Security. Everyone is talking about it and everyone claims they are following guidelines and securing their data, but I am still consistently being asked the same question from partners, "where do I start?" Everyday partners hear about various vendors and solution portfolios, but they’re still struggling with the best way to broach the subject with end-users. There is concern that using various statistics about the importance of security comes off as a scare tactic, and understandably that’s not the way they want to be perceived by their customers.
The Ugly Truth
First and foremost, security is a not a product or even a solution, it’s a mindset. A mindset that starts at the top of an organization and cascades down to the various silos that make it run; these folks at the top understand the “ugly truth” regarding security:
- You are never 100% secure
- Education is key
- Trust nothing; verify everything
- Everyone is vulnerable
Unless a customer shares a like mindset regarding security, you will likely have a challenging road ahead of you. But, educating customers and prospects on the current state of security and where their risks and vulnerabilities lie, will get them (and you) headed down the right path.
The biggest vulnerability most companies experience is simple human error by the end-user. Other common vulnerabilities include:
- Outdated Patching Attacks
- Weak Passwords
- Phishing Attacks
Where to Start
Where do you begin as a partner? Sure, there are a lot of solutions, but just because the solutions exist, doesn’t give you an automatic win. If you present your customer with a laundry list of security solutions, it will more than likely result with your customers’ eyes glazing over.
Start by simply educating your customers about the marketplace. More than likely, they are overwhelmed and/or confused by the number of solutions out there. By bringing clarity to what they should be doing as best practices and assessing their environment, your value to them—as well as their trust in you—will grow. First though, you need to familiarize yourself with your clients’ assets—their age, strengths, weaknesses, etc.; this gives you the foundation you need to move forward with them.
A few simple suggestions you can share to ease your customer into the security conversation:
- Keep them educated about the security marketplace
- Password Resets every 90 days
- Passwords should have strong requirements (e.g. Uppercase/lower case, symbols, min length, etc.)
- Network Segmentation
- For example, keeping their financial information separate from the rest of the network (either physically or virtually)
- Dual-Factor Authentication
- An additional piece of information unique to each user required during the login process (e.g. after entering a password, the end user receives a text message with a verification code to type into the login in portal, thus making it more difficult to hack)
As they begin to understand that adding security measures is in the best interest of the business, establishing yourself as a source of valuable and reliable information about security will go a long way to cementing you as the “go to” person for any security concerns and can eventually lead to a steady revenue stream. Once established, you can then begin more in-depth conversations with security experts and other ways to keep their business secure. This is where your investment in their business begins to pay off.
- Educating employees about best practices and biggest threats (phishing, malware, etc.)
- Surface-level information could lead to a conversation in which your expertise is utilized to educate and/or create policies, which could be a commoditized service.
- Help your customers create a security policy (this is a service that you can charge for, but you may also offer it as a value-add if they are purchasing security solutions from you)
- Establish roles and responsibilities
- Decide who has access to what (data, content, applications, etc.) and from where, when and on what device they can have access.
A Few Final Notes
Unfortunately, sales opportunities don’t often fall into our laps; we must be out chasing them down and ferreting them out. I can’t stress enough how much I believe that creating a go-to-market strategy is one of the best ways to ensure success. If you’re not promoting your knowledge or solution, how do your customers know that they should lean on you for their cyber security needs? As I mentioned earlier, by starting a conversation with your clients around security and their concerns, they will look to you as a trusted partner to potentially support their security needs.
As you’re aware, a solid security infrastructure must cover all bases within an organization, from people to processes and policies to technology. You are not on this journey alone! TBI has numerous resources available to you, not just in training, but in marketing, operations and engineering too.
- TBI Marketing: Of all the additional resources TBI offers, the marketing team is by far one of the most valuable.
- Engage the team for a website audit to more concisely message your brand and value to your customers and prospects.
- Engage the team to create (and execute!) a marketing plan for security—or any other solution—from email to social media to customizable content.
- TBI Solution Engineers: Once you've identified a client ready to invest in a security solution, a Solution Engineer can get involved to understand environments, discuss solutions and determine who best to engage for a cyber security strategy.
Of course, growing your revenue and continually solidifying the relationships you worked so hard to build is the foundation to expanding your business now and into the future. The need for security solutions isn’t going anywhere. By ensuring you have the most current information and access to the best solutions for their business, you are positioning yourself—and your customers—for continued success in the years to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Senior Director of Sales for the Midwest, Marco leads a channel sales team in the central region to initiate and develop successful partnerships. He assists in relationship building with strategic business development and alignment of TBI resources to expand partners' technology portfolios with a goal of increasing value to the end-user. Marco is also committed to keeping abreast of what's going on in the marketplace and ensuring it is always top-of-mind within his network. You can reach Marco at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn.