I recently had an interesting chat with a leading analyst about measuring return on investment (ROI) for security policy management solutions (and for that matter, on any productivity improvement tool). We were talking about our work with the SIX Group, who operates the infrastructure of the Swiss financial center. Using our SecureApp solution they'd turned an investment of $1M, into a $3M gain including hardware and operational cost savings plus achieved an ROI of 148% and a payback period of just 11 months.
While he was impressed with the results, the point he made - and it's a good one - is that ROI isn't just about money. Don't get me wrong, money saved is undoubtedly an important part (and will ultimately keep the bean counters happy) but it's just one bit of the ROI equation.
It's the parts that are harder to measure like improving business agility or its effect on brand or reputation, that all too often don't get factored in when making a decision on security products. For example, many enterprises have 100s of firewalls, routers and switches and 100s of policy changes to process per month. The impact of automating these tasks on productivity is important because it frees up the network manager's time for other tasks where the combination of rapid change and time pressure mean mistakes could otherwise happen. Similarly, ROI is also thinking about the knock-on effects on a business. The introduction of applications such as CRM or SAP to aid business growth could be held back by integration difficulties with network operations. The ability to streamline those IT operations and speed up the introduction of mission-critical applications will deliver significant ROI above and beyond the money clawed backed in cost savings.
Last but not least it's about the things that you've prevented as much as the things that you can resolve. IT departments get blamed when things go wrong like downtime. The ability to prevent a rule change that would have caused your network to crash is almost incalculable in protecting reputation and brand equity with stakeholders from investors to customers.
So let's take a more holistic view when making decisions about ROI and ask ourselves - did we really factor in all benefits of the solution? Hear the Tufin webinar featuring Forrester to learn how to build a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of Tufin's Security Suite on your organization. You can also read the Forrester Research paper: The Total Economic Impact of Tufin Security Suite.