Make your security investments do double duty

Three ways to wring more value out of "uneventful" operations.

Yes, you can get additional ROI from security, business continuity, disaster recovery and compliance investments, writes Daniel Dern in a recent article. In fact, you can get 'double or triple the value from 'side effects,'" observes Jim Cuff, VP of strategy, Iron Mountain Digital.

For example, tools purchased for compliance management can also help identify redundancies and other inefficiencies. Security appliances don't just provide security; they can also be used for performance and bandwidth management, and enforcing acceptable use policies. Or take the next step and use disaster recovery resources 'for part of your active environment, like load balancing, test and develop and QA, and backup, not something you have just in case,' urges Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst of the StorageIO Group.

Here are three ways to get more value from your security investments:

1. Business Continuity

"We have customers using their Disaster Recovery sites for active workloads, e.g. batch jobs, non-production applications, even splitting production applications," notes Jon Bock, Senior Product Marketing Manager, VMware, Inc.

Not surprisingly, virtualization is a big enabler in alternate-purposing these systems. "The biggest we've seen is in Disaster Recovery," says Lew Smith, Product Manager, Virtualization Solutions for Interphase Systems. "Using virtualization, organizations can complete additional work in their DR site such as pre-production activities including software development, proof-of-concept prototyping, testing, and QA."

Since you must keep your DR site current in terms of patching, using these machines instead of additional non-production machines also helps avoid the operating expenses of keeping these additional systems patched and updated, Smith notes.

2. Security appliances

"Our UTM (unified threat management) suite includes the ability to develop an AUP (acceptable use policy) and control the sites that employees are allowed to go to," notes John Gordineer, Director, Product Management for Network Security, SonicWALL, Inc. "And we can set up schedule-based rules, and also have password access for different types of sites. So our Internet content filtering is a productivity tool."

3. Compliance management

"If you are automating your compliance activities, the same analytical tools, when pointed at different activities, can help streamline business processes," says Scott Wisniewski, Director at Protiviti Inc., a business consulting and internal audit firm. "For example, you can identify duplicate payments to multiple vendors, provide revenue assurance, especially in retail, and analyze your supply chain to avoid disruption. You can even make better prioritization decisions in your application portfolio management, like which projects will yield the best return on use of budget and resources."

[ For more unexpected ways to get additional ROI from your security investments, read How to Stretch Your Security Dollar ]

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