Network Security and Management Challenges Blog Series – Part 4

Driving Economic Efficiency in Cyber Defense

Key Research Findings

  • Available budget, freedom to choose the best solutions and platform fatigue are all impacting on the ability of system architects to design and deploy the best solutions to meet the organization’s needs.
  • 78% of system architects reported platform fatigue is a significant challenge with 29% rating the level of challenge as high.
  • More than 90% of respondents reported that the process of acquiring and deploying security, network or application performance platforms is challenging, with almost half reporting that it is either extremely or very challenging.

Most of what’s written about cybersecurity focuses on the mechanics of attacks and defense. But, as recent research shows, the economics of security is just as significant. It’s not just lack of available budget – departments always complain about that – but how they are forced to allocate their budgets.

Currently, security solutions are often hardware-based, which forces organizations into making multiple CAPEX investments – with accompanying complex, slow purchase processes.

More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey reported that “the challenge of constraints caused by CAPEX cycle (e.g. an inability to choose best possible solutions when the need arises) is significant.”Almost half reported being stuck with solutions that have “outlived their usefulness, locked into particular vendors or unable to choose best-of-breed solutions.

Speed of deployment is also a significant challenge for organizations, with more than 50% of respondents reporting that “deploying a new security, network or application performance platform takes six to twelve months or longer.” 

As outlined in the previous post, existing security solutions are expensive, inflexible, hardware-dependent and take too long to deploy or upgrade. The process of identifying a need, raising budget, testing, selecting and deploying hardware-based security and performance monitoring solutions simply takes too long. And the cost is too high.

Contrast this with cyber attackers, who don’t require costly hardware to launch their attacks. They are not hampered by having to negotiate slow, complex purchase and deployment cycles. And often they leverage their target’s own infrastructure for attacks. The truth is that the economics of cybersecurity is broken: with the balance radically favoring attackers at the expense of their victims.

Reshaping the economics of cyberdefense

Companies have a myriad of choices when it comes to possible security, network performance and application performance monitoring solutions. Typically, they deploy many different tools to meet their specific needs. 

As discussed in the previous post, the lack of a common hardware architecture for analytics tools has prevented organizations from achieving the same cost savings and agility in their network security and monitoring infrastructure that virtualizaton has enabled in other areas of their IT infrastructure. As a result, budgets are stretched, organizations don’t have the coverage they’d like (leading to blindspots in network visibility) and deploying and managing network security and performance monitoring tools is slow, cumbersome and expensive.

Consolidating tools onto a common hardware platform – such as our EndaceProbe – helps organizations overcome many of the economic challenges they face:

  • It lets them reduce their hardware expenditure, resulting in significant CAPEX and OPEX savings. 
  • Reduced hardware expenditure frees up budget that can be directed towards deploying more tools in more places on the network – to remove visibility blind spots – and deploying tools the company needs but couldn’t previously afford.
  • Teams gain the freedom to choose what tools they adopt without being locked into “single-stack” vendor solutions. 
  • Teams can update or replace security and performance monitoring functions by deploying software applications on the existing hardware platform without a rip-and-replace. This significantly reduces cost and enables much faster, more agile deployment.

The cost of the hardware infrastructure needed to protect and manage the networks can also be shared by SecOps, NetOps, DevOps and IT teams, further reducing OPEX and CAPEX costs and facilitating closer cooperation and collaboration between teams.

For architects, a common hardware platform becomes a network element that can be designed into the standard network blueprint – reducing complexity and ensuring visibility across the entire network. And for IT teams responsible for managing the infrastructure it avoids the platform fatigue that currently results from having to manage multiple different hardware appliances from multiple different vendors.

Because analytics functionality is abstracted from the underlying EndaceProbe hardware, that functionality can be changed or upgraded easily, enabling – as we saw in the last post – far more agile deployment and the freedom to deploy analytics tools that best meet the company’s needs rather than being locked into specific vendors’ offerings.

Equally importantly, it extends the useful life of the EndaceProbe hardware too. No longer does hardware have to be replaced in order to upgrade or change analytics functionality. And as network speeds and loads increase, older EndaceProbes can be redeployed to edge locations and replaced at the network core with newer models offering higher-speeds and greater storage density. This ensures companies get maximum return on their hardware investment.

Lastly, their modular architecture allows multiple, physical EndaceProbes to be stacked or grouped to form centrally-managed logical EndaceProbes capable of scaling to network speeds of hundreds of gigabits-per-second and storing petabytes of network history.

A Final Word

This blog series has looked at the three key challenges – Visibility, Agility and Economic Efficiency (this post) – that enterprises report they face in protecting their networks and applications from cyber threats and costly performance issues. These challenges are interrelated: it is only by addressing all three that organizations can achieve the level of confidence and certainty necessary to effectively protect their critical assets.