The Era of the Cybersecurity Platform: The Blue Pill Reality

In the last few years, from the different trends that I have seen as a former CMO for Safetica, the one prevailing trend for the buyers that I have encountered was the desire of IT buyers to move to a singular cybersec platform. With a myriad of challenges and security risks that IT admins and cybersecurity personnel have to deal with, the concept of one solution that fits all is just too enticing. For which IT admin would not mind a myriad of different security pains and aches solved with just one pill. 

And who can blame them? From new data breaches, new phishing techniques, shadow IT risks, an evolution of new ransomware and malware, to hackers working internationally and new security risks being exposed by a multitude of jurisdictional regulations, most of the people responsible for making cybersecurity purchasing decisions are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They simply need to do more with less. 

Coupled with a recessionary, cost-cutting measures that have gutted most non-revenue generating functions in businesses in the last two years, the do more with less attitude for cybersecurity has been a dominant tone in the era post the Silicon Bank Valley collapse. The earlier hubris of open faucet tech investing, the all-in approach, was replaced with a dire reality of over leveraged companies and a need to bring a lot of organisational structures to actual market size. 

Enter the platform-first approach to cut operating costs. Off-course cybersecurity was not unique in the emergence of platforms, rather as part of a larger business trend of what Geoffrey Parker describes as the platform revolution. From mega platforms like Hubspot or Salesforce incorporating granular sales and marketing function within it stack, to the extreme example of Amazon bundling everything from books to hosting with long a singular platform. So, it was not a surprise that the concept of the singular platform also helps strong in cybersec. 

But increasingly, many of these projects have woken up to the reality that the performance of these platforms to protect data and people from both internal and external risks is limited at best. By removing the specialisation inherent in stand-alone products like Data Loss Prevention and the depth of experience needed, they provided the illusion without the actual full-fledged functionality.  Perhaps, the popularity of Zero-Trust and SASE platforms speaks to this reality; for if solving all these issues seems unsurmountable, then shielding network and cloud resources around an iron curtain seems like the most viable solution. 

In many ways this reminds me of the Matrix. In this age-old movie, the intrepid Morpheus offers our protagonist NEO the choice between taking the blue pill and continuing to live in the illusion that everything is honky dory - a fake Elysium where urban life ticks peacefully but where, in-reality, super computers are sucking every human’s energy with surgical precision in post-apocalyptical circumstances - and between the red pill. The red pill is, off course, is face up to this reality, and face the fact that the actual Zion, the free city of Morpheus’s cohorts, is actually being harassed by the robot tentacles of the machines. 

And that is the reality behind many platform plays. If you dig a bit under the surface, you find the reality is much harsher that the reality in regard to what the platform markets itself. That is why I believe that specialised vendors will always have a space to compete. Perhaps not in an era of recessionary cost-cutting of today, but in a more balanced tomorrow era; as companies and their buyer take a deep breath, take a red pill and wash it with to a more honest reality. 

Are you a cybersecurity vendor looking to differentiate yourself and expand globally? From growth hacked GTM strategies to launching algorithmic CRM stacks, Forecom is your growth partner. 

Topics: Sales

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