A cybersecurity solution can be any combination of tools, services and procedures that protect an individual or an organization against an unwarranted attack, theft or compromise of their networks, systems and services. As such, cybersecurity solutions can range from basic anti-virus protection to intelligent Enterprise Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools that constantly monitor events happening within IT systems and act to proactively detect and protect against suspicious activities.
Despite their critical nature, security solutions sometimes get “blocked” by IT before implementation. This usually happens due to one or more of the following reasons:
In an ideal world, all individuals and organizations would have access to best of class security solutions, performing real-time monitoring and remediation on all activities within their networks and IT systems. In reality, the cost of these solutions can be prohibitive, especially for SMBs. There is also the cost of having an in-house security expert to setup, monitor and react to these systems. Even if it’s only a part time role, this cost may be out of reach of a newer business struggling to make a profit.
Even in larger enterprises, the shortage of people with the relevant IT security skill sets means the security of data, applications and infrastructure can take a backseat compared to the drive to create and provision new business opportunities. In small businesses, security can be bypassed altogether since there may be no in-house technical security know-how.
Implementing a new security solution will often mean changes to the way people work, especially within internal IT teams. Although these changes may be for the better from a security perspective, increased security often results in decreased flexibility and/or usability, and therefore may be resisted. If a particular solution impacts employees and their routines too much, it increases the risk of “shadow IT” deployment, in which employees find workarounds through unofficial and unapproved means to get their jobs done. Since “shadow” services/infrastructure are completely outside of any security controls, this drastically increases the risk of a security compromise, and ends in a situation utterly at odds with the original intention!
A complex security solution is one that is hard to operate and govern. This sort of complexity can be broken down into three key areas:
Employees / End users – End users are happy to comply with IT security requirements, as long as these do not overly interfere with their ability to perform their day-to-day tasks. An obtrusive solution will not get end user buy-in, either in implementation or ongoing daily use. As noted previously, if security solutions start inhibiting an employee’s ability to work, they may well resort to using “shadow IT” (be that their home PC, or perhaps a self implemented cloud solution like Dropbox). Again, this can be a security disaster since any data transferred through “shadow IT” processes is by its nature uncontrolled and unmanaged.
Internal IT teams – IT support teams are often already stretched thin with their day-to-day support of critical business applications and infrastructure, plus any other company initiatives they are working on. If a new security solution is introduced that increases their workload, it could reduce the productivity not only of the IT team itself by also of the end users they support. One way to avoid such scenarios is to choose solutions with a high degree of automation. This lessens the time IT teams must spend deploying and maintaining the security tool and allows them to focus on their existing responsibilities.
Security team – Like many modern employees, security teams are frequently overwhelmed with work. While an impressive new security solution that gives detailed information on all areas of a company’s IT infrastructure and applications may sound great in theory, it must also have a built-in intelligence engine to help teams filter out the “noise.”Without such a capability, security teams may find themselves lost in too much data and unable to react to real security concerns because they are buried in trivial reports.
If a security solution is chosen and deployed without proper forethought and then foisted on an unwilling IT team that has not received proper training or resources to effectively support it, the likely outcome is failure. IT personnel will be resentful of a solution that is not providing any business benefits, is devoid of IT operational efficiencies, and is essentially making their lives more difficult. With no incentive to make the new solution work, and with a negative impact on end users due to a struggling and resource limited IT team’s inability to quickly respond to their needs, the new solution will in all probability become an expensive failure.
Here is how to select a cybersecurity solution that will overcome the challenges highlighted above:
Beyond its actual capabilities, the solution’s user interface is a critical aspect to its simplicity. A simple high level GUI that can be zoned into with more details makes for the easiest user administration, allowing the customer to spend their time looking at the areas of concern/improvement. This should be complemented with a comprehensive CLI/API based interface to allow integration with automation tool sets or bespoke custom scripts for the more advanced larger organizations.
Frictionless deployment, usage and expansion are key to ensuring that a solution not only gets purchased, but also used and renewed. A complex and convoluted security solution will leave business users and IT alike bypassing the system, putting the organization at risk. But a user-friendly solution will encourage usage and enhance both security and productivity.
Take VPNs as just one example. The inefficiency and delays they create for users lead to massive frustration and ultimately impede business agility. On the other hand, zero trust, and especially a zero trust access solution that can integrate with legacy and thick client applications and resources as well as existing IT systems and tech stacks, gives users secure access without changing or slowing down their normal work routines.
As we have already mentioned, automation of systems is a must in modern IT due to increasing breadth and complexity. The increasing integration of traditional IT infrastructure, hybrid cloud/hyperconverged infrastructure, public cloud-based infrastructure and services and SaaS applications means it’s not possible for IT teams to manually respond to all the demands placed on them. Security solutions are no different; these solutions should also automate as much of their operations as possible to enable teams to dedicate their time only to relevant operations and events.
Even when running the best and simplest security solutions, problems will still occasionally arise. The issue is not whether they will happen, but rather how to deal with them. If a minor bug becomes an IT headache, the team may prioritize other, seemingly more urgent matters to manage. But a solution that enables easy debugging and troubleshooting helps ensure the team is back on track as soon as possible.
An ideal cybersecurity solution will help reduce risk in real-time, as well as investigate incidents and activities that could heighten risk. An IT-friendly solution will provide auditing capabilities, session recording, user activity control, supervisor approval options, and more – for ensuring optimal security. These capabilities do more than just help manage the system. They also organizations more easily meet and maintain compliance demands.
Cyolo offers the most user-friendly zero trust access solution with a more secure architecture, full auditing and monitoring capabilities, a simple UI, and zero user friction. To learn more, click here.
Jennifer Tullman-Botzer is a cybersecurity nerd by day and a history nerd by night. She has over a decade of experience in cybersecurity marketing and is as tired as you are of hackers-in-hoodies stock images. Jennifer joined Cyolo in 2021 and currently serves as Head of Content. Prior to Cyolo, she worked in a variety of marketing roles at IBM Security. She lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.