The future of corporate cyber security is all-in-one

F-Secure’s 2020 market survey found that companies have an average of 3.3 different cyber security brands in use at one time. For larger companies this figure is likely a very conservative estimate. At the same time, 82% of companies surveyed said they wanted an all-in-one cyber security solution. There is a clear mismatch here and part of the problem is that all-in-one security is hard to do, and even harder to do well.

As the threat landscape has grown more complex, companies have added layers to their defense. But in most cases each addition has been carried out as a separate exercise, leading to a proliferation of brands within in each organization. 

There was a logic to this way of acquiring protection, but it will not last in the modern business landscape for five key reasons:

  • It’s inefficient to manage As the number of threats proliferates, the number of solutions required grows at the same rate. At some point it becomes untenable and inefficient to manage all these separate point solutions.
  • All-in-one solutions are now best-in-class The old saying that a “jack of all trades is a master of none” is not true anymore. Of course, there will still be niche scenarios where a specialist provider is necessary, but for the most common business needs it is now possible to get the highest level of security from a single brand and a single provider, across a range of solution types.
  • Automatic data sharing Sophisticated all-in-one solutions will share data across the different components. This means that the more modules you add from within the all-in-one offering, the better and more efficiently it will function. Siloed solutions will require complex and costly integration projects to get the same functionality and likely still require manual oversight.
  • Weaker situational awareness Siloed solutions mean your IT staff have to monitor several different consoles and may not connect the dots when incidents are flagged on separate platforms. All-in-one solutions give better situational security awareness, because everything is presented in one portal. This means it’s easier to respond to incidents more quickly.
  • There’s a higher threshold for adding new solutions With an all-in-one solution, it is easy to add more modules as your needs evolve. As long as you have confidence in your existing provider, you don’t need to go through the entire exercise of researching which brand suits you best and how to integrate it with what you currently have.

Roadblocks

These are some of the reasons that we at F-Secure believe that all-in-one solutions are the future. However, it is fair to say there is still work to do.

The main reason that companies have been slow to adopt all-in-one solutions is that cyber security developers have been slow to provide them. Because most companies built their name specializing on a specific product or service, they have tended to move towards all-in-one solutions by tacking on additions to that.

These kind of hybrid solutions have not always been best-in-class. Without naming any names, we have seen companies that specialize in EDR tacking on vulnerability management functionality which we would not consider high quality.

Even now there is a lack of truly complete solutions. In fact, we believe that F-Secure Elements is the first all-in-one solution to provide the full suite of best-in-class components for EPP, EDR, Vulnerability and Patch Management and collaboration protection.

F-Secure Elements: Solutions diagram

Figure 1: F-Secure Elements Solutions

Our solution

When we started planning Elements, we really wanted to make sure that it addressed the roadblocks listed above, and took full advantage of all the benefits that the latest technology affords to all-in-one security.

The overarching theme was that we wanted to simplify the offering for end users and partners, while increasing the level of security and flexibility. Here is a list of some the key features we introduced with this aim in mind:

  • Better together We structure the entire project around the idea that our solutions should work better together. This means sharing the same data models, the same idea of a user, the same idea of an organization. This is absolutely paramount to have in place for an all-in-one solution and is the basis of many of the secondary benefits.
  • One interface A key secondary benefit of all the solutions being so interconnected is that a single management interface is easy to achieve. This helps a lot with deployment, daily operations and management and shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • Easy integration Despite our strong belief that all-in-one is the future, we live in the real world and realize that our partners will continue to use other solutions from other brands. That’s why we made it easy to get all Elements solutions into your master console through a single integration.
  • Instant updates and upgrades We’ve made sure that adding solutions or services requires minimal resources. Deployment is extremely quick and easy and will instantly improve security posture and our solutions will stay automatically up to date.
  • Flexible billing models The simplicity of deployment is enhanced by our introduction of a usage-based security model. There is no need to send a new order form to add additional modules, it’s just configured in the management console and automatically added to your monthly bill.
  • Ready for expansion Elements was built with the idea that additional solutions could easily be added as and when the threat landscape demands it. We can’t disclose the specifics of any plans at this stage, but watch this space!

The modular nature of F-Secure Elements means the core components of it should be widely accessible to companies of all sizes. This is important to us, because SMEs are increasingly under attack.

The advancement in technology which allows us to provide better, more affordable solutions unfortunately also means that attackers can more efficiently zero in on a wider range of targets.

This is why EDR is now an essential product for everyone, and in two years’ time there could be a new product that is a must have. An all-in-one solution like Elements is able to evolve at the same pace, which is why we think it is the future of cyber security.