Last week I wrote about simplicity, the drive by some companies to scale back on a best-of-breed approach and build a more manageable, integrated IT architecture. Perhaps no one can appreciate that notion more than the chief security officer. And perhaps no one is less confident right now that it can actually happen.
As security has risen to the top of business-technology priority lists, security managers are having to deal with a clash of three forces--increased risk, limited budgets, and a market full of vendors with point products. This situation requires a heavy dose of thinking and decision making: What products to buy, how much to spend, how to integrate it all, where to cut costs, where to find more efficiencies, and how to ease the minds of the corporate board, customers, and shareholders that all of the data is safe and sound.
That, of course, is assuming security managers even know if it's really safe and sound. Consider this statement from a manager at a consumer-goods company: "We have so many security-management consoles, we can't keep up with all the information. We have firewalls that haven't been updated in months, and reams of security logs we haven't sifted through. I really couldn't tell you whether we've been hacked or not."
I don't think this person is necessarily unorganized or a bad manager. I think he's simply being honest about the complexity his organization is faced with in trying to secure the enterprise. The good news is that many security vendors are aware of the problem and are setting road maps to help their customers build integrated and more cost-effective solutions (see "Future Security"). But be warned--it's a long road to travel.