Security is many things to your Board of Directors and your IT Managers: a requirement for compliance, a necessary evil, and maybe even a productivity tool or way to prevent HR issues... but very rarely will you hear a conversation about Security as a sales play or "security as a competitive advantage".
But, Security is a competitive advantage. It’s critical in today’s marketplace to have the technologies to correctly analyze problem behaviors, to react quickly in a crisis, or better yet, to proactively handle threats before they bring down an organization.
We know that Security is more than just buying the right tools, it also is having the right team and the correct resources in a pinch to assist when there is a problem - or even to help handle problems before they start.
Security as a Sales Differentiator
Consumers look for specific reasons to purchase one good over another. So when products are equally valued or equally priced, they use other factors to make their purchasing decisions. Consumer confidence is one of those components.
You saw this played out in real time after retail giant Target was hacked; afterwards, people were wary to go to Target and use their credit cards, which lead to a decline in sales. Target was forced to spend millions of dollars in marketing and security costs in order to assure consumers that they were going to be safe. Money that could have gone to other objectives was instead spent on repairing a bad reputation, and paying for consumer credit reporting for those affected by their data breach.
Poor Security Leads to Unnecessary Response Costs
These costs were entirely unnecessary if security was a key tenet or treated as a competitive value by the organization. Now imagine an alternate scenario where Target’s security team analyzed the log data they were seeing, and reacted quickly: they informed management, and prevented the data exfiltration that allowed for leaked credit card information.
In this case, spending money on that would have prevented the reputational damage caused by the leak - and prevented the need to spend money being trying to buy back consumer confidence.
The Competitive Advantage Can Be Yours – or Your Competitor’s
In this case, other organizations benefited from Target's failure. Walmart saw an increase in sales, as did other retailers who specifically competed with Target. We exist in a world where if your consumers aren't buying from you - they are buying from your competitors. Don’t let your lack of security give your customers a reason to take their business to your competitors.
Proper Security Can Increase Productivity
Proper security can not only prevent problems before they start, but can increase productivity in a multitude of other ways. Tools like Application control (when properly configured) can help restore confidence to your developers and marketing teams by giving them control over their own workstations - within limitations.
In another example, allowing or preventing installs on applications based on security policy reduces tickets to the help desk for basic install tasks, which frees up those teams to work on other projects more likely to bring in actual revenue.
In another case, properly configured server architecture scans means your server team doesn't have to deal with issues of downtime as frequently in order to run a scan, and frees up resources to handle other issues – all while maintaining security postures.
The list goes on, but the truth is the amount of money spent on security, when spent effectively, can free up other departments and allow for a business to thrive in a landscape that is becoming more and more tumultuous.
COVID-19 taught us the lesson that being unprepared for an emergency situation can mean the difference between a business surviving, or filing bankruptcy. Security is similar: improper security can do harm to a business, perhaps even closing its doors for good due to lost customer confidence, reputational damage, or leaked data resulting in compliance issues or fines.
But besides protecting your data, your customers, and your business from damage, the examples above show that proper information security can also increase your productivity, letting you make the most of your valuable human capital, allowing your business to thrive.
Proper Security is More Than Just Products
Proper security does not end at installing all the right products at all the right layers of your network. Even if you had expert help with the installation, the job doesn’t end there. Proper security means proper configurations, customized policies that fit your organization, ongoing patching and updating to keep your security infrastructure solid as new vulnerabilities and new forms of attack evolve.
With the proliferation of security technologies at every layer of the enterprise, it’s no wonder that IT staff have trouble keeping up to date on all of the technologies in play. Expert assistance from technicians with years of real-world experience can enhance your security posture, free up internal resources for other projects, and give you more eyes and ears watching for indicators of compromise.
The wise business owner will seek to leverage those key resources who can not only make recommendations, but actually implement them for you. If this is a need in your business today, just remember, we’re here to help.
Will your security – or lack thereof – be a competitive advantage for you? Or for your competition?
The choice is yours.