If you factor in dollars, missed opportunities and human resources, there are many overlooked costs to open source security software for an organization.
WordPress CMS, Linux OS and thousands of other cybersecurity tools are all open source software that continue to gain traction. Open source security software is often chosen by enterprises over vendor-licensed solutions for three primary reasons:
- The apparent cost savings.
- The lack of vendor-lock in.
- The enhanced security.
However, the harsh reality is that these solutions aren’t entirely free and are prone to human error.
Software that anyone can freely download, install, modify to their needs and share with others is classified as Open Source Software. Yes, open source software is free. However, something often forgotten is that hardware and IT infrastructure needed to run the software will need to be purchased. Additionally, since the software may not meet your company’s requirements, a paid upgrade or costly add-ons will be needed.
Substantial To-Do List
One of the benefits claimed by open source is the included support from a large user community. But it’s your responsibility to search through an overwhelming amount of information. Open source software requires ongoing maintenance, extensive time and a great deal of human-power for both development and customization. Additionally, you will need to continually train your employees on how to utilize and customize the software. You don’t have the ability to call a technical support number if your team runs into an issue or can’t figure out something along the way.
We know that open source solutions cannot be installed and ignored. The Equifax Breach, caused by not installing a critical security patch, is a well-known example of this. Also, there is a vast variety of open source products, making it impossible for any single employee to have a capable foundation in all of them. This leads organizations to commit a portion of their budget to ongoing training.
Ultimately, security tools, whether open source or commercial don’t replace human workers and won’t benefit you all on their own. Security tools are quite useless without knowledgeable humans to maintain, customize and enhance them on a regular basis. What’s needed is skilled security professionals that will properly utilize them, interpret the collected data, and glean actionable information to safeguard your enterprise systems.