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How to Spot Vendor Lock-in Before It’s Too Late

Pay close attention to a vendor’s integration capabilities, especially when it comes to competing products and providers. 

Migrating between vendors is a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process. Organizations rarely choose to take on this risk unless there’s an overwhelming reason to. 

As a result, many organizations consistently retain technology subscriptions that aren’t suitable for them. The risks associated with improving their tech stack may be larger than the gains they hope to receive. 

Vendors know this. In fact, there is a clear financial motive to make complex software deployments as difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to switch out of as possible.  

Vendor lock-in can drag down profitability in numerous ways while also limiting options for expanding growth and productivity. 

Avoiding vendor lock-in is one of the major responsibilities that stakeholders entrust to executives tasked with leveraging new technologies. Organizations that overlook this risk may find themselves at a disadvantage when competing vendors offer new capabilities to users. 

Castra teaches you how to disconnect from everything on day one. 

HubSpot Video

Avoiding Vendor Lock-in is Easier Said Than Done 

Being aware of vendor lock-in isn’t enough to prevent it. For example, two out of three CIOs claim to avoid vendor lock-in by using multiple cloud services. However, 71% of these CIOs still rely on a single cloud solution provider, which exposes them to the same risk. 

The more deeply embedded a technology or service is, the more difficult the process of switching vendors is likely to be. This makes it very difficult for organizations to avoid the risk of vendor lock-in when it comes to foundational technologies and cloud infrastructure. 

Information security technologies share many of these characteristics as well. Like digital infrastructure, these technologies tend to be deeply embedded across the entire enterprise tech stack. They have access to the organization’s most sensitive data and may profoundly impact the end-user experience. 

This is why many leaders consider security investments to be essentially permanent in nature. Even if stakeholders demand that leaders establish a viable exit strategy, the disruption and risk of decoupling security technologies are usually too great. 

For their part, vendors may become uncooperative when they learn that their customers intend to stop using their product or service. Business leaders may find themselves in the position to pay for services they don’t need, solely to ensure that secure business processes can continue without disruption. 

Three Signs That Point to Vendor Lock-in Risks 

Vendors do not generally advertise lock-in risks. In fact, many security providers portray their solutions as being free from lock-in risks, even when they are not. Executives need to look past the marketing copy and find clear technical data that addresses the risks of vendor lock-in directly. 

There are three warning signs executives should look for in particular: 

  1. Lack of Integrations with Competing Solutions. Most enterprise security solutions support a wide range of integrations, and many are designed to work alongside competing products and services. Vendors who can’t support tech stacks that include third-party tools may be setting their customers up for a lock-in scenario. 
  1. “Mystery Box” Processes and Performance. Security providers may keep their processes and technologies hidden from customers and end users. This is usually justified as a method to avoid informing threat actors what security measures are in place. However, it also prevents customers from understanding how security partners are using their data, and how deeply embedded that data might be. 
  1. Lack of Control Over Data. Executives must remain firmly focused on the question of data governance and ownership. Vendors who avoid third-party integrations or operate using mystery box models may not be able to provide their customers with control over their data. In this case, that data is firmly under the control of the vendor – not the customer.  
HubSpot Video

Protect your Organization from Vendor Lock-in with Castra 

Castra’s “Glass Box” approach to managed detection and response allows customers to retain complete control over their data. This protects customers from the risks of vendor lock-in, and we take extra steps to ensure customers can disconnect any product or service – including our own – without disrupting business processes or compromising operational security. 

Castra products and services revolve around the value of transparency and education. Contact one of our SIEM specialists to find out how we can help your organization expand its security capabilities without exposing stakeholders to vendor lock-in risks.