Over the past several years of implementing cybersecurity solutions, we still encounter this decades-old and highly debated question from some of our clients: Which is better—a best-of-breed or all-in-one security solution—and why?
If we were in the 1990s, a best-of-breed strategy would likely prevail and win this debate (for reasons you can read through in this blog). But in today’s modern workplaces with hybrid workstyles, cloud-based technologies, bring your own device (BYOD), the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and a whole bunch of other new tech, it has completely changed the way organisations need to manage, administer, and protect their IT environment. Cyber attackers are also adapting and finding innovative ways to implement their techniques, increasing the complexity of how and where they host their campaign infrastructure, making their cyber-attacks harder to detect.
Both cybersecurity strategies have their own benefits and drawbacks, but we’re here to help you consider what is best for you.
The Best-of-Breed Security Solution Approach
Many organisations have gone down the path of best-of-breed strategy either because of a chosen approach or a unique need. With this approach, the company selects the best system in a specific category, performing specialised functions that suit the organisation’s identity, data, device, application, or network security needs.
PROS of best-of-breed security solutions:
- The specialisation of each security tool can provide the best protection in each category as it is designed to excel in a specific area, such as antivirus, firewall, or intrusion detection.
- Organisations can customise their security stack to their unique requirements, allowing for a more customised approach to security.
- Organisations have the flexibility to pick the best tools for their specific needs and adapt their cybersecurity strategy as those needs change over time.
- Using a variety of vendors reduces the risk of vendor lock-in, where an organisation becomes dependent on a single vendor's ecosystem.
CONS of best-of-breed security solutions
- Integrating multiple tools can lead to potential gaps in security coverage if not managed effectively. Overlooking these gaps can leave an organisation vulnerable.
- With multiple tools in a best-of-breed strategy, there is a lack of centralisation and unified visibility, making monitoring and responding to threats harder.
- Managing and integrating multiple security tools from different vendors can be complex and resource-intensive, leading to potential interoperability challenges.
- Best-of-breed solutions can be more expensive to purchase, integrate, and maintain, as organisations pay for each tool separately.
- Maintaining multiple tools requires a larger cybersecurity team and training for each tool, leading to increased operational overhead.
- And the kicker: when is best of breed no longer best of breed and can you afford to constantly play the game of leap frog to keep up with the latest and greatest knowing it is only likely to be on top in the market for a short period of time?
The All-in-One Security Solution Approach
On the other hand, the all-in-one strategy utilises an approach where a company uses a suite of integrated products from the same vendor. This allows organisations to gain better value from existing technological investments and enables efficient management and administration of these tools.
An example in this case is Microsoft, which has grown to be a leader in security solutions. Often, organisations already have access to licensing within Microsoft 365 to protect their IT environment and only need a small monthly cost step up to include it. Not only do they achieve a better cybersecurity outcome, but they also often reduce administration overhead and lower their annual spending on security software and services.
The pros and cons we cover in this blog consider an all-in-one security solution within Microsoft 365.
PROS of an all-in-one security solution:
- Microsoft 365 offers a centralised management console, providing a single pane of glass for monitoring and managing security across your organisation (Identity, Devices, Cloud Apps, and Data.) This simplifies administration and enhances visibility of both potential risks, and active threats. Any incidents and where they may have traversed (endpoint through to cloud) can be tracked easily in one admin portal, saving precious time in investigation and remediation.
- Various security components within Microsoft 365 are designed to work together seamlessly, reducing the complexity and challenges of integrating and managing multiple point solutions from different vendors. Having threat signals come through to a central dashboard for risky user logins, sensitive data policy breaches, use of risky cloud apps, potential ransomware activity and more, is invaluable to those in charge of your organisation's security posture. It is easier and faster to deploy the solutions within Microsoft 365 than integrating multiple tools, potentially saving time and resources.
- The integrated security solutions in Microsoft 365 for identity and access management, email protection, data loss prevention (DLP), information protection, threat protection, security score, mobile device management, cloud app security, and security compliance are cost-effective in terms of licensing, maintenance, and support. These security features and compliance and risk protection are bundled into various Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise plans.
- Microsoft R&D applied at scale will have an immediate impact on all your platforms. Take AI, for example, and the impact Microsoft Security Copilot will have on speeding up security-related administration and reporting. As Microsoft has visibility on end-to-end security infrastructure, imagine the evidence-based recommendations you will receive when asking Copilot “how can I improve my security posture?”. Or the simplified reporting, such as: “Hey Copilot, summarise the latest security incident in PowerPoint”.
CONS of an all-in-one security solution
- Some standalone or point solutions may offer features that are yet to be released by your single vendor provider (e.g. Microsoft).
- If the single vendor like Microsoft decides to remove security from their offering, then you would require a larger transition of service.
- Your organisation may be paying for security features you don't necessarily need.
In today’s business climate, where doing more with less is a recurring theme, the all-in-one security strategy argument makes a lot of sense. Microsoft 365 offers a wide range of security features designed to protect your organisation’s data, users, devices, and apps in a cost-effective manner.
Talk to a specialist at Professional Advantage about reviewing how easy it is to consolidate your cybersecurity vendors for a more effective and easier-to-administer cybersecurity platform.