Security platform or best of breed? There’s only one answer

How limited resources and the software as a service (SaaS) sales culture force security professionals into a best of breed strategy for infrastructure.


In the debate over an all-in-one cyber security platform versus best of breed solutions, there’s only one answer: best of breed. The questions are: How many tools can you afford, and is the software in your stack designed for security?

Traditionally, best of breed means buying multiple security programs, each a separate tool that’s best at the individual problem it solves. For example, you might use Forum Systems to secure your API gateway, Splunk for log correlation, and Okta to manage who accesses what data when. Each vendor brings something different to your stack, leaving IT to piece the platforms together like a Jenga tower, hoping there are no holes in the plan to keep company data safe.

The alternative to best of breed is to buy or build an inclusive, all-in-one platform, but no single software, whether you call it all-in-one or not, can really keep all company data safe. Why? Culture and money.

The trouble with all-in-one security platforms

Michael Cook, a senior security consultant at Indianapolis-based advisory Pondurance, says all-in-one platforms are generally made up of “about 15 applications or modules around that platform.” Each module addresses a different need, such as securing that API gateway. Cook cautions that not every module is equally strong and that with a single platform you risk a Jack of all trades, master of none scenario.

Say, for example, the platform you use offers gateway security but isn’t great at it. Good luck getting management to approve a Forum Systems purchase. “When you’re using a platform versus best of breed, if there’s something you don’t like in one of the modules in the platform you’re kind of, ‘Well, we’ve gotta use it because we bought the whole thing,’” he says.

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