How To Guide
8 min read

What Cybersecurity Tools do you Need to Build an Effective Security Strategy?

In this post, we’ll cover the fundamental building blocks of an effective cybersecurity strategy and provide practical information on how best to assess different tools to determine which meet your organization’s requirements.
Written by
Christina Boyer
Published on
January 4, 2024


In the relentless landscape of cyber threats, ensuring the security of your business has never been more critical. Research by Cybersecurity Ventures has predicted worldwide cybercrime costs are estimated to hit $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, demonstrating the increasing detrimental impact a cyber attack poses on an organization. For small and medium businesses, especially those without a dedicated IT and security team, navigating these complexities can be challenging.

In this post, we’ll cover the fundamental building blocks of an effective cybersecurity strategy and provide practical information on how best to assess different tools to determine which meet your organization’s requirements. This is your guide to understanding and choosing the best-suited solutions across four key cybersecurity pillars: Identity Solutions, Device Management, Device Security, and SaaS Application Security.

Before we dive into a breakdown of tools, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind when approaching cybersecurity.

Firstly, an effective cybersecurity strategy needs to meet the realities of the ways of working of today, and not be rooted in the solutions that worked 5 or 10 years ago. As businesses increasingly operate remotely, and cloud-based services represent a growing portion of a business’s, the tools we need must be capable of addressing these challenges.

With the above in mind, it is important to chose tools that are able to adapt to the changing environment, which will mean the strategy and foundation laid today, will remain effective as the threat landscape inevitably changes over time.

With this framing in the back of your mind, we can turn to the foundational pillars of an effective cybersecurity strategy:

Pillar One: an Identity Solution

What is it, and why is it important?

Identity Solutions, or Identity and Access Management (IAM solutions), are the bedrock of your cybersecurity strategy, encompassing tools that protect, manage, and authenticate user identities. User authentication is really the first line of defense to protect a business against unauthorized access to its systems and data. With the shift towards remote and hybrid working, identity has become the defining perimeter an organization must secure to protect its users, devices, and data.

Did you know? A 2023 Verizon Data Breach report found that 45% of web attacks are caused by credential abuse.

How do you choose and secure a good tool?

Making the right choice when it comes to selecting an identity solution is key to ensure the long-term efficacy of your cybersecurity strategy. Here are a couple of areas to always consider:

  1. Robust security control options, including features such as 2FA, password complexity requirements, and SSO to safeguard users' identities effectively.
  2. Management and Ongoing Maintenance, to ensure there are clear mechanisms for ongoing management of your identity solution. A tool that Implements best practices such as regular access reviews and continuous monitoring is key. It should also be user-friendly to allow you to manage the identity lifecycle of your users (things such as onboarding and offboarding of users), offering automation to streamline processes and the ability to customize and configure controls to meet your requirements.
  3. Ensure adequate integration with other tools to minimize workarounds, such as custom logics, serving to limit the attack surface and make managing your identity solution as efficient as possible.

Example tools: Okta, Microsoft Azure AD, Google Workspace

Pillar Two: Device Management

What is it, and why is it important?

Device Management is the mechanism of ensuring all devices used by a business can be accounted for, secured, and effectively onboarded and off-boarded. Leveraging Mobile Device Management (MDM) software is the best way to ensure that laptops, phones, and tablets that access company data are secured.

Did you know? In a survey by TechRepublic 48% of organizations said they were aware of former employees still having access to corporate networks after their last day of employment, and 20% of those organizations said they’d experienced a data breach that’s linked to former employees.

Practical workflows MDM tools enable include allowing a business to remotely lock and wipe employee devices and deploy and manage software patches. Effective device management ensures uniform security configurations, monitors device health, and enables swift response to potential threats.

How do you choose and secure a good tool?

  1. Evaluate a tool based on its controls and features, such as remote device wiping, application management, and compliance monitoring.
  2. Also, consider its capabilities for ongoing management: its ability to monitor and manage the full lifecycle of devices (from enrollment to offboarding) and to maximize compliance of devices to security controls (such as managing version updates) is also key.

Example tools: JAMF, Intune, Kandji, Hexnode

Pillar Three: Device security & EDR

What is it, and why is it important?

Device Security focuses on protecting your business against attacks on your devices through tools like Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and antivirus software. A robust antivirus program offers defense against various malware attacks, checking for signs of known threats and notifying you of any unwanted elements.

Did you know? Studies reported by IBM estimate that as many as 90% of successful cyberattacks and 70% of successful data breaches originate at endpoint devices.

How do you choose and secure a good tool?

  1. Select a tool with comprehensive threat databases and features that go beyond virus detection, providing protection against a spectrum of cyber threats. An effective EDR solution should have advanced threat detection capabilities (such as behavioral analysis and machine learning to detect insider threats or malicious behavior) and should offer continuous live detection and response.
  2. Also, consider ease of use: an effective tool should have a clear user interface that allows you to investigate and action alerts and configure your controls and policies to match your requirements.
  3. It should also be able to roll out regular updates to ensure it’s operating most effectively. This should include sensor updates, regular software updates, and patches to address potential vulnerabilities.

Example tools: CrowdStrike, SentinelOne

Pillar Four: SaaS Application Security

What is it, and why is it important?

SaaS application security is the mechanism by which an organization can secure the applications they use and store data on to protect against data breaches and exploitation. As businesses increasingly rely on cloud services, securing SaaS applications becomes paramount for protecting critical assets and data.

This strategy specifically addresses the controls to secure applications used by company employees to ensure that only authorized users within the organization can access applications and, by extension, the data they house. SaaS application security aims to prevent unauthorized access and inappropriate use, requiring continuous oversight to stay ahead of emerging threats and avoid potential risks such as data breaches, financial theft, and ransomware.

Did you know? IBM reported the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, a 15% increase over 3 years.

How do you choose and secure a good tool?

  1. Evaluate security features, compliance capabilities, and integration options when selecting SaaS Application Security tools. Implement encryption, access controls, and regular security assessments to fortify the security of your SaaS applications.
  2. It’s important to ensure regular updates, manage users through onboarding/offboarding processes, and regularly review access controls to secure data stored in these applications

Example tools + strategies: For application updates and access controls, tools like Okta work best (particularly for onboarding/offboarding and application access audits). For application patching solutions, you’ll likely need a specialized tool like Automox in tandem with an MDM solution.


Hopefully, you now feel better equipped to tackle your security strategy guided by the four pillars of defense, with an understanding of the key considerations when selecting specific tools.

Remember, building a scalable and enduring security solution requires effective tools and a commitment to continuous management, monitoring, and evaluation. Strive for a balance that maximizes both efficacy and ease of maintenance. As you delve into the vast array of cybersecurity tools, consider their initial capabilities and potential for long-term adaptability. By prioritizing tools that evolve alongside the dynamic nature of cyber threats, you ensure an effective security strategy today and one that remains resilient in the face of tomorrow's challenges.

Zip helps organizations manage their security stack by providing seamless deployment and configuration of core security tools and ongoing management in one place via our platform.

If you are a security or technology leader facing challenges with securing your company or quickly and easily achieving compliance, please get in touch by booking a demo!

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