Government Collaboration Comes With a Price


Sanctions levied by the U.S. against the Russian government for tampering with the presidential election includes penalties against three private companies. The measures could have reaching implications on both sides of the world

In 2015, when Western and Russian security vendors were reeling from allegations of cooperating with government intelligence agencies to enable surveillance on private citizens to root out terrorism, The 2112 Group conducted a poll of North American and European solution providers to measure their trust perceptions of their security software partners.

The results were stunning. Solution providers had a clear bias against Eastern vendors, with the majority expressing skepticism and mistrust of non-U.S. and Western European security companies. However, Western security vendors were not off the hook, as their cooperation with government intelligence services tainted their reputations.

Two-thirds of solution providers said they would terminate or would consider terminating a partnership with a security vendor, regardless of their country of origin, if they were found to covertly collaborate with government security agencies. And six out of 10 solution providers said government collaboration negatively impacts a security vendor’s marketability.

We conducted the 2015 poll in the context of security vendors helping the government to snoop on citizens, but the Obama administration’s sanctions against three Russian companies does portent a potential problem: Too close an association with a government could taint reputations, curtail business opportunities and, ultimately, lower sales.

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