In enterprise cyber security, every vendor yearns to be a so-called platform vendor – one that sells all the software an organisation needs.
Fostering such an all-inclusive perception not only serves to bolster the public stature of the vendor, but also expands sales opportunities to multiple products.
So how does one define a cyber security platform vendor?
Therein lies the problem. Everything in cyber security has seemingly become a platform.
Too many vendors, both large and small, position their software as broad platforms, even those that represent the equivalent of insignificant widgets.
Only a handful of vendors, among them Cisco Systems, Fortinet, IBM, and McAfee, sell the multi-function, scalable, integrated, customisation kind of program sets that deserve to be called enterprise-ready cyber security platforms.
The latest attempt at building such a platform comes from Check Point, a well-known and successful maker of network firewalls and cloud-based anti-malware systems.
Its platform, called Infinity, is touted as a combination of preemptive threat prevention, consolidated security system and policy management.
However, the initial release falls well short of matching the platform efforts of its above-mentioned rivals, offering little more than an enhanced threat intelligence system that proliferates common indicators of compromise (malware or the like) across its product line, and some minor software refreshes.
Touted by Check Point as a “revolutionary cyber security architecture”, Infinity is at present most effective as a go-to-market playbook, helping the company’s sales channel more effectively position and sell the totality of the Check Point product portfolio, a capability long perceived to be lacking within the organisation.
Such efforts are common within the industry.
However, in regard to product functionality, Infinity promises more than it actually delivers, which in turn risks alienating the very customers and channel partners Check Point seeks to support.
To be sure, Infinity offers important lessons.
Technology vendors, cyber security and otherwise, should take care when positioning their product portfolios.
A strong platform play is a worthy effort to strive for, but one that should be based on demonstrable functions, desired benefits, and measurable results.
Bold marketing claims shouldn’t be bandied about lightly; if a solution falls short, everyone pays the price, and in cyber security, this can mean the loss of both sensitive data and the jobs of those charged with protecting it.
Ultimately, for customers, the old adage “buyer beware” holds true.
Vendors’ claims should be challenged rigorously and products tested thoroughly.
Not all cybersecurity platforms on day one can withstand the rigours of a perilous cyber security landscape.