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Centralizing Log Data to Solve Tool Proliferation Chaos

As companies evolve and grow, so do the number of applications, databases, devices, cloud locations, and users. Often, this comes from teams adding tools instead of replacing them.  As security teams solve individual problems, this tool adoption leads to disorganization, digital chaos, data silos, and information overload. Even worse, it means organizations have no way to correlate data confidently. By centralizing log data, you can overcome the data silos that tool proliferation creates. 

The Vicious Cycle: More Problems, More Tools, and Yet More Problems

With IT infrastructure increasing in complexity, gaining visibility becomes more difficult. In response to these challenges, organizations often turn to point solutions. However, this approach comes with a different, possibly more costly, problem: log chaos. 

For example, this “add a tool to solve a problem” creates disorganization and digital chaos, resulting in: 

  • Multiple applications in one environment
  • Different departments with their own tools
  • Tools implemented through only part of the organization
  • Use of multiple vendors in the same category only partially deployed
  • Maintaining the same data in multiple places
  • Different configurations
  • Legacy applications

 

Many organizations keep their operational and security monitoring tools separated because their teams work on different projects with different budgets and different leadership. In the end, this tool sprawl leads to technology and productivity costs by creating inefficiencies and data duplication.

 At the end of the day, event logs are event logs. The data stays the same, so purchasing different tools for aggregating and correlating data based on these different use cases leads to tool sprawl. 

For Every Tool, A New Data Silo Appears

All of this chaos creates data silos. This chaos leaves security teams struggling to correlate data confidently.

For example, a networking team may be managing multiple firewalls using a network policy management tool. Meanwhile, the security team is trying to monitor traffic with an intrusion detection system. Even though both tools use network event log data, the organization now has a data silo. 

Reducing log chaos is even more critical for security teams. If the log data is spread across too many locations or too siloed, the team will be unable to get the alerts they need, let alone correlate events. Without all the important data, abnormal activity indicating a potential security breach may go unnoticed.  

Understanding the Hidden Soft Costs

While tool sprawl costs the organization money, it also comes with two distinct hidden costs. 

Feature Duplication

As individual teams build out their toolsets, the organization often finds that features overlap between them. This feature duplication costs the organization both from a financial and workforce resource perspective. 

  1. The organization is paying two different vendors for the same capability, ultimately doubling the cost. 
  2. Workforce members are configuring and deploying the same functionality twice, doubling the time spent setting up the same capability. 

Data Duplication and Integrity

Another consequence of feature duplication is data duplication. Multiple tools generating similar reports using their own native formats increase storage costs and make cross-tool data comparisons challenging. 

Further, organizations migrating from one tool to another can impact data integrity, such as migrating from one anti-virus tool to another. The organization may end up with multiple sets of the same data or lose data during the transition. 

Lost Productivity

Tool sprawl decreases productivity when employees need to spend time on activities outside their job function. For example, for each tool, employees might spend time:

  • Responding to support requests 
  • Working with the vendor
  • Deploying upgrades
  • Training personnel 

If an organization only has two overlapping tools, the organization might not notice the lost productivity. However, as the organization scales, the number of tools using the same log data increases. Eventually, tool sprawl drives up the total cost of ownership (TCO), with the cost of maintaining shelfware and redundant tools being the most extravagant.

 

Sometimes the best thing to do is clean out the technology tool shed. This means reviewing each tool to determine if it provides unique insight or if it’s still in use because “this is how we’ve always done things.

Centralized Log Management: 

Log management’s benefits are abundant, and their return on investment is significant. 

Faster Time to Results

Log data centralized in a single location makes monitoring more comprehensive, and security teams respond to alerts faster. Neither team needs to sift through vast amounts of data or double-check error-prone manual results. Additionally, if one team’s research finds that the other team should be fixing the problem, no one needs to start from scratch.

Data You Can Trust With a 360-degree View

Centralized log management also incorporates automation to remove duplicative data. Organizations have everyone working with one set of authoritative data by eliminating tool sprawl. Centralizing the log data provides a 360-degree view of what is being collected, including performance issues, outages, and security data. 

Reliable Security

Centralizing logs creates additional controls, like access management and encryption, to prevent malicious actors from hiding their activities. Additionally, log management software can easily take into account the entire organization’s infrastructure at the same time, including its different units, ultimately improving the overall visibility and enhancing cyber posture.

Lower Technology Costs

With centralized log management, organizations can make more informed technology decisions. They can onboard additional solutions that offer greater long-term value by freeing up IT and security spend. They can also optimize the tools they want to keep and spend more time fine-tuning these tools for better results. 

One location. Multiple Use Cases.

Centralized log management solutions eliminate many of the problems that tool sprawl creates. Most tools use the event logs generated by the IT stack to provide insights. With centralized log management solutions, an organization can reduce costs by bringing all workflows into a single location. This ultimately reduces the costs of the individual tools and the hidden costs by creating more efficient processes.