Emerging from the multi-vendor quagmire

The move to one trusted vendor for your digital identity strategy may be easier than you think. And the consolidation brings both security and efficiency benefits.

Pop quiz: how many vendors do security leaders like you and your peers juggle? I’ll give you a hint: take off your shoes, because you’ll need your fingers and your toes.

The answer? According to the Cisco 2020 CISO Benchmark Report, 86% of survey respondents use up to 20 vendors.

We all have good intentions about keeping things simple, whether in business or our personal lives. But sometimes, things get bogged down into an unnecessarily complicated, fragmented state. And there’s no doubt that’s the case when it comes to today’s security environments, which have become increasingly – and frustratingly – complex and inefficient.

Patchworks and pressure points

Employing a patchwork of disparate security solutions from multiple vendors is not only unwieldy. It also impedes the primary goals of efficiently managing risk and delivering consistent, quality service performance and user experiences.

Adding to the difficulties and complexity is the need to secure and support multiple work models including on-premises, remote, and cloud computing, along with the ongoing chore of “MacGyvering” dinosaur legacy platforms with duct tape. Most organizations don’t have the resources and skills to develop this cross-product integration. To further compound things, these challenges come at a time of continually rising threats of cyberattacks (which you can, of course, work to prevent and combat), as well as downward economic trends leading to budget and resource constraints. Not surprisingly, the Cisco survey also notes:

  • 81% of respondents said they find managing a multi-vendor environment to be challenging
  • Cyber fatigue rose 12% to 42% among respondents, with multi-vendor environments contributing to the trend

Consolidation focus gains traction

The good news is that security leaders are making tangible strides when it comes to recognizing the need for – and taking action on – consolidation and simplification. According to Gartner, four key trends are motivating IT leaders and accelerating this shift. These include the ability to enhance security and mitigate risk through unified solutions, the need to accommodate hybrid work models, the lack of adequate IT resources to support their current infrastructure, plus the opportunity to further automate across the security landscape.

Findings from a recent Gartner study put this growing momentum into perspective:

Laying the groundwork for a security vendor consolidation approach

Transition to a vendor consolidation approach starts with pivotal baseline steps. For instance, according to Gartner’s 2022 Strategic Roadmap for SASE Convergence, security leaders are recommended to take several actions, including:

  • Conducting initiatives to integrate cloud-centric security edge services into the scope of project planning
  • Taking inventory of equipment and contracts to implement a phaseout of legacy on-premises perimeter and remote hardware, in favor of cloud-centric delivery of SASE (secure access service edge) capabilities
  • Consolidating by using the converged SSE market at renewal time to remove complexity
  • Evaluating multiple approaches for SASE adoption to provide the most flexibility in selection and timing
  • Implementing Zero Trust network access within a SASE/SSE strategy to deliver consistent, contextual application access for all users, regardless of location

Build a unified, identity-centric security strategy with one trusted, strategic security vendor

With the above groundwork in place, organizations can take full advantage of the powerful security and efficiency benefits of vendor consolidation. That includes leveraging integrated, highly automated solutions that work together to eliminate security gaps and reduce risk. And it brings the ability to more easily secure and support varied work models that drive today’s borderless networks – without compromising user convenience and productivity. Plus, the resulting efficiencies of an integrated security posture mean organizations can cover more ground without adding further pressures and complexities to already-taxed IT teams.

In turn, these benefits leave organizations well-positioned to adopt an identity-centric security strategy based on the principle of Zero Trust. Driven by the mantra “never trust, always verify,” Zero Trust is focused on securing digital identities at every access point. By centering a Zero Trust approach on the concept of digital identity, organizations can leverage identity and access management (IAM) solutions and principles to augment their security posture. While several other key solutions come into play, the four fundamental IAM solutions driving a Zero Trust model are:

  • Identity governance, an automated, role-based approach that replaces manual management of provisioning and de-provisioning
  • Single sign-on, which reduces the need for passwords while improving security and supporting regulatory compliance
  • Multifactor authentication, which creates an auditable chain of trust across the enterprise through user-friendly authentication options, including biometrics
  • Privileged access management, that protects privileged accounts for the highest valued digital assets against unauthorized access by employees and third party vendors

Progressing from a multi-vendor quagmire to a single, trusted vendor that excels at strategic, integrated digital identity solutions is clearly a big move. And with it comes the opportunity for big, long-term benefits including reduced complexity, strengthened security, enhanced productivity, and better efficiencies. Given the mounting challenges at hand, now’s an especially advantageous time to get started.

To learn how a unified digital identity strategy can help your organization, contact us for a personalized consultation.