Cybersecurity Vendor Consolidation: Why You Should Work with One Firm for Risk Assessments and Pen Tests

The desire to consolidate is growing for organizations that use third-party cybersecurity vendors. Many reasons drive this decision—cuts in cybersecurity budgets, mitigating risk in using outside resources, and ensuring consistency across services.

cybersecurity vendor

Hiring one firm for risk assessments and pen testing makes fiscal and operational sense. Having more than one provider overcomplicates your organization’s pursuit of cyber resilience and preparedness.

If you’re currently reviewing your options or seeking external support for cybersecurity for the first time, you’ll want to know why consolidation is beneficial in many ways.

What Is Cybersecurity Vendor Consolidation?

Cybersecurity vendor consolidation is a strategy to reduce the number of outside firms you engage. It can include various resources, from firms that act as your CISO-as-a-service or conduct assessments and pen tests to cybersecurity tools. With the expansion of cybersecurity services in the market, many companies have taken on multiple vendors. As the threat landscape expanded, so has their need for cyber services.

The use of vendors, especially by SMBs, to be their cyber arm has accelerated as well. The primary reason is the lack of cybersecurity talent available to fill internal roles. Many IT teams are already at capacity. To meet the ever-evolving demands of cybersecurity, they’ve had to look elsewhere. It’s a trend that’s become a top priority for many.

Cybersecurity Vendor Consolidation Is a Priority for Many Companies

According to a Gartner study, 75% of organizations are pursuing security vendor consolidation. The number of businesses doing this increased considerably from 2020, which came in at only 29%. So, why the big jump in those seeking to do this?

The study revealed several contributing factors to this shift, including:

  • 65% of organizations want to consolidate to improve risk posture.
  • 29% of survey respondents are consolidating as a means to reduce costs.

With decreasing risk as the leading reason behind consolidation, you could correlate this to the rise in concern over supply chain security. After the SolarWinds attack in 2020, many companies realized that even cybersecurity companies had major vulnerabilities. As a result, many organizations have begun to prioritize third-party risk management.

The other driver, cost reduction, is also an urgent need, as many SMBs are reining in budgets as operating costs rise. These businesses don’t want to dilute their cybersecurity initiatives or halt risk assessments or pen tests. Thus, they need to make their cyber budgets go further. Consolidation to one vendor for these activities doesn’t jeopardize their impact. In fact, it could lead to being able to do more of these things when you have a single vendor.

Another study, the 2023 Pen Testing Report, also looked at this topic, finding that 43% of companies consider this important. Another 37% said it was somewhat important. Thus, it would seem that businesses need to move in the direction of consolidation, as it provides an array of benefits.

The Benefits of Cybersecurity Vendor Consolidation

No matter the size of the organization, consolidation relating to any technology area will bring with it advantages. You may not be able to get it down to one provider, especially regarding monitoring and automation tools. Those needs will often require specialization to integrate into your network. However, you can consolidate to one vendor for risk assessments and pen testing.

Let’s look at the benefits you can realize from doing this.

Fewer Vendors Means Less Access to Your Network

Every cybersecurity vendor you work with brings its own ecosystem to either integrate within your platforms or access your networks. Each new arrival carries with it a supply chain security risk. Hence, the fewer vendors you have, the less chance for security incidents. From a tech stack perspective, you may still need multiple software tools. Take care in choosing these things to ensure you have optimal protection.

Regarding risk assessments and pen tests, cyber firms will enter your network, whether planned or simulated. You can get this from a single source, which you’ll vet extensively to have the assurance that they’ll find vulnerabilities, not create them. The insights and information you learn from these activities when it comes from a single vendor will be more impactful as well.

One Vendor for Risk Assessments and Pen Tests Delivers More Insights

Risk assessments and pen tests are critical to improving your security posture. They identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses with a plan to mitigate them. The goal is, of course, to find them before hackers do. While risk assessments and pen tests are similar in many ways, you still need both to get the most valuable insights.

Here’s how they differ and provide more information.

Internal vs. External Assessments

Risk assessments evaluate an internal enterprise environment, while pen tests focus on internal and public-facing systems. You get both sides of the picture with both. When the same experts do both, you have a holistic view of everything cyber. The major difference between the two is that a risk assessment is less intrusive than a pen test. The former finds vulnerability, and the latter identifies and exploits them.

Differing Focuses on Identifying Weaknesses

A risk assessment focuses on unpatched and misconfigured systems and applications and unnecessary services. Pen tests are a bit broader in their pursuit of locating vulnerabilities. It depends on the type of pen test. A web application pen test, for example, evaluates overall security and risk, including code errors, injections, and broken authentication. Network security pen tests look at exploitable issues on networks associated with routers, switches, or network hosts.

By having a vendor perform both, you leave no stone unturned in understanding risk and addressing it.

Report Findings Offer a 360-Degree View of Your Cyber Landscape

Risk assessments and pen test deliverables include reports of weaknesses found. A risk assessment report includes:

  • Devices tested
  • Vulnerabilities discovered
  • Steps taken during the assessment
  • Prioritized recommendations

Pen test reports have some of the same information, including:

  • URLs tested
  • Vulnerabilities found
  • Steps taken during the assessment
  • Prioritized recommendations

With both these reports from the same firm, you have more information on the bigger cyber picture. There may be some overlap, but they each give you different perspectives, which can be very useful in building cyber resilience.

Strengthen Compliance Adherence

Compliance with regulations is critical for companies in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and banking. Risk assessments and pen tests can help you meet these obligations. There are regulatory-specific pen tests to address compliance, such as SOC 2, PCI, and HIPAA pen tests. These types of tests follow specific guidelines to test a network’s ability to meet these compliance requirements.

A risk assessment can also enhance and validate compliance. In healthcare, organizations need a HIPAA security risk analysis. The evaluation helps you meet requirements under HIPAA, focusing specifically on locating weaknesses related to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information (ePHI).

Combining risk assessments and pen tests for compliance mitigates the occurrence of noncompliance. It documents your reasonable and consistent attempts to keep data secure.

One Vendor Reduces Costs

A substantial benefit for you to consolidate security vendors is cost reduction. Even if your budget isn’t shrinking, costs related to operations across the board are rising. Finding ways to spread your dollars further without compromising security is possible when you use one vendor for pen tests and risk assessments. You may be able to “bundle” services to reduce the expense. Additionally, this vendor can support the remediation efforts they recommend post testing and assessment.

A Single Provider Ensures Consistency and Deeper Knowledge of Your Cyber Needs

The last benefit to consider is the relationship you can cultivate with a vendor. Working with one company means that there will be uniformity across testing and assessments. They’ll use similar steps, techniques, and methods in these, which means you can benchmark your progress and ensure you’re fixing the things that reduce vulnerabilities.

Building a rapport with a single company also correlates to a team understanding your business and its threat landscape. It’s an essential part of entering into a partnership with a cyber firm. Yet, it’s one that’s often overlooked. The reality is that not all those that perform pen tests and risk assessments do it with the accuracy, completeness, and expertise you’d expect. It’s critical to find testers and assessors with the right experience and qualifications. When you do, you can be sure they’ll focus on the things that matter—what you need to protect and how to protect it.

Consolidate Cyber Vendors and Grow Your Cybersecurity Posture

Consolidating vendors in any category offers many benefits, as we’ve addressed. It’s a process that can save you money while improving your cyber defenses. In the areas of risk assessments and pen testing, you’ll realize even more advantages. So, now is the perfect time to go through this exercise.

Our team has the expertise, knowledge, and agility to deliver a variety of cyber services to SBMs, including pen testing, risk assessments, and CISO-as-a-service. Schedule a discovery meeting with us today to explore options.

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