Vendor sprawl, or the accumulation of multiple point security solutions from different vendors, can cause massive inefficiencies and unnecessary costs for an MSP. Here, we share 3 practical tips to help you combat this perennial problem or avoid it altogether.

Why cybersecurity vendor sprawl may have seemed inevitable

Organizations looking to handle various use cases and threats often accumulate multiple tools over time, not realizing there are other options. However, an assembly of disparate security solutions lacks coherence. This means, it’s possible for a threat to be detected by several tools but remain unflagged simply because each detection lacks context.

Besides the ineffectiveness, these solutions also come at a cost, and acquisition expenses are only the beginning. Having a collection of point solutions can also put undue strain on an MSP’s operational costs. That’s because you’re forced to hire either:

  • multiple IT staff who each specialize on specific tools;
  • a smaller but more highly skilled team or individual (with understandably much higher rates) that can operate several tools; or
  • multiple vendors that can help you manage different components of your security stack.

Hiring the required talent alone presents a huge challenge because of the existing talent gap in cybersecurity. A recent study estimates the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs around the world at more than 4.07 million.

But what causes vendor sprawl in the first place? Is it something that can be avoided?

In the previous cybersecurity landscape, probably not. That landscape was plagued with a proliferation of various point security solutions, each designed to address a specific use case or threat. And because businesses are indeed faced with various use cases and threats, organizations had no choice but to purchase a point solution for one use case and continue doing so as each new use case came along.

What the industry lacked was an all-inclusive cybersecurity offering that consolidates best-of-breed security tools and addresses a broader range of threats and use cases. Today, however, it’s a different story. Cybersecurity platforms now exist that can do just that.

Before you go and start searching cybersecurity platforms, we recommend taking a look at these practical tips to combat vendor sprawl without breaking the bank.

Tip No. 1: Define your cybersecurity strategy

An IBM report states that enterprise businesses deploy an average of 45 cybersecurity-related tools to protect data and applications. That’s just too much. Too many security tools can cause alert fatigue. There HAS to be a better way, right?

In order to be more successful in your cybersecurity venture as an MSP, you need to be proactive and devise a strategy. To get started, use this cybersecurity and customer loyalty checklist to help you assess the current state of your cybersecurity. Next, create a simple spreadsheet that lists the security tools you’re using, their key features, and the environments they’re intended to protect. Go so far as to estimate how proficient you or your team are with using the capabilities for each point tool.

These two steps will start to paint a picture for you and give you an idea how close, or how far, you are from your cybersecurity goals. An honest assessment may reveal that you are only scratching the surface when it comes to unlocking each tool’s capabilities due to time, talent gaps, or other challenges.

If you choose to go even further, there are experts that can really dig into the details for your business. For example, Armor commissioned Forrester to do a study on four businesses using the Armor cybersecurity platform. They found that these organizations could reduce their total cost of ownership for security-related tools by as much as 64%, or as a present value of $862,000! That’s some significant cost savings from merely cutting vendors that offered redundant solutions.

Tip No. 2: Stay open for discussion

The cybersecurity vendor landscape is a crowded one. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to price, capability, and meeting specific use cases. This isn’t bad, but it’s also daunting. Each vendor claims to be better than the next one, and the lines of capabilities are certainly blurred, with new buzzwords such as XDR, Zero-Trust, etc. to consider for your MSP’s tech stack.

One of the main drivers for improving the outcomes for your business is simply understanding there’s room to do just that. Be open to the discussion. Taking the time to research additional vendors or meet with an expert in the space could have tremendous downstream impacts for how you do business.

The takeaway here is that you don’t need to overcomplicate things; you don’t need to have all the answers. While your time is limited, try to remain open to change and open to having conversations at tradeshows, events, consultants, and even vendors. Following Tip #1 first will put you in a good position for having these conversations down the road.

As you have these discussions, look for opportunities where you can improve efficiency. Are there platforms and/or partners that can provide most of the capabilities you are already using today? A cybersecurity platform that consolidates the capabilities of various point security tools, for instance, can reduce complexity and cost while improving efficiency in your cybersecurity endeavors. Exploring these opportunities can be one of the most impactful steps you can take toward combatting vendor sprawl.

Tip No. 3: Don’t rely solely on the tech

We’re all strapped for time. If you’re on your own and offering other IT services other than cybersecurity, you likely have too much on your plate, and aiming for top cybersecurity provider status may be a tall order.

Thankfully, there are people and companies that have dedicated themselves to the business of cybersecurity and are willing to do the heavy lifting for you—acting as an extension of your team and building trust with your customers.

Think beyond key features and technology. Partner with a cybersecurity solutions vendor that can also provide marketing, sales training, technical support, and other value-adds that help grow your business without you having to acquire additional headcount. With this approach, you can easily turn those aspirations of becoming the go-to MSP for cybersecurity in your target market into reality.

Schedule a demo with an Armor expert to discuss your current tech stack and possible areas for improvement. They’ll also offer expert advice on your overall strategy/approach when it comes to securing your customers from advanced threats, such as ransomware, malware, etc. Once the right strategy has been established, Armor can help you tackle the vendor sprawl challenge head-on by consolidating your existing cybersecurity arsenal into as few solutions as possible.

Learn how Armor can help you at www.armor.com.

Resource Center

More security resources at your fingertips.

Practical Content for Security, DevOps, & IT Professionals