Cyber Resilience

How to Choose the Best Cybersecurity Vendor

As organizations build towards a Zero Trust security architecture, many are searching for the right technologies to help. But with so many vendors promising the perfect security solution, navigating the choices can be overwhelming.  

The urgency – and confusion – of searching for the right cybersecurity solution can leave organizations stymied.

We sat down with Illumio’s Raghu Nandakumara, Senior Director of Industry Solutions Marketing, to explore the essential factors teams need to consider when choosing a cybersecurity vendor, including the questions to ask and the pitfalls to avoid.

What should procurement teams ask vendors to ensure the best fit for their organization's needs?

Procurement teams are often focused on cost reduction, but two crucial questions should guide their vendor selection process.

  • How are you going to help me solve my problem? It’s essential to clearly articulate the specific problem your organization aims to address with a security solution. Without a clear problem statement, it becomes challenging for you and the vendor to assess whether a solution aligns with your needs.
  • How am I going to be able to measure your success? An outcome-focused approach demands measurable results. Security procurement teams must have clear metrics in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution – and expect vendors to demonstrate how their solution will achieve those goals.

What factors should be considered when investing in new technology?

The primary consideration should always be the technology's ability to deliver measurable security benefits and reduce risk. To assess this, organizations need to evaluate the impact of the technology on people, processes, and the overall technology stack.  

Key questions to ask include:

  • Will this capability significantly reduce or mitigate an existing risk?
  • Does it complement the existing security toolset or require replacing anything?
  • Will it add complexity to the environment or increase operational overheads?
  • When can we expect to see a return on our investment?

What vetting methods should businesses employ when evaluating security vendors?

Proof of concept is a critical step before committing to a security vendor. This allows businesses to test the vendor's capabilities and determine if they align with their requirements.  

However, it's important to note that proof of concept may not cover all possible scenarios. To gain a comprehensive understanding, additional testing methods such as red team exercises and tabletop threat modeling should be conducted.  

What are common mistakes businesses make when choosing a security provider?

The most significant mistake is focusing solely on the immediate, day-one problem without considering the long-term feasibility within the organization.  

Organizations must evaluate how the chosen solution will integrate into their operational processes and broader security stack in the long run. This requires a holistic approach and considering the product's manageability once it becomes part of standard operations.

How should businesses judge the actual value of a vendor's unique selling proposition (USP), especially for innovative solutions or solutions to new cyber threats?

The value of a USP depends on the organization's objective and how the solution contributes to achieving security goals. For instance, if the objective is to replace outdated technology, cost might be the primary factor. However, when introducing a new capability or security improvement, value should be linked to how the technology enhances overall security outcomes.

How can teams cut through cybersecurity buzzwords and scrutinize lofty promises?

To cut through cybersecurity buzzwords and assess vendor claims effectively, organizations should focus on outcome-based conversations. Instead of being swayed by marketing jargon, they should seek vendors that provide independent evidence and real-life testing results from third-party agencies like Bishop Fox to back up their promises. Transparency and the ability to validate results build trust and ensure vendors' solutions align with their actual needs.

Making the right vendor selection is critical to achieving a robust security posture and building a Zero Trust strategy. By considering the factors in this post and asking the right questions, organizations can navigate the complex vendor landscape with confidence and find the cybersecurity partner that best aligns with their goals and objectives. Cybersecurity isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and a well-informed decision today can lead to a more secure and resilient organization in the future.

Learn more about what cybersecurity technologies your organization needs for Zero Trust. Contact us today.

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