Here are three smart ways to start the conversation about cybersecurity.

July 17, 2018

5 Min Read


**Editor’s Note: Read our list of 20 top antivirus software providers offering products and services via channel partners.**

By Julie Dzubay, VP of Sales Operations, WTG, and Channel Partners Editorial Adviser

Security, simple? Before you start commenting on every social-media platform that I don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain. While defining and implementing a security solution for a client is an extremely complex process, there’s no reason you can’t initiate the security conversation.

Need some stats to get you in the door? A recent SonicWall midyear update to its 2018 Cyber Threat Report revealed a dramatic increase in cyberattack volume. SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers recorded almost 6 billion malware attacks during the first two quarters of 2018. At this same point in 2017, SonicWall logged fewer than 3 billion. Ransomware is up 229 percent so far this year, and the security supplier says cryptojacking – botnets that harness unsuspecting victims’ compute power to mine cryptocurrency – is taking off.

Meanwhile, a new report by analyst firm GlobalData shows that companies globally spent a combined $114 billion on security products – both hardware and software – and services in 2017. By 2021, that figure is expected to exceed $140 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent. Spending on services accounted for 68 percent of total spending in 2017, and this share will remain relatively steady through 2021, despite the CAGR of the services segment being outstripped by that of products, according to GlobalData.

Statistically, 80-plus percent of the businesses we talk to indicate that their focus on security today is either moderately or significantly higher than in the past, and they expect that to continue over the next two years.

If you haven’t yet started the discussion about security best practices with your client base, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Use publicly available data to your advantage: Sites that IT and channel pros frequent, like Channel Partners and its sister site Dark Reading, have constant news about emerging threats — cyberattacks, hacker collectives, breaches, ransomware, adware and more; however, don’t assume that your clients see this coverage. They’re busy reading up on information directly relevant to their businesses and expect you to be monitoring trade news and curating the information relevant to them.

For example, Dark Reading just reported that the SANS 2018 Survey on Endpoint Protection and Response showed that traditional tools are simply no longer sufficient to detect cyberattacks targeting endpoints. The data shows antivirus systems detected endpoint compromise only 47 percent of the time. To really detect these attacks, customers need newer tools, such as endpoint detection and response platforms like those available through partners from suppliers like Cylance or CounterTack. SANS is a trusted, independent authority, so use stories like this to your advantage. Send an email to your client base with the current news headline and state: “Even if you haven’t found a breach, it’s likely that one of your endpoints is infected. Give me a call to talk about options available to assist you in increasing awareness.”

Remind them that “compliant” doesn’t equal “secure,” but it’s a start: GDPR has been all over the news, but regulations including HIPAA, PCI, FISMA and SOX, as well as state-level laws, are also affecting customers. Look at which verticals you serve, determine which regs are important to these customers, and use well-publicized stories of big fines to open the discussion about compliance audit prep, a service you can partner up to deliver. Then pivot to …

… other security services that go beyond just doing the minimum.

Bundle security with cloud migration. Clients are looking to take advantage of new cloud offerings, and that requires security planning for the new technology as well as identifying the security gaps that are created from disparate old technologies that will no longer integrate. Just because a service is running in the cloud doesn’t mean the customer is absolved of responsibility — they need to understand the concept of shared responsibility. As you are discussing new cloud offerings, include a threat assessment check as part of the network and infrastructure evaluation so the client can see their current risk levels associated with each component of the infrastructure.

As to services, partners have a number of options to sell end-user security training. This is a critical function that is often overwhelming to stretched IT staff, who end up prioritizing patches and other security updates.  Approach your clients and ask them if they have the opportunity to train employees on the latest cyber offerings.

At this point you are saying, “Great Julie, I have opened the door, now what do I do?!”

I know that a lot of us are not certified IT security professionals, but there are so many providers in our industry that make these resources available. They are providers we know and like to work with, and their security professionals want to team up with you to provide individual solutions for your clients. Reach out to your master agency for recommendations or to your provider contacts.

Security sales: The door is open, the opportunity is there. Talk to your clients; they will thank you for it!

Julie Dzubay is vice president of sales operations for WTG. Her responsibilities include managing WTG’s sales organization and strategically driving partner and supplier relationships. Previously, Dzubay worked with Electric Lightwave/Integra Telecom as director, channel sales operations and development. She was also senior director of customer retention as well as director of product and market development at Eschelon Telecom. She’s also a member of the 2018-2019 Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board.

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