Toolbox: Security ROI Calculators
Feeling their customers' pain, providers of information security software, hardware and services, from the simple to the extremely complex, are creating return on investment calculators.
By Derek Slater
April 01, 2003 — CSO — So many products, so little budget. That's the common refrain in today's tight economic conditions, in security and every other area of corporate spending.
Vendors to the rescue: Feeling their customers' pain, providers of information security software, hardware and services, from the simple to the extremely complex, are creating "return on investment calculators." That's a fancy designation for a spreadsheet that helps identify hard money payback for buying a given product.
Palisade Systems' PacketHound is a network management appliance that allows users to measure and (if desired) limit or block particular types of network traffic. So its ROI calculator helps identify the costs associated with "bandwidth-hogging applications" such as Napster-like music-swapping services. This is one of the simplest return on investment tools
At the same time, Palisade's materials prod CSOs and network managers to consider additional costs not covered by the ROI tool: liability, lost productivity and security exposures.
Another simple example of an ROI calculator promotes Kensington's MicroSaver cables for locking up laptops and desktop PCs, based on the cost of hardware theft or loss. Find the details at www.microsaver.com.
Radware's FireProof multifunction hardware device is a slightly more complex product, with a more elaborate ROI calculator to match. FireProof incorporates intrusion detection, denial-of-service protection, mail filtering and other security functions. The online ROI tool is accordingly broken into several different segments, including the costs of downtime, intrusion detection system deployment and application security. The URL is www.radware.com.
Lumeta offers a sophisticated ROI aid for its Discovery Suite network management tool at www.lumeta.com. Lumeta's software helps big companies with asset discovery and management; the calculator identifies eight areas for possible payback, including reduced risk of infosecurity breaches, server consolidation and reduced downtime.
And at the very high end of the complexity spectrum, there's the identity management study (and resulting total cost of ownership and ROI tools) from Gartner, commissioned by a set of identity and access management (IAM) vendors. IAM systems are an expensive enterprise sell
If that list doesn't satisfy the insatiable demand for ROI calculators, never fear
Read more about data protection in CSOonline's Data Protection section.
Other stories by Derek Slater