By Fernando Quintero
It’s that time of the year again: Security vendors, media and researchers are coming out with lists of the best and worst things that happened over the last 12 months, and predictions for the coming year. These are entertaining, but not really useful. If you want to get a real security conversation started, ask your customers about their 2014 security plans.
Generally, security planning lacks in all businesses. Large enterprises often have security plans and policies, but don’t always have the resources or governance to ensure comprehensive application. Small businesses have neither the awareness nor the resources to develop and implement security plans.
This lack of and shortcomings in security planning are opportunities for security solution providers. Rather than reciting the laundry list of data points from the best and worst of lists, or trying to scare customers into buying by recounting the latest and greatest security breach, solution providers should simply ask, “What are your security plans for 2014?”
You’d be surprised how many companies don’t have a security plan, or aren’t even concerned about security risks. This is particularly true in the SMB segment (100 to 250 employees), which is expected to be the source of IT sales growth in 2014.
According to StaySafeOnline.org, 83 percent of SMBs do not have a formal security plan. Worse, 77 percent erroneously believe their company is safe from cyberattacks and data compromises. And six in 10 are unprepared to recover from a security breach.
Statistics like these are roadmaps for security solution providers to find opportunity and extend value to the end customer. Rather than asking a customer if it has data loss prevention (DLP), or if it has considered upgrading to a next-generation firewall, it’s better to first ask what they consider their state of security, where they perceive their gaps and what investments they’re planning.
The answers will provide a gap analysis on the fly. You can quickly ascertain whether a customer is taking security seriously, where they are making good bets, and whether they’re missing important layers of protection.
The truism remains unshaken: Most businesses do not think about security until it’s too late. They don’t act or invest in security technologies until they’ve suffered a compromise, data corruption or regulatory lapse.
Now, here’s where all those wonderfully entertaining lists become useful again. For laggards who believe themselves infallible and are in denial over the need for a security plan, you can pull out the data points and antidotes to validate your planning assertions.
Good security starts with a good plan. Selling security technology starts with understanding of whether your customer has a plan and how good it is.
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Fernando Quintero is vice president of channel sales and operations for the Americas. He is responsible for McAfee’s partner relationships as well as building strategies related to sales, marketing, operations and profitability, while promoting product and services growth for more than 10,000 partners in the region. His focus and proven understanding of the channel, specifically around partner engagement, value-based productivity, speed of execution and agility, have marked his career with a consistent track record of achievements around the entire partner experience and adoption of McAfee’s products. He has been with McAfee since 2002, holding key sales management positions. Quintero previously served as McAfee’s channel director for the Latin America region.
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