What to look for when procuring IT security solutions

There are two sides to IT security procurement.

On one hand, enterprises should look for software capable of detecting malicious behavior, identifying and patching vulnerabilities, setting strong network access permissions and dismantling malware. In conjunction with this necessity, organizations should seek talented professionals capable of combating cybercriminal activity.

It's important for companies and public authorities to regard these two facets not as separate priorities, but as one cohesive solution. Software compliments the capabilities of IT administrators and vice versa. This approach is conducive to strategic sourcing practices, which obligate purchasing officers to regard the needs of each facet of an organization holistically.

Data analytics tools as security assets

For those who follow the IT industry, you've probably come across big data analytics at some point. The technology's use cases are quite diverse, ranging from predictive maintenance to demand forecasting, so why can't the same engines be leveraged as a part of security solutions?

One company based out of Framingham, Massachusetts, is working to bring data analysis into security platforms. According to CRN, Prelert has developed a scrutiny program capable of assessing information across various systems such as Hadoop, Plunk and other repositories to detect anomalies that can potentially threaten businesses.

The company isn't stopping there. CRN noted that Prelert is taking several measures to further perfect its software.

  • The developer recently unveiled a second wave of investment funding to support its engineering and sales departments.
  • Prelert is recruiting personnel possessing experience in professional services and managed IT protection solutions.
  • Although Prelert's technology is already compatible with nearly 110 vendor-driven applications, it is looking to expand its portfolio by establishing more partnerships.

The value in Prelert's technology is its ability to scrutinize and validate terabytes of data in a single minute - not to mention the fact that its applications are also quite broad. For instance, a bank could use Prelert's engine to peruse transaction information to detect fraud.

The talent to run it

In regard to acquiring professionals needed to conduct intricate security tasks on a consistent basis, organizations have two options.

  1. Connect with soon-to-be-graduates, established workers and others with cybersecurity experience or credentials to formulate in-house teams entirely dedicated to protecting systems, software, databases and networks. This requires an extensive vetting and testing process, but the results will be well worth the effort.
  2. Contract third-party managed IT services possessing staff who are knowledgeable of the latest cybercriminal tactics. Optimal companies specializing in this field should provide 24/7/365 support remotely and on-premise.

While the choice between the two depends on the priorities of different companies, it's generally best if enterprises elect to develop in-house security teams that function as sub-sets of IT departments. Why? Because nobody knows an organization's IT requirements and use cases better than internal teams. Sure, hiring an extra set of eyes can't hurt, but relying on them to provide comprehensive security isn't going to cut it.

Still, finding professionals to comprise these teams isn't going to be easy. Cisco's 2014 Annual Security Report noted that most organizations do not possess the human resources needed to monitor their networks and systems on a consistent basis, nor can these entities determine how the assets are being infiltrated. Worst of all, a shortage of more than 1 million security experts persists throughout the IT industry.

To mitigate this issue, enterprises should strongly consider putting existing IT personnel through extensive training courses to familiarize those possessing antiquated skill sets with top-of-the-line security techniques. Although CIOs may be wary of allocating a portion of the budget to support this investment, the return will consist of long-term benefits.

In general, the IT security landscape will demand more of specialists working in this field. Organizations must arm them with the means to satisfy these needs.

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