3 reasons why technology integration is important

As John Donne once wrote, “No man is an entire island unto himself.” As digitization spans all distances, the same logic could be applied to technology.

Threat actors have vast underground forums to share intelligence, while security professionals keep a low profile in many data breach cases. Much like how a vaccine can help stop the spread of infectious diseases, sharing threat intelligence and defense strategies can help build a safer future for all.

So what is the answer? Partnerships. Some of the largest and most successful companies in the world take advantage of technologies developed by other companies. This way, they can provide their customers with a quick return on investment, as well as the resources to improve their core offerings.

Current state of affairs

According to a recent ESG study, 80% of organizations use more than 10 data sources in their security operations. More than half (52%) believe that their security operations environment has become more difficult to manage over the past two years. The growing number of disparate tools and the volume of data they produce overwhelms security operations center (SOC) managers. Not only does it make it more difficult for security analysts to respond well to threats, but it also affects team morale.

A study by the Information Systems Security Association found that 83% of 280 security professionals surveyed want vendors to build open standards into their products to enable interoperability.

Taking on internal research and development (R&D) burdens through strategic technology partnerships is nothing new. Before we dive into some of the specific reasons technology integration matters, let’s cover the basics.

What is integration?

The integration allows applications and systems that were designed separately to work together, resulting in new capabilities and efficiencies that reduce costs, discover insights, and more.

When done correctly, seamless integration allows a user to receive real-time priority data from a variety of sources. For example, a recent update to IBM’s Qradar and Zscaler allows users to monitor suspicious behavior and automate policy updates to eliminate threats in near real-time.

IBM QRadar’s integration with ZScaler allows users to collect web and firewall logs directly into QRadar. By routing internet traffic to ZScaler Cloud Firewall, customers can inspect all user traffic for malicious intent and malicious actors. It’s a truly modern way to secure internet traffic, offering unlimited scalability and performance, without the cost and maintenance complexity of traditional firewalls. Add to that QRadar’s advanced threat detection and correlation capabilities, and it delivers unparalleled security value. Alerts generated from ZScaler Cloud Firewall can now be ingested directly into QRadar using the HTTPS protocol, which means information about various threats such as malicious IP addresses and rogue sites can be sent to QRadar by real-time to leverage its correlation capabilities and detect threats across the organization’s network.

Regardless of the approach, point-to-point or using a core network element, organizations often use a combination of different integration capabilities. For example, a portal where customers place orders or view their accounts uses a combination of application programming interface (API) management, database integration, application interfaces, and associated steps in a cash prospecting process.

Why integration is important

Ensuring the proper functioning of key systems and applications is essential. There is no shortage of cybersecurity technology vendors. This is why companies need to synchronize security tools in their technology stack. Security workers want more collaboration with industry. To stay competitive, vendors that support open standards for technology integrations are most likely to succeed.

Addressing SecOps Challenges

Innovations speed up business, but what about security? Most companies have been reactive, rather than proactive, in resolving new emerging security vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, threat actors, unbound by policies or rules, are using new tools like machine learning. Ancient SOCs fight against these advanced attack techniques. In addition, the global shortage of skilled workers and the slow deployment of security operations (SecOps) tools persist.

Some of the most common SecOps challenges that arise from legacy SOC environments include:

  • Low visibility and context
  • Surveys that are too complex
  • An overwhelming volume of low fidelity alerts created by security checks
  • Disjoint systems
  • Predominance of manual processes.

So how can technology integration address these challenges?

Simplify the SecOps environment

Of course, new technologies aim to facilitate our work. When you use a cloud or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, you expect to complete your work with less time, effort, resources, and cost, not the other way around.

A SOC using multiple tools that don’t speak to each other properly adds to the so-called swivel chair syndrome. Using a solution that allows you to integrate your existing technology stack is all about removing cost, resource, and risk barriers.

Gather scattered data

With an integrated technology stack, data correlation is done more efficiently. At best, it happens in a simple to use interface. It aggregates, processes and correlates large amounts of data for in-depth investigations, all in one place. This may require a trade-off between usability and data organization. Yet, it is an essential component of a platform to organize data from multiple sources without compromising its quality.

Helping with the global labor shortage

The lack of cybersecurity talent has started to take its toll. Having fewer trained workers makes the already difficult task of managing cybersecurity risks even more difficult. Additionally, having a number of tools that are not interoperable frustrates analysts and makes them more likely to burn out or want to change jobs, which affects the company’s ability to retain talent.

Is your security team spending too much time getting software to work the way it wants instead of leveraging solutions? Technology integrations offer a lifeline when it comes to filling skill gaps and talent shortages.

Integration: everything works together

In many industries, superior technology integration is the key to productivity and speed. It transforms the way a company can select and refine a new product, process or service. If a company chooses technologies that don’t work well together, it can end up with a product that isn’t market-ready. Effective technology integration begins in the early phases of the R&D project and informs a roadmap for design, engineering, and production.

No security tool or concept has as much impact on the security industry as collaboration. Organizations capable of developing and maintaining technology ecosystems as well as digital agility will quickly adapt to change. This way they will find the path to success for themselves and their clients.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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