The Importance of Simplifying Security Operations

In 2021, data breaches increased by 69% compared to the previous year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Centre, one of the main causes was cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity teams are under more pressure than ever before to run airtight operations. And protecting business data, finances, and client information is becoming more taxing.

Received wisdom suggests that the best way to combat the growing onslaught of attacks is complexity. Surely, more complex security operations are more effective? The more vendors and products you use, the less likely it will be that your database can be infiltrated.

In actuality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Complex SecOps cause far more problems than they solve.

But can a single security service provide reliable enough protection? Yes, and simplicity is the key.

The Problem With Complexity

There is a negative correlation between the number of security products a business uses and its cybersecurity success.

A 2020 study run by Cisco measured the impact of security breaches. They asked over 2000 firms about their largest security breach of the last year. They analyzed the downtime experienced, records impacted, and financial impact.

They compared the results for how many vendors businesses used and the impact of the breach. In measuring downtime, they found that:

  • 61% of companies with only one vendor experienced four hours or less 
  • But only about 30% of companies with more than ten vendors experienced four hours or less 

To measure the records impacted, they asked whether more or less than 10,000 records had been affected. They found that:

  • 71% of companies with only one vendor had less than 10,000 records impacted
  • Only about 20% of companies with more than ten vendors had less than 10,000 records impacted

To measure the cost of the breach, they asked respondents whether the breach cost the firm more or less than $500,000. Results showed that:

  • The breach cost less than $500,000 for 84% of companies with only one vendor
  • The breach cost less than $500,000 for about 34% of companies with only one vendor

Clearly, using a simpler security setup provides stronger protection. But what is the issue with complexity, and why does it weaken security operations? 

Too Much Manpower

The global shortage of cybersecurity professionals is more than 2.7 million people. Whatever talent you can hire, you want them to use their time as efficiently as possible.

So why not let complex systems do all the work for them?

Because not only are complex systems more problematic, but they are also less cost-effective. Security teams using several products have to familiarize themselves with various systems and interfaces. That takes time and training. In other words, it’s expensive.

These multi-faceted setups also require more skilled talent to run.

Simple systems instead let you distribute your talent more effectively. Those who are less qualified can maintain the system. That leaves the more highly skilled personnel enough time and resources to address more complex issues.

More Room for Error

By 2023, Gartner predicts that 99% of firewall breaches will be caused by misconfiguration. 

Misconfiguration is a human problem. Simple oversights like entering the wrong letter in a line of code can completely change its meaning. These small mistakes can make systems vulnerable to attack.

Errors of this kind can cause problems even if an external threat doesn’t exploit them. London’s Heathrow Airport recently demonstrated the disruptive effects of system misconfiguration. In February 2020, more than 10,000 passengers had their flights canceled due to an IT error.

Clearly, complexity doesn’t equal strength. The more complex a system, the more likely those managing it will make mistakes.

Many interfaces for several products complicate matters further. Each product alerts analysts to different problems at different times. With no singular authority to fall back on, prioritizing becomes an issue.

On the other hand, a simple but strong security system has the lowest risk of human error. That in turn means there are fewer opportunities for attackers to exploit the system.

And when there are issues, the system communicates them clearly, and in order of priority. This leads to faster issue resolutions.

Higher Threat Dwell Times

With these more intricate systems setting off multiple alerts, reaction times are slower. Spotting the more dangerous problems is a slower, more hit-and-miss process. 

Issues can’t be resolved as quickly. Ultimately, that means attackers who are successful will infiltrate systems for a longer period of time and do more damage. This causes more data vulnerability.

How to Simplify Security Operations

Simplifying security operations doesn’t have to mean businesses use only one system. In fact, we designed our system to integrate well with other security tools.

If clients wish, they can manage several tools through our one platform. There is no need to lock into one exclusive vendor contract.

What actually matters is that the system itself is simple to use.

Simple systems are easy to manage and understand, even if they integrate two or three different products. This saves users precious time and money. But what makes a strong and simple system?

Integration with Other Systems

An effective security solution integrates well with other security operations used by the company. Seamless integration with day-to-day business processes reduces the mental load on analysts working with the systems. They’ll be less likely to make errors when they only need to be familiar with a singular interface.

When data is correlated into a “single pane of glass” system, it is faster to understand, run, and act upon. Companies don’t waste time endlessly training staff to use multiple systems. Instead, existing personnel’s productivity increases as they work with a single, manageable platform.

Process Automation

The more processes are automated, the simpler the system is to run. Fewer opportunities for human misconfiguration occur when tasks are automated. This makes each process less vulnerable to mistakes, thus exploitation.

One of the most common instances of security system misconfiguration is when a change to a firewall is being made. As strong as antivirus software is, it can come undone if altered incorrectly.

A simple security operation automates the change process. It also documents the change process, providing tracking and accountability.

That being said, automating every single security process isn’t the answer. Expert security teams exist for a reason – they do what automation cannot.  It’s the repetitive, low-risk, and simple tasks that benefit from being automated.

This security software automation allows cybersecurity teams to spend their time handling more crucial tasks. 

Cross-Department Communication

An effective security operation stays ahead of threats. It does so not just with threat intelligence and foresight, but by breaking down existing obstacles to the system’s effectiveness. One of the primary issues with security at multi-national companies is communication.

Security, IT, and Management siloes will only reduce the effectiveness of a system. If a system is simple to use and is well integrated, security becomes more transparent to everyone in the company. This encourages communication between departments.

At Visore for example, we provide a single platform that is intuitively designed for even those who work outside of tech to navigate easily. The system runs globally, setting a single set of rules across the board.

Security, IT, and Management teams can then collaborate on projects or issues with transparency and open communication. No matter where in the world they work, they can access the same data and make informed decisions.

Over time, attitudes trickle down through departments. This adds to one of the strongest security tools out there: security culture.

Creating a Culture of Security

Zero trust security models and trust verification have proven to be effective. However, they often frustrate those who use them, seeming unnecessary and tedious. Establishing a culture of security in the business can combat this.

Developing a culture of security takes more than a seminar about phishing emails. Educating your employees about zero-trust policies gets them on board. They’ll work to support cybersecurity teams, rather than growing frustrated with security policies.

Individuals will do more to contribute to a culture of security. No one wants to be the odd one out that got a virus on their computer. Staff will be more educated and proactive about avoiding attacks.

This reduces the load on the security team. They can spend their time focusing on taking preventative measures rather than putting out fires.

Four Benefits of Simplifying

Simplifying does not mean only one product can be used. It is common to want the antivirus software of one product and data compliance checks of another. The key is using a system that integrates all of your products into one interface.

It is a single port of call for all business security needs and information. It’s the strongest way to protect your business, for the following four reasons:

1. Faster Analysis

One of the issues with complexity is the length of time it takes to compile data. Using a platform like Visore to unify and manage your security products gets you results faster. It also keeps track of the precise function, spec, and security posture of every asset.

Our correlation engine can provide security answers in seconds. It compiles and analyzes data that would otherwise take days to collect. Then it presents the data in an understandable format.

That means all personnel, regardless of their skill level, can review and manage it.

Overall, this improves productivity. Rather than pouring all of their time into analysis, the system buys teams more time to act on the data.

2. Building a Bank of Organizational Memory

With such a shortage of workers in cybersecurity, turnover is increasing. US executives report an average cybersecurity staff turnover rate of 20% at the moment. With each staff member that leaves, their knowledge might leave along with them.

Having a method to store their knowledge, such as with specific hacking campaigns, would make the transition smoother. It would benefit others in security teams, allowing them to continue to develop. So even when someone leaves, your business won’t become vulnerable to attack.

Our single simple platform ensures all security data is stored in an accessible way. So workers’ specific experiences with certain threats are also kept for later reference. 

3. Reduce Misconfiguration with Simpler Automation

Viewing all security data on one heavily automated platform removes many opportunities for error. Even if misconfiguration is not exploited by hackers, it can cause horrendous disruption.

But when fewer tasks need to be handled manually, less human error occurs. Choosing simplified integration over complex system management reduces the risks of misconfiguration.

4. More Effective Use of Resources

A simpler SecOp provides data faster and is safer from human error. Therefore, companies will use their resources more effectively:

  • Every automated step saves time and resources and requires less training to manage
  • Data that is gathered and analyzed faster further saves time
  • Clearer communication and sharing of knowledge between departments saves time and resources

All of the time saved, particularly for more highly-trained personnel, saves money. This can then be invested in threat intelligence, analyzing malware and feeds. The ROI speaks for itself.

Streamline Your Security Processes Today!

Flaws with firewalls aren’t what cause security breaches. Human error does. Whether through misconfiguration, slow response times, or the confusion of multiple security platforms, complex systems are to blame.

Simplifying your business’ security operations will only strengthen it.

Visore’s all-in-one tool encourages communication and is understandable by all security personnel. Its automation buys your team more time to invest in the work that matters.

It also integrates with the tools you’re already using. You can transition to this system quickly, without downtime.

Get in touch today to see how we can transform your security operations.

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