Matt Tomlinson, international sales manager at MIS Corporate Defence Systems, claims security software is much more than a necessary evil.
All too often, a security product that has been correctly specified and successfully delivered is not fully realised, because the customer and its users don't entirely understand what it can deliver.
It's a common misconception that security software is either a distressed purchase, because a network has been compromised, or an associated purchase, where someone else's network has been compromised. Either way, no one wants to invest in security even though they need it.
But the security market is not just about the software, or even its successful implementation. It's not that products are too complicated to install or operate, it's that the opportunity for true value-added sales lies in understanding what the customer requires and selecting the correct applications to fulfil its criteria.
Security products are perceived as a necessary evil, one which prevents a network manager from purchasing another 20 PCs. More often than not, a purchase is motivated by a reaction to an immediate problem - maybe an email has infected the network. So why is the decision not focused on securing the 20 PCs already on the network rather than on buying another 20?
Put simply, the common perception of business value is that 20 more PCs will double the productivity of the business. This may be a fair assumption.
However, the true value lies in enhancing the efficiency of the current machines rather than in heightening their inefficiency and increasing the workload of the helpdesk.
Security is a business enabler. It is more effective to pre-empt situations than act after the system has been compromised. The dealer can play an integral role by auditing a network and creating a security policy enforced by strategic placement of the correct tools. The market is starting to accept this and the 'black art' of security is now being seen for what it truly is - a tool to help organisations run more efficiently, while taking advantage of existing technology in a more cost-effective manner.
E-commerce has a lot to thank the security market for, because cost-effective communication via the internet is only possible with high levels of authentication and encryption. To a business, this can mean a large initial investment.
However, the return is immediate in terms of the peace of mind that comes from supplying important documents securely in real-time.
The responsibility ultimately lies with the distributor, to educate the market, and the Var, to sell product that has true business value rather than forcing expensive tools on begrudged IT managers making a distressed purchase. It's as simple as positioning security as an everyday business enhancer that can have a dramatically positive effect on any bottom line.
If security continues to be viewed with hysteria, it will never truly get off of the ground. If this remains the case, the market will simply be encouraging reactive purchases rather than positive ones. Security should be recognised as a business driver rather than as a necessary afterthought.
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