November 24, 2020 Cybersecurity

Selling Your Cybersecurity: Marketing Your Strategy As A Competitive Advantage

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If you work with SUCCESS, you know we never pass up an opportunity to stress the importance of a robust cybersecurity program. Regardless of your organization’s size or field, we believe it’s imperative to take a holistic, ongoing, proactive, and multi-faceted approach to cybersecurity.

If that’s a message you’ve already taken to heart and implemented throughout every level of your business—we commend you (and if you don’t know where to even begin, SUCCESS is here to help you get started).

But you also probably know that your cybersecurity program isn’t a set-it-and-forget it affair; your strategy needs to evolve and pivot to keep pace with current threats. Likewise, once you have the proper security framework and infrastructure in place, we want to make sure you’re using it to its greatest potential, and that means leveraging an often overlooked benefit: cybersecurity as a strategic asset.

“Too often we think about cybersecurity as a risk-mitigation factor and another expense line,” says SUCCESS Vice President of Business Development Brent Morris. “And the truth is, this is protection of the bottom line. If you care about your profit the way you profess to, using cybersecurity as an asset is the way you do it.”

Who needs cybersecurity?

That’s a trick question, and the answer, as we’ve established time and time again, is “everyone.” Cybersecurity isn’t just about HIPPA compliance and compromised credit cards. If you have employees or customers or pay taxes or use the internet, you need a cybersecurity plan, bar none.

“A lot of companies say: ‘I don’t have anything worth stealing, I’m too small, there are bigger fish to fry,’” says Brandon Nohr, chief technology officer at SUCCESS. “If you have employees, clients, or accept payment, you have data that needs to be protected.”

But having a cybersecurity strategy in place is the bare minimum, and thinking of your cybersecurity as a mere line-item relegated to the IT budget is an outdated mode of thinking.

The first step in re-imagining your cybersecurity strategy, then, is to think of it not only as a necessity, but as a key asset that can give you an edge over your competitors.

“Many larger businesses are requiring that their vendors or suppliers are able to articulate that they have proper security measures in place, and for the ones that do, they’re positioned in a more effective way to earn that business or to be a favorite supplier,” Morris says.

Why (and how) should I market my cybersecurity to my customers?

While only some of your customers may ask directly about your cybersecurity protocols, all of your customers benefit from your cybersecurity vigilance. Are you able to define your cybersecurity measures in a way that gives them confidence, but doesn’t reveal too much to potential bad actors? The time to build this trust with your customer base is before anything happens.

When you’re marketing your cybersecurity efforts to customers, it’s also important to not over-promise with empty language. Your communication strategy should emphasize that you take all necessary proactive precautionary measures, but also that you have a plan for recovery in the event of a breach.

“We need to plan for this like any other risk and assume it’s going to happen, and we need to be prepared for it,” Nohr says.

Regardless of your industry, brand trust and brand loyalty are key to any business’s success, and once that trust is broken it can take years to rebuild. Just think of how you would feel if your favorite restaurant caused an outbreak of food poisoning—it might take you quite some time to feel comfortable ordering from that restaurant again. A breach in payment data can leave your customers feeling violated and cause them to take their business elsewhere, unless you’re able to reassure them that you have things under control.

As you can see, when leveraging your cybersecurity as an asset, it’s important to strike a balance; emphasize your vigilance, educate your customers about their role in security measures, and have a plan for swift communication and recovery in the (likely) event that a breach ever happens.

What to look for in a MSP’s cybersecurity services

For those of you who partner with a managed service provider for your IT or cybersecurity needs, you can see that that their ability to articulate their security approach has a direct impact on how you’re able to relay your plan to your customers, so it’s important to do your research.

“You can’t buy security,” stresses Nohr. “It’s something that’s learned over time, there’s a discipline to it. And you can’t insure it away. There’s no amount of insurance that’s going to protect you or protect your brand.”

While there are a number of established security frameworks—NIST, IASME, CIS, etc.—what’s most important is not which of these frameworks your MSP uses, but that they adhere to one.

“When you evaluate vendors coming in, you should be evaluating that they at least have a plan that adheres to some of these frameworks,” Nohr says.

At SUCCESS, for example, we’re able to bring both a breadth and depth of cybersecurity expertise to the table. Our Security Operations Center is staffed with highly certified ethical hackers and certified information security professionals. In fact, our approach has led to SUCCESS being named a CRN Top 100 Security Provider.

Interested in learning more about how to put your cybersecurity to work as a strategic asset? Contact us at 763-593-3000 today to learn more about how we can proactively manage your cybersecurity strategy.