The pandemic has led to an outbreak of cybercriminal activity focused on remote workers and enterprises that needed to quickly migrate to the cloud to maintain business continuity. More than 3,100 phishing and counterfeit websites were created each day in January. By March, that figure exceeded 8,300. Communication and collaboration phishing sites also grew by 50% from January to March.
For enterprises caught off guard, security vulnerabilities were further exposed and the need to protect a remote workforce accelerated. With home security often not as robust as in the office, hackers target workers’ devices to gain an easier path into the enterprise, all while a security team struggles to prevent attacks with a skeleton crew.
Complicating matters, sales of complex cybersecurity software and services, and training of users and partners, have traditionally been a very high-touch, hands on process. As much as businesses are slowly reopening, decision-makers and workers alike have seen the time and cost savings of remote, so it’ll become much more common and face-to-face interactions less so.
So, how are cybersecurity software providers going to bridge those personal gaps when no-touch is the only option and will become more prominent in the future? How can staff effectively create and show demos and proofs-of-concepts (PoCs) that are engaging for the sale of complex cybersecurity solutions? How will they deliver the personal attention needed to train users on these advanced tools?
If you’re a security vendor, you’re likely asking yourself the same questions. Here’s some advice to help you find the right approach and tools for getting tangible results in a no-touch business world.
Realistic and simple
In the recent past, on-site demos and PoCs were relied upon to illustrate product value, especially in pre-sales where a hands-on trial can close a deal. For effective education, users require the same experience when training.
The pandemic drove many companies to platforms like Zoom and WebEx, which are fine for general conferencing purposes. But they are limited, and in the cybersecurity world, prospects require heightened engagement. So, always evaluate solutions with two key performance criteria in mind.
Accuracy: You need software to be shown in conditions that rival a prospect’s IT environment. The more realistic, the more decision-makers will be convinced that your solution will overcome their security pain points and introduce benefits.
Simplicity: The ability for a sales or training team to more easily conduct activities increases outreach volume, eliminates friction and accelerates cycles. Complexity eats time and money, and when it discourages external users, adoption stalls and trials are abandoned.
Be sure your teams have technology that will showcase your software realistically and simply.
Low touch, low cost?
Running cybersecurity sales or training activities on-site with dedicated hardware provides an accurate experience for evaluating software as intended, in a prospect’s environment. The problem is, not only is that not possible right now, on-site is costly and difficult to scale. There’s equipment to ship and logistics to be ironed out. A prospect’s IT department needs to grant permission and become involved in setup. Then there’s travel and related expenses.
It’s no secret that security software leaders have wanted to lower customer acquisition and training costs. A low-touch model of engagement with things like video tutorials, personalized sales content and video-enabled demos would streamline cycles. Conferencing and collaboration platforms can also provide a low-touch, simpler means via apps and cloud services.
But low touch and low cost doesn’t necessarily translate into high cost-efficiency. These approaches, again, are limited. They’re simple enough but don’t deliver an accurate, fully engaging experience. And, prospects don’t gain a clear understanding of how it will perform when it finally is deployed into their production environment.
The future is virtual
How can you show, from afar, your cybersecurity software or service in-action, solving real-world problems? How do you put the controls in users’ hands so they can know exactly what you’re talking about?
The best way forward is with virtual labs, which enables versions of actual software to be made available in a virtualized, cloud-based environment mirroring real-world scenarios. Virtual labs can deliver a true experience with your product from anywhere, so long as the user has a browser and internet connection. That also means lowering costs and reducing time in areas from equipment shipping to IT involvement to travel expenses.
Still, not all virtual IT labs are the same. Some haven’t evolved or are regarded as difficult tools used by techies. What cybersecurity software providers need is a “sales acceleration” cloud-based solution with virtual labs that can be easily used by a wider audience, including business leaders, to reduce sales cycles and produce faster results. It should be part of a purpose-built platform, with self-service capabilities, analytics, usage control and more. Other key abilities include automating processes and integration with core business tools.
Cybersecurity software providers don’t have to settle – they can be more agile and engaging, no matter where their people are located. They can increase their competitiveness and overcome no-touch challenges to close those personal gaps. It’s really an opportunity, not just to increase cost-efficiency, but to ensure your company is future-proofed to handle whatever may come next.