How to Integrate Business Security Systems

When choosing a business security system, you don't want to leave anything to chance. In addition to having a system that gives you the best protection, you need it to be as easy to use as possible. The best solution is only as good as the users can apply it.

From these two factors, the debate of whether it's better to buy a multi-functional suite with all the features or separate technology for the different areas you need to guard arises.

All-in-One or standalone?
On one hand, you have a suite of tools that promises to detect intrusion, control access and do everything else your business needs. Additionally, you get to manage them centrally.

Unlike the alternative, where you have to deal with all these tools that don't configure well enough which makes it that much harder to manage your network, exposing you to both internal and external threats. Every weak point of connection between systems can be exploited by malicious people. It makes sense to pick a solution that eliminates these points and the need for configurations.

On the other hand, you have the power of specialization in your hands. You can pick different software from different vendors, depending on the specification. You're obviously likely to be more protected than the first guy who chose an all-in-one solution. You'll also probably end up spending more but when it comes to security, you'll be on top.

How to make sure your integrated system is well configured
It's not easy to configure the different technologies together. However, that's not to say businesses aren't trying to hand-pick the best security solutions and bring them to their environment.

According to Alcide's 2018 Report: The State of Securing Cloud Workload, most organizations are using hybrid and multi-cloud solutions. It found that 73% are reportedly configuring security policies manually, and 75% expect to increase security tools in 2019 which has the potential to lead to even more fragmentation in cloud stacks.

Your business probably has a range of security tools and all geared towards achieving the same objective. You're probably scanning for vulnerabilities and patching up systems using a vulnerability scanner, a firewall at the border and another system monitoring the network traffic. In some cases, you need security tools for more than just security.

For instance, for sharing files with family and team members, you might have invested in a VPN for torrenting specifically, protecting you from potential legal trouble, viruses, password managers and other tools which employees may have in their own devices also count as part of your “security detail”.

If you're like most businesses, these tools work independently only to be harmonized by cybersecurity analysts. Alcide's 2018 Report notes that 45% of organizations have a security team specifically for cloud solutions and 35% turn to DevOps and DevSecOps teams for the security tasks.

The report recommends investing in a single platform that gives them centralized control. An alternative approach to ensure you enjoy the premium functionality associated with standalone technologies while boosting efficiency is creating an integrated network that allows the tools to work together seamlessly, minimizing human intervention.

Here are five actions you can take to ensure your security systems are well integrated:

1. Centralize the logging and monitoring of the systems
This is the first step towards proper business security management. Since you need comprehensive analysis of the logs created by your security systems, you want to have a centralized system.

Check to see that your Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution is well integrated into the environment and operating at maximum efficiency. 

2. Test code security before deployment
You might not realize that some security vulnerabilities are created during code deployment. To avoid these vulnerabilities, developers can automatically test the code as they check for functionality. Code that doesn't meet baseline security standards is blocked from deployment.

3. Equip your firewall with threat intelligence
Threat intelligence works by collecting data about your business's adversaries and sharing this information to keep you prepared and protected.

Typically, threat intelligence will also enable an automated feed of familiar malicious IP addresses. You can feed this information to your firewall so they are detected and blocked before they can even try to access your environment.

4. Integrate your vulnerability scanner with ticketing
Scanning for vulnerabilities in the system is one of the most important exercises and no one knows the amount of work involved better than developers, engineers and managers.

The security team handles the configuration and scanning, but often the issues that arise from these exercises have to pass through the owner who then distributes the tasks. Creating a link between your vulnerability scanner and service ticketing system lets you automatically open and assign new tickets as well as monitor resolved issues.

5. Integrate the cloud with the ground
As you adopt more cloud solutions, make sure that you're integrating the new environments with your existing tools. Most organizations use cloud infrastructure security monitoring tools to keep an eye over their cloud environment. Once these are configured, integrate them into your SIEM to maintain centralized monitoring.

The debate of whether to choose a multi-functional suite or select specific technologies doesn't end here. For business owners that would like better protection as well as control over what gets protected, building a system of different integrated technologies would be the obvious choice. The job will be upon them to ensure these tools work harmoniously within the environment with minimal human intervention.

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