Clearing the skies: Unlocking efficiency and security with platform consolidation:
A high-flying solution for streamlined protection and performance

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What’s the adage about changing out an airplane’s engine mid-flight? Any organization with cybersecurity is certainly starting to remember. With its staggering 4,000 individual vendors, the security industry is fragmented enough where the market leader holds just a small share of said vendors, leading to nothing short of a product sprawl.

At this point, it’s not uncommon for organizations to find themselves managing over 100+ tools just to stay safe. However, the idea of embracing consolidation can start to feel a lot like changing out those turbines at 30,000 feet. Organizations want swiftness in their operations but are wary of unplugging anything crucial. But when the engine is on fire, what choice do you have but replacement?

Platforms are that replacement; the new engine is vendor consolidation.

What are the benefits of platform consolidation?

A recent survey by Gartner, Inc. found that 75% of organizations are pursuing security vendor consolidation in 2022, up from 29% in 2020. It’s not surprising that this measure brings customers some lifesaving benefits, namely cost optimization and improved security outcomes. With this in mind, vendors are guiding customers to the desired state of zero trust by starting with network security and replacing point solutions with natively integrated capabilities.

How do they do it? It depends on who’s flying the plane and where in the sky the customer finds themselves. In the cloud (not the fluffy kind), practitioners first establish visibility, then shift toward DevSecOps, and finally incorporate runtime protections. Meanwhile, the Security Operations Center (SOC) – seen as an area ripe for rearchitecting into a single-vendor platform – undergoes a transformation through data-focused AI automation. Applying this machine learning (ML) to endpoint detection and response (EDR), network traffic analysis (NTA), and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) is more effective when integrated into a consolidated platform that can ingest data from various sources.

The vendors themselves are similarly crucial to the execution. Cisco aims to become the abstract layer between the estate and the multicloud reality, while Palo Alto combines their aspiration for best-in-class offerings with additional value from the platform approach. With leading network infrastructure and cyber platform providers handling the platform transition, organizations can optimize costs, improve security outcomes, and rapidly activate new capabilities across their infrastructure.

Does platform adoption mean single-vendor allegiance?

Not necessarily. The cyber platform market is coalescing around three capability pillars:

  • Network security
  • Cloud
  • Security operations

Because secure access service edge (SASE) and extended detection and response (XDR) – two key elements of these pillars – are ripe for consolidation, organizations are rooting for their integration, but security and risk management leaders often choose to maintain their separate identities while ensuring seamless interoperability between them. What’s more, vendor consolidation may not actually lead to the anticipated improvement in security maturity. In fact, according to CSO Online, 24% of consolidation cases have seen a degradation in risk posture – not an improvement. Clearly, cyber vendor consolidation is not a quick fix.

While analysts suggest consolidation provides an initial opportunity to drive better pricing discounts from incumbent vendors and their competitors, this view might be tempered by the negative commercial and innovation impacts that “vendor lock-in” has led to in the past. “Security and IT leaders should plan at least two years for consolidation as it takes time to effectively consolidate and consider incumbent vendor switching costs,” Gartner advises.

What’s your flight path forward?

Despite these mid-air drawbacks, the engine still needs changing. Cybersecurity vendor consolidation certainly has advantages over our current fragmented market. Too much time can be sunk making sure your solution stack remains tuned and interoperable. Instead, you could benefit from natively integrated or interoperable solutions, such as integrating AI and ML for increased productivity.

To help you navigate the turbulence, SHI offers comprehensive guidance on integrated security architecture objectives aligned with your business outcomes and operational requirements. By leveraging your existing cyber investments, SHI effectively eliminates redundant point solutions from your infrastructure.

Regardless of your current level of maturity, we can provide valuable insights through our Security Posture Review. Our team of subject matter experts can then recommend a Cyber Mesh Architecture, utilizing SHI Labs to facilitate data-driven decision-making based on your unique solution and strategic criteria. Ensure your transition to platform cybersecurity has a smooth landing and reach out to our specialists today.

Gartner Press Release, “[Gartner Survey Shows 75% of Organizations Are Pursuing Security Vendor Consolidation in 2022],” [April 6, 2022]. [] GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.