Why People Are Moving Away from Excel for Cybersecurity Management - And You Should Too

February 21, 2018 | BY Gavin Harris

Why I Love(d) Excel

Excel and I have been friends for a long time. I’ve been using Excel since my first summer job in 1989. Over the years, I’ve done my share of pivot tables, VLookups and some IF statements that would make your eyes cross. The main thing I love about Excel is its flexibility. You can crunch numbers, correlate data sets and format reports for professional presentations. Excel has been right there with me as I have packaged up 7 and sometimes 8 figure Enterprise Software proposals. Excel and I were able to deliver clear and concise reports and win business.

Why I Don't Love Excel (Anymore)

However, there is a time and a place for Excel. One of its strengths, its flexibility can also be a weaknesses. Since you can make Excel do just about anything, I’ve seen plenty of examples of things in Excel that could be better managed elsewhere. In my early days selling, our sales operations team would spend hours each week pulling together Excel forecast spreadsheets from all the sales reps so that management could get a consolidated forecast.  CRM’s like Salesforce.com and new players like Base and Pipedrive make it easy to pull this information together real-time via a dashboard or report. 

Every day, we talk to companies that are trying to use Excel to organize their Cybersecurity programs. Analysts are using Excel with multiple workbooks and complex formulas to capture and retain crucial information about cybersecurity compliance controls. Should this cell be Red or Green? Did Tom complete his task to download the server log? What companies end up with is a hoard of Excel workbooks sitting in file shares and on users hard-drives...all with critical information about their company’s cybersecurity posture. When an executive or the Board asks about cybersecurity, days are spent pulling together data and compiling something that can be easily communicated. 

The better way:  Apptega

No longer take complex compliance frameworks and map them in Excel to your organization. Stop running around the office harassing people to fill out their fields in an Excel workbook. Quit correlating data from different workbooks and fixing errant formula fields. 

Apptega takes the pain out of this process. Visually drag and drop relevant Cybersecurity Framework controls into a program right for your business leveraging a growing library of industry frameworks. Easily assign ownership of controls and tasks to people across the organization and be able to hold them accountable. Track progress against your program with dials and dashboards. 

Stop scrambling around trying to make sense of all the Excel files and artifacts you have compiled. When the auditors come in, grant them access to Apptega so they can see all the data and artifacts in a central repository. With Apptega’s Dashboards and Reports, real-time progress reports are at your fingertips. Provide your CIO with Board-ready presentations showing real-time progress against your program, including gaps and areas where you can help justify the need for additional budget funding.  If you really must use Excel, Apptega provides an easy way to pull a portion or your whole program into an Excel or Word file that you can send along to auditors or other constituents.

Being first one to sing Excel’s praises, sometimes there’s just a better way. When we moved from Excel to Salesforce.com for forecasting, we gained huge efficiencies and gave management instant visibility to our sales progress. I couldn’t think of going back to the old way of doing things. 

Why not give your organization the same type of visibility to your Cybersecurity program with Apptega?  Give us a call or request a demo and we'll show you a better way.


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