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To say this year has been an exercise in adaptation would be an understatement. Organizations across the world have scrambled to implement remote worker capabilities to maintain business operations. WWT fielded requests from countless customers needing to upgrade licensing for their firewalls to support more remote VPN connections. We also observed customers scrambling to deploy more cloud-based endpoint security agents. The mantra "do more with less" has never been more appropriate.

Cyber attacks are increasingly sophisticated and on the rise everywhere. Attackers have been opportunistic, leveraging societal disruption to increase their rate of attacks and, in some cases, to be very laser-focused in execution. It has been said that "data is a war." And if this year is any indicator, organizations are losing. We have not seen any major breach reports announced, but I guarantee we will begin to see some go public early next year -- after financial reporting at year-end.

What are the security challenges?

Security strategy is now a number one conversation at the board level. According to a recent study by FS-ISAC, Reshaping the Cybersecurity Landscape, among the top five cybersecurity topics being discussed at the board level are: (a) overall security strategy, (b) review of current threats and security risks, and (c) review of whether the organization is vulnerable to another organization's public breach. With regulators now making boards responsible for the security posture of their organization, we'll continue to see security budgets increase -- as will the level of oversight and scrutiny for these investments.

Reading a recent Forrester report, 55 percent of respondents have twenty or more tools between security and operations. From my experience in the global financial services space, that number seems awfully low -- but perhaps useful as a baseline across industry verticals. Of those respondents, 70 percent say those tools lack full integration with their estate. This highlights an important point: security gaps arise not only from missing technical capabilities but from a lack of information and data sharing between your current investments.

And up to this point, we've only talked about negative drivers! Organizations are under immense pressure to develop and execute strategies around digital transformation. This innovation imperative, combined with the cybersecurity challenges already mentioned, create a "deer in the headlights" moment. Security leaders can feel trapped in limbo, wrestling with the question, "How and where do I start?"

Common challenges we see across our customers include: (Insert "How do I?" before each one.):

  • Innovate with necessary technology evaluation and consumption
  • Envision a pandemic-proof enterprise architecture and strategy aligned to the business
  • Rationalize my OEM relationships and application footprints across multi-cloud environments
  • Explore alternative financial structures to fund my security initiatives
  • Breakdown organizational silos to ensure my initiatives address (not create) business challenges

There has never been a better time to review the capabilities in your security portfolio to discover areas of over investment, the presence of obsolete tools, and security gaps that put your data, customers, and company's future at risk. 

Organizations ought to assess their entire portfolio every three years as a "gut check," whether contracts are up for renewal or not. "Which OEMs are entering the market? Which are on their way out? Which of my current OEM relationships now offer new integration points of which I can now take advantage?"

Tools rationalization overview

Organizations often begin the journey down the security tools rationalization process completely overwhelmed. The main reason they find themselves being overwhelmed is due to having built up a wide range of security tools over a month of Sundays (i.e., vulnerability and penetration scanners, SIEM logging, identify and access, endpoint protection, and the list goes on). Often, these tools pile up through ever-changing business strategies or from mergers and acquisitions. Statements begin to circle: "We don't see the value in our current investments," or "We have too many tools and few are integrated."

WWT has developed a unique methodology for evaluating and qualifying the investment in your cybersecurity tools portfolio suite. A tools assessment's direct results are designed to enable our clients to quickly understand their current Cyber Defense Matrix (CDM) tools portfolio.

Each tool is mapped to a CDM overlay, demonstrating its defense coverage across the five fundamental cyber resiliency pillars. The overlay highlights gaps in tool coverage, identifies overlaps, redundant and obsolete tools based on guidance from leading frameworks, including but not limited to NIST CSF, CIS Top 20, and ISO 27001/27002. The challenge for organizations differs in how it approaches risk reduction by effectively utilizing tool management and deployment. 

Key deliverables and focused efforts from the Tools Rationalization engagement would strategically help define a short- and long-term strategy aligned with our clients' cybersecurity architecture roadmap's desired capabilities. Our assessment tactically assists in the initial "sweep" of tools strategy vs. existing capabilities to understand better where gaps or duplicate functionalities exist while determining implications for people, process, and tools (including tool selection framework). 

Our primary goal is to help our clients identify opportunities to regain time, resources and money related to the security program by highlighting prospects to increase security tool efficiency. Finally, we identify strategic roadmap items for future purchases to reduce gaps and strengthen security.

In this TEC37, Robb Boyd and WWT's experts Matt Berry, Matt Long and Kris Carr will discuss how WWT's Tools Rationalization approach will ensure your organization is advancing its security posture, optimizing investments and pursuing reduction in spending.

Value delivered

Security is arguably the most fragmented technology domain. Organizations spend significant sums of money on point solutions resulting in sprawl, operational complexity, feature and functionality overlap, and failure to address policy, procedure, and strategy. That sprawl encompasses hardware, software, and security tools to manage and monitor the environment. 

Common challenges we see across our customers include:

  • Innovating with necessary technology evaluation and consumption.
  • Envisioning a pandemic-proof security architecture and strategy aligned to the business.
  • Rationalizing and optimizing OEM relationships.
  • Rationalizing application footprints across multicloud environments.
  • Exploring alternative financial structures to fund my security initiatives.
  • Removing organizational silos to ensure security initiatives provide business value.

Balancing procurement objectives to reduce cost, lines of business to grow, IT to do more with less, and the security office's charter to mitigate organizational risk is difficult. WWT's business model and capabilities can deliver value and create a balance between these often competing imperatives.

Waste is created when organizations invest in strategy consulting (security or otherwise) that lack practical action plans. Millions are invested annually for well-laid ideas and plans but fail to enable those strategies for a myriad of reasons is common. 

WWT's deep roots in technology architectures inclusive of security, coupled with more-recent human resource investments in security consultants reduce this waste. How? Strategies are co-developed with clients. These strategies are created with knowledge of and the ability to leverage existing organizational investments in proportion to additional needed investments to create practical plans. Waste on strategy consulting is thereby reduced significantly. 

In addition, WWT's Digital Platform and Advanced Technology Center enables enterprises to evaluate and consume technology architectures in an innovative way. The ability to leverage on-demand lab environments for the latest solutions, review case studies and white papers grounded in practical use-cases enables organizations to move faster, reduce risk, and optimize spend with OEMs thus bringing balance and alignment to procurement, the security office, IT, and lines of business. 

Organizations can reduce operational expenses (OPEX) and capital expenses (CAPEX) through more extensive use of WWT's Digital Platform and the ATC satisfying procurement needs. IT organizations have on-demand or schedulable access to automated lab environments enabling them to move faster and provide solutions to lines of business for growth. Those can all be realized working in harmony with the strategy set forth by the security office while minimizing risk prior to deployment into production environments.

Finally, when creating implementation plans for enterprise security rollouts, WWT can deliver a well-orchestrated deployment. Planning purchases of security solutions (hardware or software) can be done to manage client cash flows and align expenses to installation. Global integration centers can be leveraged to accelerate and reduce on-site labor expenses thus accelerating identified financial returns (reduced risk, productivity improvements through security automation, etc.)

WWT's business model is unique and has been developed over 30-years shoring up gaps that exist in various purchasing relationships -- OEM direct, major consultancies and small value-added resellers (VARs). WWT's value exists in delivering IT strategy and execution to transform your organization. Many others offer strategy or execution services. Separating vision from operations creates a gap that often results in partial success and extends the time to market, an opportunity cost business cannot afford. By leveraging WWT's business model and culture, an extensive portfolio of capabilities, and technical resources, we provide strategy and execution at a competitive price with proven results -- an unmatched value for our partners.

Next steps

Every organization is uniquely different in some way. WWT will partner with you by taking the time to understand your specific IT security environment making sound strategic recommendations based on your organizational needs. A great way to begin this journey is to start by learning more about our Security Tools Rationalization Workshop.