Akamai Is a Leader in Bot Management — What That Means for You
Akamai has been named a Leader in bot management by Forrester Research.
Obviously, we’re proud to be a Leader. Bot management is a contact sport, in which being great is a requirement if you want to stop the persistent adversarial bots. So, it’s rewarding to be recognized for the work we’re doing to keep the bad bots away from our customers’ digital businesses.
But any evaluation report is a generalized view that may not represent your specific requirements and priorities. In this blog post, we’ll dig deeper into how to use the report as a base from which to formulate questions you can ask providers in this space to pick the one that’s best for your organization’s needs.
First, let’s start off with our overall observations about our evaluation. We’re particularly proud of three areas Forrester noted in our report profile:
1. Our vision for how bot attacks and how the bot operator industry is evolving. Our threat research team spends all day every day evaluating and analyzing terabytes of data to find new trends and insights that we pour back into Bot Manager to make it effective as bots retool. But, beyond that, we’re also thinking about how market dynamics and bot operator economics will drive systemic changes in how bot attacks may look in the future. We’ve even written a blog post outlining some of our predictions.
2. Our detections are effective. One could make the argument that every other criterion in the Wave would mean almost nothing if detections aren’t effective. After all, the absolute first thing bot management software has to do is detect bots! Mitigating bots, publishing reports on bots, and even publishing threat intelligence are suboptimized if they’re only addressing some of the bots. Detection isn't the only thing bot management software needs to do, but it’s the core.
3. Customers are satisfied with how well Bot Manager works for them. The report quoted one customer: “Akamai has done an outstanding job of identifying new and emerging threats and adapting their response.” This means everything to us. It validates our mission to protect customers’ digital businesses from bots even as they evolve.
Now let’s talk about you. We love bragging rights, sure, but the report is really about customers (or potential customers) as much as it is about solution providers. What if you’re in the market for a bot management solution? (Disclaimer: For years I worked with sourcing and vendor management teams, so the following tips are focused more on buying than on security/technology).
To determine which bot management solution is right for your organization, look at the criteria list and ask yourself which are:
● Critical. If the provider isn’t good at these criteria, you’d put that provider out of consideration.
● Important. The provider must be good at these things, but they balance against everything else you’re evaluating.
● Nice to have. These are features or capabilities that might give a provider bonus points, but you wouldn’t pick a supplier because of anything in this category.
● Not important at all. Even if a vendor is amazing at these criteria, it won’t matter to your evaluation. You can ignore these criteria when evaluating.
Beyond the criteria in the report, ask yourself if anything you care about is missing from the list. Some of these criteria might be technical, others might be related to compliance or business. Typically, every large organization has sourcing guidelines. Here are some common ones that weren’t included in the Wave (likely because every company has different guidelines for these):
● Financial resources and stability. Fighting bots and investing continuously in new detections is expensive. That’s just reality because there are so few bot management solutions and so many bot operators. Providers are under constant attack by threat actors who are trying to reverse engineer bot protections. So, the question is: Who has the financial resources to keep fighting over the long term? Sourcing teams will look for startups with lots of funding and more established players that are suitably profitable. Now, what constitutes “lots of funding” and “suitably profitable” depends on your own company’s guidelines and risk tolerance.
● Compliance with your own security policies. Some of the things to look for here will be related to suppliers’ compliance with privacy regulations like the GPDR (which the Forrester Wave did include in its evaluation). Other components will be things like whether the company does background checks on its employees and has strong governance policies to find and stop any internal issues.
● Ease of integration with existing systems. Solutions that take a long time to implement or require you to make a lot of changes to your apps or infrastructure will likely be rated lower than solutions that are up-and-running faster with less effort. In our experience, large organizations favor solutions that work with their existing investments.
● Integrated or stand-alone solution? Suite or best-of-breed is an evergreen debate when buying solutions (and in our case, we’re happy to be both!), but it is worthwhile to look at how much integration the solution needs with other systems you use. It’s also important to note that some solutions like ours are designed to play on the strengths of our suite, like real-time data from our Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform. Other solutions place a premium on being agnostic to the network (and, as noted previously, has other integration considerations.)
We hope this information adds extra value to the Forrester report. Please enjoy the complimentary copy of the Forrester Wave™: Bot Management, Q2 2022, and reach out if you want to talk more about Bot Manager.