What to consider when evaluating current and future vendors?June 6, 2016
Welcome to part 3 of the How to Re-Evaluate Your Network Security Vendor (here are part 1 and part 2), the most important blog series that security-minded C-Levels and directors will read all year! In this part, we cut to the chase and offer you a downloadable checklist for evaluating your current network security vendor.
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#1: Capital Expense: Do I want to own the solution?
Most network security solutions are packaged into physical and virtual appliances. There is a capital expense associated with purchasing, upgrading and retiring this equipment. Even if you use a virtual appliance you need to provide the hardware to run the virtual image. In general, the more locations you have the more expensive this proposition is. If you are subject to specific regulations or reside in specific territory you may have to own the infrastructure.
#2: Operational Expenses: Can I afford to maintain the solution?
Maintaining a skilled IT staff of network and security experts, is necessary to sustain your network security infrastructure. If you use appliances, you will need to have IT stuff at each location or hire local contractors to service the network security footprint. The need to repair and replace appliances introduces a level of complexity requiring you to engage with local channels to provide replacement equipment and installation services. Finally, your team need to periodically plan capacity increases and incremental deployments of new appliances as the business expands.
#3: Risk Mitigation: Can I keep up with frequent upgrades to patch vulnerabilities and access new features?
Attackers are moving fast and enterprises strive to stay ahead. Consider what it takes to upgrade the solution software to keep up with emerging threats, patch vulnerabilities and benefit from new features. It often involves down time and adherence to maintenance windows, with remote upgrade process that is time consuming and risky.
#4: Complexity Reduction: How many point solutions do I need to deploy and manage to cover all my users and data?
With Globalization, Cloud and Mobility becoming the driving force behind your business, your legacy security products may fall short. It means you have to incorporate point solutions for Cloud security and mobile workforce protection. This obviously increases your capital and operational expense as well as security risks associated with misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. Generally speaking, consolidating multiple requirements and even IT domains can help the reduce the footprint you need to manage.
#5: Innovation and Roadmap: Can my vendor to keep up with emerging business requirements and new threats?
Vendors investment in evolving their product is a tricky part of their business which is more related to their competitive positioning and the markets they service. In general, smaller vendors move faster, innovate to stay ahead and offer cutting edge capabilities. Larger vendors have more resources, but can be slower and less responsive.
#6: Supportability: Is my vendor well positioned to support my business?
Vendors are roughly divided into 2 groups: product-focused and service-focused. If you buy products, the vendor focus tends to be around the initial transaction and the renewals. When you buy a service, you maintain a continuous relationship with your vendor, that tend to focus more on customer success. Consider how your experience had been to date along that spectrum.
A Way Forward
Network Security as a Service solution, such as Cato Cloud, are tackling these challenges with a new architectural approach for delivering a secure network to the business.
Network Security as a Service:
Allows customers to eliminate capital expense associated with the appliance life cycle and reduce the operational expense needed to manage a complex, distributed network security environment.
Seamlessly adapts to emerging threats and introduce new capabilities without requiring the customers to take any action.
Integrates all parts of the business including: physical locations, cloud and infrastructure and the mobile workforce into one logical network that can be controlled with a unified policy. This reduces the need to deploy and integrate multiple point solutions to cover all parts of the business.