Under a watchful eye — unified observability and tracking vulnerabilities

Unpacking the importance of having a proper overview of the entire tech stack to be able to protect against, and anticipate, security issues.

A company that is blind is one that could be vulnerable to a number of issues. As tech stacks scale up with the organisation, they can become unwieldy and complex. If expansion takes place across a number of locations and geographies then there’s also a risk they can become siloed, with disconnected IT managers acting independently to manage their own, localised issues and offices. This issue was compounded during the pandemic, when people had to work from home, leading to even more disparate connections to networks.

By their nature, siloes have a huge impact on visibility of operations, causing IT leaders to often struggle to understand the bigger picture of their system’s health, efficiency, and security. With so much to oversee, they simply can’t determine where the vulnerabilities are in the system to fix them, leaving them open to attack. This ultimately means that IT teams switch to a reactive state of mind instead of proactive and are only able to deal with issues after they’ve been reported.

This can be particularly dangerous when it comes to cyber security and external threats. Not having unified observability of the tech stack can mean that it’s almost impossible to understand the gaps in protection. In the unfortunate case of a cyber breach, whether it’s from external actors or simple mistake on the part of employees, acting after the fact is too late. The damage will be done. What’s worse, the immediate reaction following a breach might be to implement even more processes and add more solutions to prevent a recurrence. While these may shore up existing vulnerabilities, without fully understanding the stack, there may well still be undetected issues and danger, ones that may ultimately be exploited and result in even more products being bought in and added. It can become a full-time job just adding, learning, managing and then repeating the whole cycle as the company’s technology continues to bloat and disconnect.

The only way to put an end to this problematic cycle is to build tech stacks with unified observability inbuilt from the offset, keeping a watchful eye as it grows and scales with the company. Alternatively, when undergoing a digital transformation, companies need to make sure that, as they consider their objectives and the technology they need to be competitive and remain at the cutting-edge, they’re also making sure their stack is properly visible.

And this leads to the question, who does it need to be visible to? Naturally, people on the ground don’t need to have a sense of the entire picture. They need to understand where they fit in and their place in the grand scheme of things but ultimately it’s a CIO that needs to, at a moment’s notice, be able to understand exactly what is happening and where any issues may potentially be. This means that they’re able to report the Board and help them remain confident in the company’s digital capabilities and resilience.

Cybersecurity has been a particularly hot topic at the Board level, but there’s more to it than that. Being able to demonstrate the company’s overall readiness—the ability to defend against any upcoming issues, security or otherwise, and the ability to support in achieving real business objectives. The topic of ‘readiness’ is starting to gain more and more traction, but how can you be ready for the future and whatever it may bring if you don’t even know where you are? As this concept becomes more understood at the top levels, it’s more and more likely that CIOs will be called upon to demonstrate that their technology is fit-for-purpose. Being unable to answer questions will not enhance Board confidence and is quite likely to start panics—which may lead to unnecessary spending and more complexity.

Cyber and other issues cost time and money. They interrupt business continuity, damage reputations and can cost huge sums to put right. Unified observability is just one tool in a company’s arsenal but it may be one of the most important ones to save time, save money and keep companies on the right track for growth.

About the Author

Matt Tuson is EMEA General Manager at LogicMonitor. At LogicMonitor, we’re committed to expanding what’s possible for businesses by advancing their technology. After all, monitoring shouldn’t just help businesses see what’s in front of them—it should create new ways for them to grow.

Featured image: ©DigitalGenetics