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For organizations that are already worried about their cybersecurity incident response preparation, the accelerated pace of migration to the cloud brings on new and unique challenges in preventing data loss. In an attempt to close these security gaps and improve data security, organizations spend on the latest cybersecurity tools.

So, it’s no wonder that global spending on these products hit the $60 billion mark this year. Increased spending clearly shows that organizations are more than willing to spend whatever it takes to avoid cybersecurity risks, data breaches, and other related threats.

While spending money on cyber detection and response is smart, there can be too much of a good thing. That’s because it can result in significant security challenges and overburden IT teams. These existing challenges were made evident by the fact that there were 51 million breaches in October 2021 alone. Increased spending does not warrant secure operating systems and cloud storage. 

Deploying multiple tools to manage cyber risk isn’t a reliable solution for a chief information security officer to successfully manage data security. Instead of providing extra protection, the tools have become unmanageable and are challenging to operate as the system sprawls.

Moreover, hundreds of different security applications gain access to private information. And as they lack proper security, the risk of breaching is also high. Security managers who don’t take this situation seriously neglect their responsibilities, expose enterprises to significant security risks, and ineffectively manage data sprawl. Apart from creating large security gaps, it strains the entire team and decreases productivity.

Therefore, companies need to be more vigilant in checking and regulating their security technology.

Role of Identity in Security Sprawl and Cybersecurity

Using multiple security applications results in identity sprawl. When a company uses siloed systems to manage its security risks without synchronizing them all, it creates a different identity for each application user. Few applications do not connect with the central server, forcing organizations to manage multiple identities.

Many organizations using cloud services have to suffer through various identity management. Organizations need to resolve identity sprawl issues to strengthen their cybersecurity and maximize security alerts. As every identity requires different credentials and passwords, it is impossible to keep track of them. Therefore, companies use the same passwords and account credentials for every application, pushing them to credential-stuffing.

If a company’s one application is targeted and breached, the attackers will gain access to the rest of the security applications and then sell this information on the dark web. From here, threats snowball, leaving the organization vulnerable to considerable brute force and hybrid attacks.

Effect of Product Sprawl on Cybersecurity

Product sprawl occurs when organizations acquire a wide range of products or applications. As the number of products keeps rising, the IT team has more difficulty managing and operating every product to its full potential. 

Product sprawl occurs slowly with time as they get increasingly siloed. Therefore, organizations don’t feel the repercussion till it’s too late. An average organization uses 11 to 30 security monitoring products which might increase with time. 

Siloed products no longer work efficiently and turn unscalable, lowering threat response time and leaving the organization vulnerable to identifying attacks to manage them on time.

Moreover, team members can also install security solutions without department head approval, and it may go unnoticed for a long time as this software operates in the background. As these are not protected with solid firewalls, hackers may use them to breach the company’s network to steal information or install malware. In a company with 10,000 employees or more, this problem of individual team members installing their own security solutions will begin to snowball and increase the attack surface for cyber incidents.

Effect of Tool Sprawl on Cybersecurity Team 

Product sprawl wastes many resources as the IT teams have to work overboard in software maintenance and individually train every employee to use all security products. It also wastes valuable time finding, opening, navigating, obtaining vital information, and switching between multiple products.

Product sprawl negatively affects individual and team productivity. When the teams have to operate numerous applications, it reduces the opportunity to work together and stay on the same page. Moreover, the transition from existing tools also becomes impossible as it requires training sessions to get them up to speed with every software.

Difference between Tool Sprawl and Product Sprawl

Cybersecurity tool sprawl and product sprawl are different names of a similar phenomenon. Tool or product sprawl occurs when organizations invest in too many applications. Then, after some time, it starts costing them more money, time, and resources.

What Is Data Sprawl?

Data sprawl is the mismanagement of the enormous amounts of data produced by a business every day. As security teams start to use various security software, filing, managing, and storing this data becomes difficult, sending companies in data sprawl.

Data sprawl is not only dangerous for companies, but it also has adverse consequences on employees. 

Moreover, as product sprawl ultimately lowers the absolute security of the company, hackers can destroy firewalls and steal employee information. Additionally, employee information can get siloed and duplicated across multiple systems, leaving it vulnerable to theft.

Modern Risk Management of Security Sprawl

In modern security sprawl risk management, security regulating authorities check security operations tools before deploying them on servers. They analyze all the crucial components of new tools such as network, identities, user info, geographical access, etc.

They also set a regular evaluation schedule to check for unauthorized applications and integrate various security monitoring tools. It is easier to operate all products from one platform when all products are unified.

If the companies fail in risk management, security sprawl can reduce their overall productivity and increase the risk of personal data theft.

Future of Security Sprawl Risk Management

Data, tool, product sprawl all have one thing in common and that is the ineffective usage of multiple tools that do not support each other. These inconsistencies create gaps in an enterprise’s security strategy and deplete team resources and time. Managing these different applications can become burdensome with teams unable to even utilize these applications to their full potential. 

These segmented tools create inconsistencies similar to the siloed approach of GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) management. Exchanging silos for integration can help companies break free of this segmented mindset and avoid sprawl. Integrated risk management (IRM) is a holistic approach that centers on taking a risk-centric approach to information security. 

IRM is a set of practices and processes supported by technologies that improve security decision-making and visibility into an organization’s security and risk posture. By standardizing and centralizing security tools, applications, and practices companies can avoid the snowball effect of sprawl.

In Conclusion

Using multiple security tools does not provide more security if you cannot monitor and regularize them for threats. Therefore, instead of quantity, you should focus on the quality of your security system. An integrated platform like CyberStrong can help you centralize and standardize your data sources with comprehensive risk insights for improved risk management.

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