Why Security Transformation Must Extend Beyond IT

September 1, 2017

IT Security Cells

Over the last few weeks, we’ve championed thought leadership, member voices, and marketing strategies that tackle dynamic conversations around the imperative business implications of security. But consider this, by the time you finish this paragraph, there will likely be upwards of half a million open security-related job postings on LinkedIn — and nearly 4 million security professionals on the platform. As evident by these numbers, and those from ISACA, Cisco, and Stanford, it’s clear that demand for security talent and expertise is at a record high, and climbing.

But when it comes to marketing security and cybersecurity solutions, many struggle to effectively engage and persuade colleagues and cross-functional partners of IT and security professionals — those with, arguably, more influence and purchase authority. There are a few reasons for this.

First, marketers oftentimes fail to acknowledge that security is a critical issue for everyone — from the board and C-suite to those in business development, operations, corporate communications, and, ultimately, IT. This is because the enterprise today, more digital than ever, is vulnerable across multiple touch-points and functional groups. This leads to increased attention on prioritizing and protecting information. In fact, when breaches occur, operations and finance functions are most likely to be affected (36 percent and 30 percent, respectively), followed by brand reputation and customer retention (both at 26 percent), according to Cisco’s 2017 Capabilities Benchmark Study. So, while IT might be on the front lines of patching and bounty-hunting, those affected by hacks feel the business impact just as much.  

Even on LinkedIn, when it comes to the topic of security on our platform, those in business development functions make-up the largest engaged audience — respectively followed by sales, IT, and engineering. And, interestingly enough, those in military and protective services functions are the most engaged audience — 2.6X more so than the average member.*

Second, taking all this into consideration, it’s tough to rally multiple stakeholders, voices, and opinions pertaining to protecting the enterprise. But, unifying the buying committee is a challenge worth rising to — and doing so is paramount to success. Bringing this to life, Harvard Business Review recently revealed that the majority of cybersecurity buyers are not on the same page, noting:

  • 50% of executives believe the reason an attack would succeed is due to employee error, compared to only 30% of ITDMs.

  • 80% of executives believe cybersecurity to be a significant challenge facing their business, while only 50% of ITDMs agree.

  • Executives cite the cost amount of a cyber breach to the tune of $5.9M, while ITDMs estimate it’s closer to $27M.

Also, while nearly all major reports on security and cybersecurity cite the CIO as leading today’s charge when it comes to digital initiatives, a recent Forbes Insight analysis captured that 72% of CIOs today believe that LOB managers must take a greater role in developing and partnering on security strategies. Conversely, the same report found that 80% of security professionals agree or strongly agree that collaboration is critical when it comes to a vendor’s content and messaging.

If you want to take action and market for success, truly make an effort to bring the buying committee together — from those on the frontlines to implementers, budget holders, and internal communicators. Here are a couple of ways to do so:

  • Showcase how your solution demands fewer staff resources

  • Demonstrate your ability to act as a team player and integrate with other vendors

  • Communicate advances to protect against new threats

  • Help customers meet legal, compliance, and audit requirements

  • Illustrate how your products work together to provide a stable infrastructure

  • Make it easy for varying decision-makers to build a business case for your solution

On LinkedIn, the world’s professionals come together seeking knowledge – making it the logical platform to find, engage, unify, and learn more about all members of your buying audience. Whether it’s industry news, expert advice, professional learning, peer recommendations and insights, or influencers, the security conversation is alive and well. In fact, the largest cybersecurity group (out of 1,200+ others) has 87,000 members alone.

In addition to these resources, there are over a dozen profiled security jobs on LinkedIn that include comprehensive summaries of the top talent, companies, skills, articles, and resources related to professionals in security, network security, security engineers, cyber security, information security, security risk-management, security architecture, security analysis, security management, security technicals, and security leadership. We’ve also curated leading on-platform trends of the security audience in an earlier post, Marketing Through the Lens of U.S. Network Security & Computer Networking Pros.

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* Based upon Linkedin / DataSift data, August 2017