The best thing resellers can offer to customers is expertise.
Customers crave knowledge. They want to know exactly how to protect critical data properly. A reseller's expertise in complex, high-demand technologies - such as encryption - which many companies are now struggling to understand or deploy correctly, is a huge plus both for the reseller and its customers.
Plus, because of a lack of the practical skills needed for implementation in most companies, as well as the know-how, resellers with such knowledge can charge premium consulting rates.
Immersed in technology as we are, it's all too easy to forget how confusing data protection is to the average person. A few will cheerfully admit to being computer illiterate, but many customers know just enough to make resellers feel comfortable about indulging themselves in techo-babble. However, this can result in a client being sold a solution that they don't know how to deploy properly or a reseller could lose the sale because the client just didn't get it.
Experts also often skip over the information that is of most use to non-experts. As an example, the next time a computer virus is on the prowl, skim through the stories covering the problem. Around 99 per cent of the articles will tell people how their machines got infected and what havoc the virus will wreak. Very few, if any, of the stories will tell people what they really want to know - exactly how to purge their machines of the digital plague du jour. Technical professionals are good at terrifying people, but are not as skilled at helping them figure out the nuts and bolts of safe computing.
Right now, Visa International estimates that at least 50 per cent of all retailers were unable to meet the 30 June deadline for compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). All organisations that store, process or transmit credit card payments are required to demonstrate compliance with PCI DSS, a set of basic standards to bolster data security. But payment card issuers were forced to relax the deadline when many merchants reported they'd be unable to meet it.
Merchants have struggled mightily to comply with the standard, but many failed while others gave up in frustration. Having just coped with Chip and PIN they were sure they'd met their responsibilities for the foreseeable future.
But why so much difficulty in complying with what so many in the security industry say are basic, common-sense security measures? Obviously education and expertise is needed. Solution vendors and resellers can do customers a true service by educating them on data security. By clearly explaining how technology, like encryption, works – and how to best deploy it in any given situation, resellers can make data more secure and foster solid relationships with customers. So start sharing what you know.
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