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Security is not just an expensive add-on

by Tom Shadbolt , 15.06.2015

The internet has undeniably revolutionized how businesses operate, engage with their customers and bring their products to market. From sole traders to large multinationals, IT is at the heart of every business function, raising the question of risk (and therefore security) that has found itself at the vanguard of C-level decision making.

Cyber-security has rarely been out of the news over the last twelve months with Sony, Target & Anthem Inc. all suffering high-profile data breaches. It is evident that these are not isolated cases – PWC reported that businesses had recorded 42.8m security breaches in 2014, representing a 1000% increase over 2009 . The massive increase in scale of threat has been clearly reflected in worldwide information security spending, exceeding $71bn in 2014.

Security at the heart of every technology purchase

With both the number and sophistication of threats increasing rapidly, decision makers have had to re-evaluate how they perceive the role of security in their business. As a result security has become a key consideration for every technology purchase decision – a far cry from the traditional perceptions of security as an expensive add-on, running independently from existing infrastructure and interfering with business function. The focus has shifted from how to secure a new purchase, to whether a potential new purchase fits into existing security infrastructure, if the answer to this question is no then purchase becomes far less likely.

A number of technology providers have recognized this shift and as a result have championed security as a key point of product difference, the enterprise mobile device management (MDM) market being a case in point. BlackBerry has sustained strong market share (while corporate device sales have declined) by maintaining its status as the gold standard for enterprise security, ensuring that security is at the forefront of every service offering. Samsung conversely has come at the issue from a different angle, successfully increasing market share within the corporate mobile device market while at the same time acknowledging the limitations of device security on open platforms by introducing Samsung Knox – a service which is strongly led by its security proposition.

As highlighted in our white paper ‘B2B purchase decision making’, the ability of vendors to influence the purchase decision making process has gradually declined, with power shifting into the hands of the buyer. Security is one such example of decisions being driven by business need, and it is clear that vendors must meet this vital need to get a seat at the table when decisions are made.

How can vendors adapt to this change?

•    Security must be a USP for all product offerings
Security credentials can no longer be seen as an expensive ‘add-on’ and must be an integral part of every product offering. Neglecting security will ensure that products are not considered – regardless of other features.

•    Vendors must talk the language of decision makers
Decision makers demand that a product or service that is connected to their network and the outside world must be 100% secure, vendors must show that they understand this and their audience.

•    Solutions must integrate into existing security infrastructure seamlessly
While security is more of a priority, solutions can not impede business function. Making sure solutions can integrate with common infrastructure will aid success when it comes to purchase decisions.

•    Worldwide attitudes to security are fragmented
Although it is apparent that the attitude of developing and frontier markets regarding security is catching up fast, prioritization around security is not consistent. The process of technology ‘Leapfrogging’ to mobile first infrastructure means that the prioritization of security in decision making will become increasingly relevant. Making sure that products & services in these markets reflect this will be key to future growth in developing markets.

Please contact tom.shadbolt@gfk.com for more information on our security insights expertise. This blog post first appeared in IT Channel Expert.