Research Firm Provides Guidance for Planned Security Platform Consolidation – Virtualization Review

Research Firm Provides Guidance for Planned Security Platform Consolidation

Research firm Gartner predicts a consolidation of security platforms as enterprise security and risk management (SRM) teams face a confluence of factors that complicate their jobs.

“Security and risk managers continue to be asked to do more with less – in the face of increased demand for services, rapidly changing threat landscapes and a lack of technical talent,” said Gartner in last month’s report titled “Predicts 2022: Consolidated Security Platforms Are the Future.” This research predicts that platform consolidation will help SRM leader organizations thrive in hostile environments.”

In hard numbers, the company’s report is based on these strategic planning assumptions:

  • By 2025, 80% of enterprises will have adopted a strategy to unify access to web, cloud and private application services from a single vendor Security Service Edge (SSE) platform.
  • By 2025, 30% of enterprises will have adopted a data security platform (DSP), due to pent-up demand for higher levels of data security and rapidly increasing product capabilities.
  • By 2025, 70% of organizations will consolidate the number of vendors securing the cloud-native application lifecycle to no more than three vendors.
  • By 2027, 50% of mid-market security purchasers will leverage extended detection and response (XDR) to drive consolidation of workplace security technologies, such as endpoints, cloud and identity.

In fact, according to Gartner, the movement is already well underway, with a 2020 survey of 83% of organizations that were pursuing a vendor consolidation strategy indicating that this effort has been ongoing for at least a year.

A year of change
[Click on image for larger view.] A year of change (source: Gartner).

The company sees SRM vendors following two different approaches to consolidation, a platform approach in which different systems and features are integrated, and a portfolio approach in which packaged products are delivered, requiring little integration with other computer systems.

  • Platform approach

    • Take advantage of interdependencies and commonalities between adjacent systems
    • Integration of consoles for common functions
    • Supporting the organization’s business objectives at least as effectively as the best
    • Integration and operational simplicity mean that security objectives are also achieved.
  • Portfolio approach

    • Leveraged set of non-integrated or slightly integrated products in a purchase package
    • Multiple consoles with little to no integration and synergy
    • Legacy approach in a vendor wrapper
    • Will not fulfill any of the promised benefits of consolidation

“Differentiating these approaches is key to suite effectiveness, and vendor marketing will always say they are a platform,” the report says. “When evaluating products, you should consider the degree of console integration for management and monitoring of the consolidated platform. Additionally, evaluate how security elements (such as data definitions, malware) and the like can be reused without being redefined, or can apply to multiple domains seamlessly.Multiple consoles and multiple definitions are warnings that this is a portfolio approach that should be carefully evaluated.

Merging Data Security Capabilities into Data Security Platforms
[Click on image for larger view.] Merging Data Security Capabilities into Data Security Platforms (source: Gartner).

The bifurcation of the platform/portfolio approach being one of the main lessons of the report, the other three are:

  • Driven by the need to reduce complexity, leverage commonalities, and minimize management overhead, the convergence of security technologies is accelerating across multiple disciplines.
  • Organizations are working or planning to work on supplier consolidation strategies; it is a long-term project for most of them, because it is often a major architectural shift.
  • Technology consolidation is not limited to one area of ​​technology or even a set of closely related technologies; these consolidations occur in parallel across many security domains.

“Security technologies and mindsets have continually oscillated between best-in-class and platform-based solutions (even though the latter has too often been a marketing construct, more than an actual approach),” Gartner said. “This wobble is driven by buying centers, vendor preferences, and technical requirements. It has left organizations and security and risk management (SRM) managers with enormous technical debt and often an infrastructure fragmented and complicated that does not help an organization’s mission to enable its digital enterprise.Such infrastructures are difficult to manage, limit visibility into the true state of security and have created gaps between silos or inconsistent policies.”

Report recommendations for businesses include:

  • Assess security platforms where they share data and control planes; leverage this consolidation to define common policies and reduce gaps and vulnerabilities between legacy silos.
  • Assess your security needs for outbound communications and determine where cloud-managed solutions fit your risk and business profiles.
  • Inventory data security controls to implement a multi-year phase-out of siled data security tools that hold you back when it comes to leveraging your data in favor of a modern data security platform.
  • Implement an integrated, converged security approach that spans the entire cloud-native application lifecycle, from development to production. Evaluate workspace security packages united by expanded detection and response as a significant way to reduce the complexity of security operations.

The report incorporates research (“2020 Security and IAM Solution Adoption Trend Survey” by Gartner) that was conducted online in March and April 2020 with 405 respondents from North America, Western Europe and the Asia/ Pacific (APAC).

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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