Earlier this year, I attended the RSA Conference on behalf of a client, and met with a number of established and emerging cybersecurity companies to see how they differentiate and position themselves in this highly competitive space. I expected to see a lot of creative marketing campaigns for cybersecurity at the show, but almost every company seemed to have very similar messaging.
For such a hot industry with hundreds of firms competing in the marketplace, the need for differentiation is critical. Simply promoting the concept that companies need cybersecurity is almost as passé as telling them that they need a website. Letting prospects know how a cybersecurity company’s services can better protect clients’ data is where messaging should focus. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case across much of this industry.
The same can be said of many of the cybersecurity industry’s content marketing programs.
Given the exponential growth in the cybersecurity services sector, there’s probably no better time to be a marketing professional at a cybersecurity firm. However, when it comes to content creation, many of these companies need to start thinking outside of the traditional realm and instead address emerging technologies.
Almost every cybersecurity provider has a wealth of content available on their core solutions. Primary cybersecurity service models revolve around various levels of penetration testing to detect network vulnerabilities, risk mitigation practices to reduce liabilities, compliance, data protection, payment fraud, account takeover, and monitoring and prevention against general cyberattacks. Yet when it comes to newer technologies, there is a growing need for new and innovative thought leadership.
While emerging digital technologies are exciting on both the consumer and business fronts, there are few adequate safeguards available to ensure these technologies are being implemented safely. Cybersecurity providers can demonstrate greater value and leadership by creating unique new perspectives on how brands can leverage the latest technology trends safely and securely.
Here are a few examples of emerging technologies that cybersecurity companies can address in order to stand out from the competition:
Last week’s launch of Pokémon Go creates an excellent opportunity for IT security providers to educate businesses on the dangers of augmented reality. The game has Pokémon characters which “appear” in different real-world locations via the player’s GPS and camera, so that it feels as if the player is encountering them in real life. In its first week, the app almost surpassed Twitter in the number of active users on Android and is already more popular than Tinder.
Although Pokémon Go is not the first example of augmented reality (Google Glass was among the first AR products, but has yet to really take off), it is the most successful wide scale launch and deployment to date. Some savvy businesses are already finding creative ways to capitalize on the game’s success. Unfortunately, there is a tremendous security vulnerability as the game requires full access to the player’s entire Google account in order to play, creating a potential goldmine for hackers.
ARML, the markup language used to create AR apps, doesn’t have the universal security standards used to build mobile apps or web pages. This makes it easy for malware to enter the user’s environment. So while you’re catching Pikachu in Pokémon Go, you might also be catching a virus.
In the past, businesses leaned on cybersecurity firms to develop more efficient ways of protecting their Wi-Fi and payment transactions. Cybersecurity companies should now be taking the lead on new technologies with best practices and the content they need to prepare their businesses for AR, and/or the risks it poses to their network by unassuming employees. This content can easily be delivered in the form of blog posts, white papers and tip sheets on how to use augmented reality safely and securely.
Unlike augmented reality, virtual reality is a completely virtual world that users can view and interact with by wearing a helmet or goggles. Many consider 2016 to be the year of virtual reality with the popularity of Oculus Rift at CES and other devices.
VR initially started as a device to redefine gaming, but it’s also redefining how we look at parks, entertainment and even the retail shopping experience.
While businesses are certain to jump on virtual reality’s popularity, many are going to do so without understanding the risks of adopting this technology.
Many of the benefits of VR such as finding nearby deals or directions come in exchange for personal info such as the user’s email, date of birth and home address. However, many of the apps don’t have adequate protection to prevent against an attack. This means hackers can steal that information and sell it on the Dark Web or install various types of malware on users’ devices.
Another potential risk is that hackers might use a device to change their avatar to impersonate another user or change the environment so users are tricked into providing a criminal with valuable credit card information.
This is an area that has gone largely untouched by the cybersecurity industry. Given that cybersecurity and retail are two industries that need each other, there is a perfect opportunity to help stores create a new customer experience without compromising network security.
Many cybersecurity firms have red teams (cybersecurity experts who simulate attacks on businesses), which have gained popularity beyond penetration testing to help improve physical and network security operations. Cybersecurity companies need to better differentiate their red team service offerings to address both current and new technology trends. Once again, there seems to be a lack of pertinent content addressing how red teams fit into a comprehensive cybersecurity solution.
Not only will this type of content be interesting for potential prospects to read, it also has a higher likelihood of generating leads since it is ahead of the curve. Being that most retailers have yet to implement virtual reality, now is the time to address security issues so that it can be built into future plans.
By offering content that addresses these two emerging technologies, cybersecurity providers can further differentiate their service offerings from their competition while positioning themselves as thought leaders. Even though many potential customers aren’t fully ready to adopt AR and VR technologies, they are trending technologies that are of great interest for future deployment. By producing compelling content on these trends early in the adoption cycle, cybersecurity companies can gain exposure and build mindshare with prospective clients even if they never deploy AR or VR. Using these and other trending technologies to develop content is simply a good marketing strategy.
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