Greater innovation comes with a cost: increased IT complexity

Digital transformation has changed how businesses operate, making them more agile and responsive to the markets they serve. But this transformation has come at a cost: a rambling web of software tools and applications, cloud infrastructures, and decentralized application services. And this complexity presents a big challenge to IT teams.

In tandem with digital transformation initiatives has been the rise of the remote workforce, making traditional network perimeters a thing of the past. Many IT resources now operate outside the corporate firewall and are vulnerable to cyber threats of all kinds. The result? A much larger and more varied attack surface.

Tackling complexity and the security risks it presents

As complexity has taken hold, IT organizations have armed themselves with a litany of best-of-breed tools to tackle their most pressing security challenges. A Forrester survey found that on average, organizations today use 20 or more tools from more than 10 vendors to secure and operate their environment. Many large enterprises use upwards of 40 to 50 tools — all best-of-breed point solutions. This is tool proliferation in the extreme.

A best-of-breed approach works — if it delivers the results an organization is looking for. However, when organizations suffer from outage after outage and critical vulnerabilities and patches go unresolved for months, the merits of a best-of-breed approach come into question.

Many CIOs believe the sheer number of tools in their organization limits — not enhances — the effectiveness of security and IT operations. But for most security teams, the best-of-breed approach has been the only option available.

The tyranny of best of breed

Twenty years ago, IT management solutions came as legacy platforms. They provided unified functionality, and their architectures for monitoring and acting on the environment worked under the relatively limited requirements of that era.

However, around 15 years ago, rapid changes in computing (advanced threats, increasing scale, IaaS, virtualization, remote work, cloud) drove requirements in functionality and coverage those platforms could not adequately deliver.

Enter the best-of-breed approach. Enterprises were forced to start buying point solutions to address the gaps, and every nuanced need, every new desired feature, and every response to changes in the environment bred its own tool requirement with several vendor options.

But best of breed has several drawbacks. Each tool offers different visibility and different data. Tools are often expensive to deploy, learn, and upgrade. They’re often not extensible to accommodate changes over time, so they have short shelf lives.

Tool consolidation — the return of the platform approach

To address tool proliferation, IT leaders need to step back, set all their tools and biases aside for a moment, and perform a tool audit:

Identify the results and capabilities your organization needs to deliver regardless of tools and technology.

Go through each tool individually and catalog the capabilities it provides.

Create a Venn diagram to see where overlap exists between these tools. The overlaps are your opportunities for consolidation.

This audit will help inventory your current state and start the process of tool consolidation via a platform approach.

With unified security operations platform, CIOs, CISOs, and CTOs can:

Monitor and optimize software needs to reduce unnecessary spending.

Eliminate legacy solutions and reduce unnecessary point tools and the infrastructure required to support them.

Unify endpoint management and security onto a single console.

Rally your IT teams around instant, accurate, and actionable data to maximize efficiency and minimize risk.

Proactively monitor and resolve end-user performance issues to lessen the burden on IT support resources.

Reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and the number of tickets to improve workplace productivity.

Improve IT decision-making around critical software change initiatives.

Smartly manage hardware lifecycles using historical data to assess the need for hardware refreshes.

Looking ahead

Remote work trends are here to stay. The need to manage and secure all types of endpoints (in and out of network) will only increase. So, it’s clear that with a distributed workforce, IT teams will continue managing and protecting endpoints physically outside corporate firewalls. A converged platform that yields visibility, control, and trustworthy data to IT teams will only grow more critical in a hybrid work environment.

A converged platform can deliver measurable results, such as

Reclaiming assets, eliminating point tools, and modernizing IT to reduce costs.

Increasing team efficiency by offering an accurate set of data and tools to boost performance and improve decision-making.

Gaining greater visibility and control across teams to mitigate potential IT outages and their associated costs.

Learn more about the benefits of Tanium’s Converged Endpoint Management (XEM) platform and the cost savings it can bring to your organization by signing up for a Tanium ROI report.