Faced with increasing uncertainty and a daunting security reality, many SMBs (small and medium businesses) studies show are opting for “free” cybersecurity.
Given widespread IT budget and consumer belt tightening, one within reason could not blame them. But here are three reasons why this approach is fraught with risk and can dangerously backfire.
Verification and Installation
There is an old Latin phrase, “caveat emptor”, which means let the buyer beware that perhaps most aptly relates to our current security-sales environment. Much of the warning’s implication, in this context at least, rests on a SMBs' (the buyer) inability to sufficiently verify the efficacy of the proposed solution without unduly exposing mission critical information; i.e. network topology, devices, confidential systems, and more importantly personally identifiable customer/client information.
If the product is free, more than likely the risk rests squarely with you.
Configuration and Integration
Next is the issue of how to properly configure and seamlessly integrate “free” security solutions with existing systems. To re-configure critical applications or whole systems for purposes of compatibility with an unvetted security solution runs the grave risk of removing or rolling back previously implemented controls. This act alone opens up your defenses to both known, CVE’s (common vulnerability exploits) and unknown zero-day attacks that are out in the wild.
In short, beware the gift horse behind door #2.
Un-Installation and Cancellation
Lastly but perhaps most pivotal, free offers come with at least one, two, or ten stings attached. Additionally, the “free” security now having nested and gathered sensitive intel' on your business’ operations and personnel for however many number of days now, will require dedicated effort and significant downtime to uninstall and in some cases reset operations to a point pre-installation. Further, should you need to actually get in contact with the vendor to confirm cancellation because of product-solution underwhelm, be prepared for what might possibly be the longest ever kabuki dance of your life.
Remember that almost always, “no cost” to you does come with a hidden cost.