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Demystifying Cybersecurity Platforms: What They Are and Why You Need One

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For decades, the way cybersecurity professionals used tools to protect their networks remained largely the same: they relied on point solutions. Whether for patch management, network security, threat hunting, or anything else, specialized tools were purchased from vendors to deal with specific risks.

But in the last couple of years, that’s started to change. Now, a growing number of IT departments, MSPs, and SOCs are turning to cybersecurity platforms – and leaving point solutions behind.

A cybersecurity platform can be transformative for any organization’s security operations. Here’s everything you need to know about cybersecurity platforms.

A cybersecurity platform is a consolidated and unified suite of security solutions supplied by a single vendor. From a central hub, IT professionals, security operations center (SOC) staff, or managed services providers (MSPs) get access to multiple security tools that work seamlessly together. Instead of purchasing separate tools from separate vendors, a cybersecurity platform gives the organization all the security tools they need in one place.

Rather than having to log into different point solutions each time you want to carry out a security task, a cybersecurity platform lets you do it all from a single hub.

In a 2024 interview, Heimdal’s Founder and Chairman, Morten Kjaersgaard, explained the concept with an analogy:

It’s like getting in your car if you had 10 different cars. Clearly, you’re only going to be using one or two of them per day. But if you have all those components of all those cars in one place you can get the maximum output. Imagine you when you wanted to convert your Rolls Royce to a BMW while driving on the road. That’s exactly the opportunity [of a cybersecurity platform].

Morten Kjaersgaard, Heimdal Founder and Chairman 

A true cybersecurity platform must provide certain core components, as well as a number of other important – but not strictly essential – features. 

To truly be considered a cybersecurity platform, a solution must offer: 

This is the core of a cybersecurity platform. All other solutions feed data into this dashboard to keep users informed. From the hub, users can directly access specific point solutions at the click of a button (without having to login to multiple environments). 

There’s minimal value in using a cybersecurity platform if commands and actions cannot be automated across all the sub-apps and tools. Fundamentally, a cybersecurity platform allows multiple security apps to work seamlessly together.

A cybersecurity platform must provide instant access to numerous point solutions so users can perform all (or at least the majority) of security tasks from one place. You should expect a platform to offer tools for all major tasks, including:

  • Vulnerability management
  • Incident response
  • Threat intelligence
  • Compliance

In addition to these core elements, some cybersecurity platforms provide extra features and properties which allow users to get more value from them.

AI and ML streamline processes, helping users make decisions faster, discover problems even quicker, and help analyze risks.

Some cybersecurity platforms aim to be exclusive – customers can only use the vendor’s solutions. Others allow you to include information and data from third-party point solutions (e.g. Microsoft Defender if you need.

Cybersecurity platforms provide organizations with multiple benefits. A 2024 research study in the International Journal of Information Technology, Research and Applications analyzed other academic studies and case reports to explore the effects of the platform approach.

In the article, the author explains:

The proliferation of standalone solutions often leads to inefficiencies, increased costs, and gaps in security coverage. It will lead to data silos, manual workarounds, and fragmented processes. The presence of data silos impedes smooth integration, resulting in challenges when attempting to access and utilize data across the entire organization. Cybersecurity platform consolidation emerges as a strategic approach to address these challenges (our emphasis).

Here are some of the key benefits of a cybersecurity platform, according to the academic research:

Related: Why MSPs Are Moving to the Cybersecurity Platform Model

A consultant at a European software company describes how using Heimdal’s cybersecurity platform benefits their business:

The combined power of DNS filtering, vulnerability management, antivirus, ransomware encryption protection, and privilege escalation and delegation management has formed a formidable defense against a range of threats… This newfound resilience provides us with peace of mind.

Read the full case study here.

The cybersecurity platform market is growing fast. How should you choose your solution? Here are some key considerations:

Does the cybersecurity platform integrate with all apps, operating systems and endpoints you use? Just as importantly, does it integrate with your work processes? For example, if your company mainly collaborates using email, then a solution offering email security is obviously essential (most cybersecurity platforms offer this). But what if you mainly collaborate on Slack? You’ll need a solution that can manage this too.

Does the cybersecurity platform align with your short and long term business goals? Today you might mainly be using Windows so choose a Windows-only platform. But what if you hire MacOS-dependent designers in future? Or what if you expand your headcount rapidly in multiple geographies? The platform needs to be able to fit around your changing business.

A potential drawback of cybersecurity platforms is that they push businesses towards vendor lock-in. Being overly-reliant on one platform could mean a company doesn’t have access to all the tools it needs. However, some cybersecurity platforms use APIs to connect with additional point solutions, allowing customers to extend their platform when required. 

Learn more: 11 Cybersecurity Platforms You Should Know About [2024]

This involves completely replacing all existing point solutions with a single platform in one fell swoop. 

Advantages: Clean, fast and most efficient

Disadvantages: Learning curve, employee pushback

Begin using one of the cybersecurity platform’s point solutions. Over time, start using additional apps as the need arises. 

Advantages: Easier learning curve, less disruption

Disadvantages: Less efficient, can get bogged down, may costs more initially if you continue using other point solutions

Besides the implementation process, it’s also vital to focus on adoption. Keep your security teams on board with education, discuss their concerns, and develop a plan collaboratively. 

At Heimdal, we’ve seen dozens of our customers successfully implement our Extended Detection and Response cybersecurity platform. Here are a few of the key challenges we see companies come up against – and how to respond to them. 

Many cybersecurity point solutions have strict contractual clauses which aim to restrict early exit. Where it’s not possible to leave contracts early, the ‘land and expand’ strategy described above is the next best option. 

Sometimes employees, end users or customers (if you’re an MSP) may be resistant to abandoning a preferred point solution. While it’s important to convince them of the benefits of a unified approach, this isn’t always possible. Again, this is why it’s so valuable to choose an open cybersecurity platform which allows you to connect with other point solutions.

Learning to use an entire new platform can be time consuming and challenging. At a minimum, the vendor should offer comprehensive training and support, plus ‘self-service’ documentation to resolve technical issues.

While the cybersecurity platform market is relatively young, it is growing fast. There are a number of trends we expect to emerge in the coming years:

Heimdal’s XDR is the world’s largest, most comprehensive cybersecurity platform. It offers a complete set of point solutions, which can be managed from a single, user-friendly dashboard. In addition to a wide variety of security tools, it also allows you to import data from third party point solutions via APIs.

It just works. We use Patch Management, E-mail Security and Remote Desktop modules from the Heimdal portfolio. All these products run through a single agent and consistently perform well.

G2 Review

We’re confident Heimdal XDR is the most comprehensive cybersecurity platform on the market. Here’s why:

Ready to begin your journey to a complete cybersecurity platform? Request a demo today.

Cristian Neagu

CONTENT EDITOR

Cristian is a Content Editor & Creator at Heimdal®, where he developed a deep understanding of the digital threat landscape. His style resonates with both technical and non-technical readers, proof being in his skill of communicating cybersecurity norms effectively, in an easy-to-understand manner.

Cybersecurity is a critical aspect of our digital world today. With the rise of cyber threats and attacks, it’s essential to stay protected. At our company, we offer a comprehensive suite of 11 cybersecurity solutions to address various security challenges. Our solutions are designed to safeguard your systems and data, providing you with peace of mind. Explore our offerings today to enhance your cybersecurity posture.

Innovative solutions for a better tomorrow.


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