Sell progress, not paranoia

by Barrie Desmond

Why selling stronger cyber solutions and business success are NOT mutually exclusive

THIS IS NOT YET another COVID blog, moreover an observation of how cyber sec and security teams have seen an unprecedented change in the way they are perceived over the last year or so. Often considered a barrier to growth and progress due to their caution and restraint, somehow the crisis has become a catalyst for a complete change in the way they are perceived due to the events that compelled organisations to embed them and cyber deeper into the organisation, its strategy and decision making … ok – perhaps out of the old basic instinct of survival … but hey, crises have often been a source of inspiration.

Sec teams have played a key role in adapting to the next normal, and with agility. Enabling new working arrangements; establishing digital channels to market for customers, integrating supply chain partners and opening up eco-systems with market and channel peers. They had the dual aim of maintaining continuity whilst protecting employees, customers and the organisations infrastructure and services. And I can bear witness to that at Exclusive and acknowledge the key role played by our IT & Cyber teams and pay tribute to the unsung heroes both within our company and globally to all the guys who worked tirelessly and long hours to achieve great outcomes.

And why not, in one day last year Google reported over 18 Million malware and phishing attacks and according to [PurpleSecs’ Cyber trends report], cyber-attacks grew by over 600% last year whilst ransomware attacks grew by 350% costing the world economy, according to them, some $6 trillion!!

So the question I’m contemplating is … Can the Channel pitch progress or paranoia? And by that I mean can we convince customers to implement stronger & more stringent security whilst also boosting the performance of their organisation …. And the answer is YES!!

The perception change I refer to should now be used to influence customers as to how greater and improved efficacy can increase sales; improve customer engagement and boost reputations. Cyber sold as an enabler not as a ‘Necessary Evil’ will get you deeper embedded with your customers and create a more strategic mutually beneficial partnership.

With such an increase in threat actors and activities there could be a tendency to panic sell solutions that may tick ‘compliance boxes’ yet suffocate the organisation. Security is finally being embedded into the business, not as an afterthought, and will boost performance.

We have examples of organisations who quickly moved their workforce to home working using 100’s of thin client connections. User experience was improved by adapting their VPN’s to split tunneling whilst by upgrading the firewall it improved capacity, performance, user satisfaction and indeed customer reaction. In another example a company suspended production operations as it lost confidence in the new remote IT set up – suspecting it was more vulnerable and not up to spec. A new SIEM solution rapidly deployed gave better visibility and improved event monitoring with automated remediation which helped improve workload flow and delivered productivity gains.

Some companies instituted stronger consumer security and fraud protection checks which introduced transactional friction and frustrated customers. But by implementing new authentication and faster identity checks backed by superfast A.I. based anomaly detection, incoming transactions were analysed and approved faster, with less friction but improved scrutiny and higher yields.

There are lots of other examples that disprove the notion that stronger security and scrutiny and improved performance are mutually exclusive, so don’t peddle paranoia, push progress and prove how safer cyber can boost your customers performance and your standing with them.

Integrating much stronger safety into aircraft design and manufacturing and security controls at airports was a boon for the airline industry…….. why can’t it work for us!