Is Product integration working?
I just read a post by Mike Rothman where he is revisiting the "Big is the New Small" post he wrote oh so long ago (is it just me, or does 2 years in the blogging world seem more like 20?). Basically, it was all about the consolidation of the security market, which is still happening, as Mike points out.
But the little nugget that Mike points out but really doesn’t give enough time to is the integration issue. Mike says this:
There are many that cling to the "best of breed" myth. It’s even funnier when you think about folks positioning their offerings as "integrated best of breed," whether it happens on the perimeter or on the devices. Or even in security management. Integration/unification and best of breed are opposites. Oil and water. You get the picture. It just doesn’t happen.
I added the emphasis there because I think that is important. I have seen some of these bigger companies that have a centralized management platform (especially the end-point security companies) that have bought these different products and are still trying to integrate them all into that platform. Their vision is good as far as the concept goes. "Let’s put all of these products into a central management console that can provide all the information in a single spot." It makes their offerings attractive to the client if it worked. I think this is the reason a lot of people are going with some of these "bloated, unresponsive, lumbering vendors." Some of it may be that they don’t want to work with 5 different companies, but I think that happens more often in infrastructure types of products (DLP products, now mostly owned by bigger companies, still often sell as best of breed much of the time because they each have their own strengths).
What I see as something of a trend (though not long term because the consolidation will still happen) is that some of these shops will look at best of breed in some areas for a while because the integration they were sold has not been delivered. I really see some of these shops not wanting "good enough" because it isn’t close enough to actually being good enough. These products that should have been integrated and functioning smoothly by now are still struggling to get off the ground, and they are causing more management headaches.
I guess we’ll see. Some people may continue to struggle through and wait for the promise. But I see a lot of people getting aggravated, and they are being almost forced to make some changes in order to manage the problems.