both a business perspective and a security operations perspective.
In the realm of cybersecurity, and particularly in cloud native security, this approach is possible when businesses choose to work with a vendor that offers a fully unified cloud native application protection platform, or CNAPP. In fact, Gartner expects cloud native security to consolidate from the 10 or more tools/vendors used today to a more viable two to three in a few years.
A true CNAPP will integrate all of the tools that practitioners need to operate efficiently into a single solution. It does away with context switching, and it ensures that teams can draw on all available contextual data when managing alerts and remediation workflows.
At the same time, if you choose a real end-to-end CNAPP developed by a single vendor, it will achieve the business-process consolidation that executives love and the operational efficiency. The business gets the one-stop cybersecurity shopping it longs for, while at the same time giving practitioners a solution that addresses all aspects of cloud native application security, across all stages of the application delivery life cycle.
A Holistic Approach to Cybersecurity Vendor Consolidation
The bottom line is this: Consolidation only works when organizations think in terms of vendor consolidation and tool consolidation at the same time. Consolidating vendors alone offers little value if it leaves practitioners struggling to manage discrete, poorly integrated tools, which in turn leaves the business at greater risk of cyberattack because cloud native security teams can’t identify or respond to risks as effectively when they lack a centralized, consolidated platform. It might deliver some cost benefits and easier vendor management, but those efficiencies might be canceled or even overridden by poor user experience, lack of consolidated policies, processes, and outcomes, and overall higher operational overhead.
The good news is that CNAPP solves this dilemma. A CNAPP platform worth its name delivers all-in-one protection that keeps business folks happy while also helping to maximize the operational efficiency of cybersecurity teams.
Contact us to learn more about how Aqua’s CNAPP platform helps organizations optimize business efficiency and cybersecurity readiness at the same time.