A ship with two captains sinks. This phrase conveys a simple message: one single source of authority ensures efficiency. In cybersecurity, vulnerabilities are created when there are many independent security tools without a system to manage them.

Governments often adopt multiple cybersecurity partners to protect their systems. While this may appear to be extra-secure, uncoordinated security can actually create gaps that hackers exploit.

Wong Ching Ping, Senior Business Development Manager, SEAHK at Fortinet explains how open ecosystem approach will allow cyberdefense tools to work together rather than get in each other’s way.

Bloated and stretched security

Working with multiple cybersecurity vendors within a single organisation can cause two issues, Wong identifies. Firstly, a lack of coordination across these security tools can actually create new vulnerabilities.

Legacy security systems are not aware of other surrounding tools, opening up vulnerabilities as they would be unaware if a breach has occurred within the network.

Secondly, security systems can become bloated and inefficient. Studies have shown that enterprises have an average of 75 security products in use, says Wong. This creates unnecessary complexity for staff.

Security teams may also find adopting new security tools difficult and prone to errors. This would add additional costs to purchasing and operating the technology, he explains.

These challenges come at a time where the IT industry is facing shortages in staff and expertise. To protect the entire IT system, a different approach needs to be put in place, says Wong.

Enabling collaboration

An open ecosystem approach breaks down the information siloes that legacy systems create, allowing them to communicate with one another, Wong highlights.

Different security tools can then share threat intelligence, coordinate detection methods, and enforce policies in a consistent manner across the network. Integrating these tools also enables automatic updates and responses to be made across the organisation’s systems.

This integration helps security teams to gain better visibility across the network through the various security tools that have been adopted. This helps them create a more effective response to threats and also reduces the burden of installing manual updates, he adds.

Greater use of automation is another advantage of the open ecosystem approach. Automated programmes help existing security tools adapt and respond to cyberthreats as a connected team.

Leaving simple tasks to an automated bot “eliminates routine manual steps and errors”, reducing the impact of talent shortages in IT security staff, explains Wong.

Boosting the wider security network

Open ecosystems can protect entry points such as mobile devices, and secures the paths that connect these devices, like the cloud.

They can synchronise threat response across endpoint security, network security and other security systems in place. This helps block a device from gaining access to a network when a threat is detected, Wong gives as one example.

Fortinet’s open ecosystem approach provides broader visibility, integrated threat detection and automated response, making it easier and faster to integrate new tools into the network, he emphasises. It brings together the community of technology partners to enable complementary, rather than contradictory, security.

Pre-integrated security tools are one benefit of this community. Having this already-coordinated technology means adopting Fortinet’s security is fast and not demanding on resources, Wong says.

“Open ecosystems are the future for all IT organisations,” predicts Wong. Governments and organisations will continue to adopt multiple security tools within their organisation, but they’ll need the right approach to ensure they work together.