How to Make Security Software Suck Less

  • Maria Nordgren, VP, Sales, Security Services at Tieto

  • 08.12.2016 08:15 am
  • security

Do you also think that enterprise software, in general, sucks? As consumers, we are used to simple user interfaces that make interaction a breeze. If a software or app doesn’t feel natural to use and get the job done, we’ll just dump it.

However, when you move into the realm of big enterprise software, the story is unfortunately different. Have you ever heard of someone raving about how much fun he had typing in his travel expenses to the system? Or seen a satisfied look on your colleague’s face, when she needs to coax out a report from your company’s CRM on Friday at 5 PM?

Thought so.

For too many years, using business-critical software has meant learning to live with bad design, confusing UI, and ulcer-inducing quirks.

Fortunately, this is now changing. We have seen upstarts such as Slack come up with business software that is at the same time powerful and so easy to use that you almost start to think there must be something wrong. Wasn’t working with enterprise tools supposed to be hard?

Gimme some slack

Slack is a good example of a modern breed of business software. it’s no wonder that it got its start from an internal communication tool for game developers. When you develop something to be useful for your own specific needs, you don’t want to deal with stuff that gets between you and the job to be done.

Security software is no different. While I admit there is certain pride to be felt in learning a string of obscure commands and mouse-clicks to implement a policy, simplicity is also the future of professional security tools. Even when the underlying rules and procedures are complex, the user interface doesn’t need to be.

Today’s security pros live in a hectic environment. When something goes wrong, you must act without delay. You need a bird’s-eye view to security, where you can immediately spot and react to anomalies.

A clean and effective user interface was also our aim in developing Tieto Security Services’ security solution Tieto Security Insight. Security pros need a tool that lets them concentrate in the task at hand on their own terms, and not trying to second-guess what the software wants them to do.

You have seen footage from Wall Street – brokers have 6–8 screens in front of them with 2–3 phones. That is how they do their daily work. We just want to be able to predict too, that being maybe the positive difference.

Easy doesn’t mean ineffective

As we’ve written before, security is too important to be left to experts only. When the security systems are easy to use, everyone also wants to take advantage of them – and this leads to better overall security.

Good security is a team effort, and intuitive tools enhance collaboration which helps people with different backgrounds and skills work together more effectively.

InformationWeek’s associate editor Kelly Sheridan also makes a very interesting point for making security UIs better: hiring security talent is really hard, and creating a good – even game-like – user experience can attract especially the younger generation of professionals. If you’ve grown up with Super Mario and are now an enthusiast with Pokemon Go, you don’t want to work in frustrating and poorly designed environments.

It’s crucial to understand that simplicity doesn’t mean the system is less efficient. When your user experience doesn’t suck, your security professionals will be able to focus on essential problems making them faster and more efficient. Make your security software slick as Slack.

This article originally appeared on

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