The cybersecurity industry is full of security solutions designed to protect against a single, specific threat. However, while these solutions may be effective, deploying them may do more harm than good.
Security sprawl, when organizations deploy many standalone tools to address specific threats, increases security complexity and reduces an organization’s ability to protect against cyberattacks. Secure access service edge (SASE) provides an alternative. SASE offers integrated security that can protect the entire corporate WAN.
Enterprise Cybersecurity is Growing More Complex
Protecting an organization against cyber threats is not an easy task. Cyberattacks are highly asymmetrical: a defender needs to be able to plug every security hole and identify and block every attack while the attacker only needs to get lucky once.
This challenge is exacerbated by a number of different issues. One is the expansion of the cyber threat landscape. Cybercrime has become professionalized, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and resourceful. As a result, organizations must be capable of identifying and blocking an ever-growing number of different attacks.
As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, cyber defenders also must grapple with increasingly complex corporate networks. The rise of cloud computing, the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), widespread bring your own device (BYOD) policies, and increasing support for telework have all introduced new security challenges for organizations.
Many Organizations Address New Cyber Threats with Additional Standalone Tools
All too often, organizations take a “more is better” approach to security. If a company needs to defend against cyber threat X or secure platform Y, there is almost certainly a cybersecurity solution that does exactly that.
As a result, organizations have an ever-growing number of standalone cybersecurity solutions deployed to protect their networks. The average organization now has 45 distinct cybersecurity solutions deployed in their network environments.
These cybersecurity solutions are often standalone tools designed to solve a specific security problem. While this may provide an organization with “best in breed” protection against particular threats, these tools are rarely designed to be integrated with other vendors’ security offerings.
Standalone Security Impairs Cybersecurity
As the number of security solutions that an organization has deployed grows, its ability to respond to cyberattacks actually decreases. This security degradation is driven by a number of factors.
- Overwhelming Alert Volumes
It is true that you can’t protect an organization against an attack that you can’t see. However, most security operations centers (SOCs) have the opposite problem. They are overwhelmed with way too much data in the form of security alerts and log data.
The average enterprise SOC receives over 10,000 security alerts per day. To make use of this data, SOC analysts must investigate each alert, determine if it points to an actual attack, and, if so, perform further investigation and take action to remediate the incident. In reality, the sheer volume of alerts, which include many false positive detections, mean that many alerts are ignored because analysts don’t have enough time and resources to deal with them.
Standalone security is a major contributor to alert overload. Each of the dozens of security solutions deployed on the enterprise network emits its own feed of data, informing the security team of potential threats to the network. However, the sheer volume of data generated means that most of this information is useless to an analyst.
- Degraded Network Visibility
Volume is not the only issue with the alerts generated by standalone security products. In most cases, these solutions lack the context necessary to accurately differentiate between a true attack and a false positive.
Most security solutions are designed to achieve a specific purpose, and their visibility is limited to what is required to achieve this goal. This means that, for example, a standalone endpoint security solution may be very good at identifying anomalies on the device that it protects. However, it lacks the visibility into network data, other endpoints, etc. which is often necessary for differentiating between a harmless anomaly and a true threat.
- Complex Monitoring and Maintenance
Cybersecurity solutions are not designed to be “fire and forget”. If not properly configured, maintained, and operated by a professional, they can provide a false sense of security and do more harm than good.
In the average enterprise, with an average of 45 different products deployed on their network, these configuration, monitoring, and maintenance requirements represent a significant burden on security staff. Assuming that an organization has the security expertise required, the need to keep the entire system functional distracts these employees from their responsibility to protect the organization against cyberattacks.
SASE Enables Integrated Security for the Modern Network
Security sprawl often results from the need to protect a diverse network environment against a range of cyber threats. Security solutions may be capable of running only on certain types of endpoints, and devices moving outside the enterprise perimeter require security suited to their needs.
SASE enables organizations to secure their entire corporate environment with a simple, integrated solution. SASE includes integrated security functionality, such as a next-generation firewall (NGFW), secure web gateway (SWG), and zero-trust network access (ZTNA), eliminating the need to purchase and deploy standalone products. Since SASE is located in the cloud, it avoids the problems posed by diverse endpoints and moves security functionality to the network edge, closer to the users and endpoints that need it.
The growing sophistication of cyber threats is not a problem that is going away any time soon. However, organizations do have control over how they respond to this trend. SASE, which offers a wide range of integrated security solutions, decreases security complexity and the problems that it causes.