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To begin, having an arsenal of security products under your roof does not necessarily mean you have an adequate handle on your organization’s information security risk posture. On the one hand, security product acquisition may not translate into proper risk management. On the other hand, having a limited number of security products may mean that you are managing risk well, under certain circumstances.

That is why determining the type of cyber security product coverage you require – so you can remain compliant and operational – is such a critical conversation to have.

Evaluate Assets and Processes

As we have covered previously, so much of this discussion begins with looking inward. Before you can determine what security products your organization will need, you first need to answer two critical questions:

“What assets do I have to protect? What are the business processes that I need?”

Those assets might be users or applications, or even relationships.

“How can those assets be attacked?”

This understanding of how you define your assets, followed by a precise analysis of how they can be compromised, will provide you with an initial roadmap of products that are designed to identify, protect and detect when those assets are at risk.

There Is No Easy Button

Because prescribing the correct solution (or solutions) is dependent on your unique business objectives, you will need to set aside the urge to look for a one-size-fits-all product suite that will be a panacea for your needs. And any product that claims to be all-encompassing is likely more a loosely coupled, distinct products than a purposefully built stack of interoperable security capabilities.

There are, of course, baseline products on the market today that can help you get started. Still, implementing “just the basics” is not a viable, long-term strategy and should not take the place of examining the intersection of security solutions that address the threats that exist today against your specific assets.

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Once you get beyond the basics, the next question then becomes which security product or set of products can afford you the most amount of coverage in the most efficient manner?

This can be somewhat tricky, since it is very easy to inadvertently create an excessive amount of work for yourself. For instance, if you purchase a number of different solutions, you are left to implement them individually, ensure their proper configuration, go back, make sure they’re updated and that patch levels are consistent – lather, rinse, repeat.

You now oversee a mountain of products that require individual management, instead of potentially investing in fewer – even simply one or two – that may have been able to provide the same results or levels of asset protection. And we haven’t even touched upon the copious amounts of disparate of data and alerts filling your dashboards.

Providers Instead of Products

There is another option to consider: purchasing no products at all and opting to engage a managed security service provider (MSSP) instead. Partnering with an MSSP can be an attractive notion for those who do not consider cyber security to be one of their organization’s core competencies.

More and more companies are going the route of saying, “This is someone else’s job,” which is why we have seen such growth in this part of the industry. We expect to see this trend continue, as organizations determine – based on their business’ objectives – there is more strategic value in them investing in a partner who is responsible for the evaluation, selection, management, configuration and upkeep of those products.

Remember, however, that not all MSSPs are created equally.

The Cost of Being Too Cost Efficient

Whether you are making a choice between providers or products, be wary of “low cost” options that promise ease of implementation. Often security solutions that promise to be kind to your bottom line will become quite costly as you scale them. Information security is a complex challenge and success requires an appropriate level of investment.

As with any product, decreases in cost will often translate into increased tradeoffs in alignment with your business. Of course, tradeoffs are not always a red flag – for instance, having the right analytics in-hand might be more valuable than a certain degree of enhanced flexibility – but you do need to examine what you are giving up for the sake of a smaller price tag.

Look at the Big Picture

Finally, remember not to focus too much on the products themselves initially. You can only have an informed approach to determining the right cyber security solutions for your organization if you understand your assets first, as well as the objectives behind them.

From there, with a bit of research, the right products and services will follow.

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About FourV Systems
FourV is dedicating to improving the operational performance of IT security programs by empowering leadership to make decisions instead of spending time analyzing data.
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