1st step for security software: Take it out of the box

A recent study by Osterman Research Inc. finds many companies have an interesting approach to security software: They’re buying it, and never actually using it. 

The study found that nearly 28% of respondents didn’t feel they were getting good value for their security software investments. Of those, most had implemented the software and were disappointed with results while a few (3% of small businesses and 7% of larger ones) had bought software, but never gotten around to installing it.

This shelfware, or unimplemented security software, represents an easy way for IT to make quick budget improvements. After all, the average company spent $115 per user on security, $33 of which wasn’t used efficiently.

Why security software sits

Security software went unused for a variety of reasons:

  • IT being too busy to implement it properly (35%)
  • Not enough resources to implement properly (33%)
  • IT didn’t understand the solution well enough (19%)
  • Lack of vendor support (18%)
  • Lack of technical skill or training to implement the solution properly (17%), and
  • IT not having a full understanding of the security problem (12%).

While these reasons would seem to place most of the blame on IT, the fact is that it can be difficult to manage the various security measures companies have to juggle in order to stay safe.

Here are some strategies to stay on top of them:

  • Take inventory. Check all the programs you’re running and evaluate their features. Chances are there may be some overlap, which could lead to cost savings if you find redundancies.
  • Update frequently. Just as bad as not having software installed is having it installed but not updated. Make sure you’re on top of any patches and updates.
  • Use vendors for all they’re worth. Getting vendors to help in installation may seem unnecessary, but any amount of help you can get will free up time your team can use on something higher priority.
  • Consider the cloud. Cloud security solutions will theoretically make it easier to manage per user. Just make sure the applications deliver value and convenience instead of trading one for the other.

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