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IT Security marketing is different

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IT Security will be crucial for businesses in 2023. The marketing for IT security solutions is a little different although security is often marketed as part of a broader managed service or cloud-based application.

Businesses are funding IT security

The need for IT security is increasing as businesses need to secure more devices and connections. To use the security professionals’ language, the “attack surface” is growing because employees are working from home and their IT teams need to provide secure access so that they can use their devices at home or via public Wi-Fi. This means there are more devices and connections to protect.

Besides ensuring security for corporate users, there are entirely new technology areas to consider: mobile apps, IoT services on free or unlicenced networks, electrical circuits in EVs, the 5G networks and the energy infrastructure.

With so much to defend, no one will be surprised to learn that insurance premiums for cyber attacks have risen. However there is positive news for businesses, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre is promoting greater awareness of cyber threats, and companies are responding. We read that most manufacturing companies have already taken steps to protect their supply chain networks from cyber crime.

IT industry analysts report that enterprises are putting funds behind their cyber security policies, probably because the consequences of an attack can be so devastating. For example, the Lockbit ransomware on Royal Mail’s international parcels service stopped operations completely for several weeks. All this means that the stakes are high for CISOs.

Stories that can’t be told

Companies that provide IT security solutions usually take a different approach to their marketing content. IT security providers don’t have many opportunities to publish contract wins or case studies because IT security needs to operate below the radar. For example, an IT department might test their user communities to see how many employees will fall for a fraudulent email or a phishing scam, and they need to do this with stealth.

If customer stories are too sensitive, there are other content strategies to communicate IT security concepts. There is clearly a large appetite for advice from the IT security community, so marketing content often revolves around education and best practice. Some more ideas:

Marketing IT security products and services

  • Content that educates customers and helps them to protect their IT systems is a good place to start. For example, IT security businesses often discuss topics such as penetration testing, endpoint security and privilege management in their blogs, introducing the latest tools and best practice. There will be several audiences for this advice.
  • One key aim must be to build a sense of trust. I remember one company, a specialist in preventing DDOS attacks, that proudly stated that their country’s most successful hacker had founded their business. In a market sector where so many “poachers turn gamekeeper” who can you trust? I believe that building trust is the top priority for an IT security brand. This is why customer endorsements, industry awards and analysts recommendations are all so important.
  • Case studies can still work well but they can focus on why an organisation chose its vendor, not the nuts and bolts of the solution. The story could describe the decision process and the customers’ endorsements but omit the technical detail.
  • As a smaller business might seek expert help when they are in the middle of an IT security crisis, a service provider might want to state if they are willing to step in to help an organisation that is grappling with an attack.
  • As this market matures, I believe security providers will tend to specialise in particular industries or applications so that they can tailor solutions more finely to customers’ needs. That way they can carve out a stronger market position.

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