On June 4, 2019, we saw the news about Distil networks, a point solutions company offering bot management, being acquired by Imperva, a security platform. Distil’s co-founder Rami Essaid said, “We were finding it harder and harder to compete as a point solution, outside of being a platform, so we started looking for a platform partner that we could be a part of to continue our journey, and to continue to do what we do best without having to build an entire platform ourselves.”
Point solutions are finding it harder to survive and compete by themselves in today’s technology landscape. It’s no surprise then that a lot of vendors selling these are building or evolving their businesses into acquisition targets.
Let’s now look at these fundamentally different approaches from an application owner’s perspective.
The Ultimate Dilemma
As an application owner, you’ve probably grappled with the dilemma of choosing between a deep technical “point” solution targeting a specific problem, or a broader “integrated” platform that targets a wider scope but maybe with less depth into a particular problem area.
Let’s analyze this a bit deeper. Take the world of web applications serving end users on the Internet – be it in e-commerce, news and publishing, e-learning, or something else. To be successful in attracting Internet audiences and generating revenue, an application owner must ensure a great user experience. Three key components of that user experience are fast page loads, always-on availability, and robust security. To achieve these, the application owner needs to adopt a bundled portfolio of performance, security, and availability solutions.
A web application security example
When Google effectively mandated websites to support HTTPS on Chrome browsers, everyone needed to get certificates and manage their lifecycle. As more B2B and B2C websites started accepting credit cards, it became mandatory to deploy application firewalls to be PCI compliant. As more transactions and traffic went online, so did hackers. There was a need to handle bot traffic: the good, the bad, and the malicious; and specialized vendors started offering bot management solutions.
Application owners started solving these problems with a combination of in-house and external individual solutions acquired from different vendors in certificate management, application firewalls, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) mitigation, bot mitigation, malware scanners, Intrusion Detection, two-factor authentication, rate limiting, and much more. Now, that’s a lot of point solutions! While there are benefits to deploying each of these solutions, the application owner ends up with the burden of integrating, managing, and accurately addressing any security gaps or problem areas.
As more niche solutions gained adoption, platform vendors began to integrate more of these one-off solutions into a consistent, coherent integrated stack.
When all you need is to solve a specific pain point and you have everything else in-house, point solutions may work for you. Most often though, this is not the case and point solutions are not ideal.
Here are 3 reasons to choose integrated platform solutions over multiple point solutions:
- Total Cost of Ownership: The starting price of point solutions is usually lower than that of a platform. But they typically have add-on licenses and growth tiers built in that are not clear at the outset. Platform solutions, in turn, have pricing that is more predictable, fixed, and also share the economies of scale benefits with their customers. Taking into account the narrow value provided, and the support and maintenance costs of managing multiple point solutions, platforms turn out to be significantly less expensive in terms of the total cost of ownership.
- Flexibility and Usability: Vendors offering platform solutions typically cater to customers across a diverse set of industry segments with varied technical and application requirements. The platform solutions thus developed are flexible, with a focus on usability, unlike point solutions that focus on solving a single problem, and usability is either compromised or restricted to the narrow scope of the problem.
- Support and Training: When you use multiple point solutions, training your teams to use them all becomes incrementally complex. They may each have different authentication steps and setup, configuration, and troubleshooting mechanisms, requiring dedicated hours of training across different systems.
Also when there is a critical issue, you want one place to go to get it resolved. With multiple solutions, you are left to coordinate across disparate support teams, possibly across different time zones and regions, to even discover and agree on the problem, much less resolve it! With a platform, there is one vendor responsible for all aspects of support for the entire integrated solution.
So if you’re looking to achieve 100% website uptime, significantly faster page loads, enterprise-grade security against cyberthreats and bot attacks, and cost optimization in the cloud, don’t rely on point solutions! Drop us a line at email@example.com or fill out this form for a free demo, and let us show you what Webscale’s cloud automation and managed hosting platform can do for your digital experience.