Why every Canadian partner needs to add security to the mix

Canadian partners need to talk more about safety. With individuals and organizations forced to adapt to extraordinary challenges this year, the demand and urgency of modern security solutions has reached historic levels. Cybercrime represents a clear and present danger in Canada and worldwide. No individual or organization is immune. This post shares facts about the threat landscape, explores how to communicate safety effectively, and offers resources to build your security knowledge and skills.

Safety. Safety is a powerful emotional benefit – a state of mind and body – created by the absence of disruption, harm, and loss. In our context, the security, privacy, and compliance solutions and practices you deploy for your clients all help create a feeling of safety. That feeling allows them to focus on their objectives and not worry about IT.

Selling safety case studies

Before we get into Microsoft solutions and security practice specialties that inspire confidence and trust, let’s take a moment to look for case studies from the golden age of advertising and branding. Automotive marketing provides us with useful examples of communicating safety, without fearmongering or “going negative.”

Volvo, for instance, famously built an international brand reputation for safety in its clever ads calling out the security features in its design and manufacturing. (Do an image search online for classic print Volvo print ads!) Today, they express their commitment to safety digitally, with beautiful web content.

Michelin used a similar approach with its famous baby-in-the-tire imagery, which appeared in print ads and other touchpoints for years. In an instant, the evocative image of a child reminds potential customers of why they might want to pay a premium for better tires! And, like Volvo, their safety story lives digitally now with compelling educational content.

You can do the same, conceptually at least. That is, find compelling ways to remind potential customers of how cybercrime puts all the precious things they worked so hard for—their intellectual property, data, identities, brand reputation, revenue, and business future—at risk, through no fault of their own. And that cybercriminals don’t discriminate when it comes to business size or industry segment. They go after everyone.

Canadian cybercrime statistics

Make no mistake: In the absence of a modern security strategy and solutions to enable it, Canadian organizations should feel unsafe. Stories about major breaches and phishing scams appear in the news all the time. And research sources, including StatsCan, confirm the rising cybercrime wave.

According to StatsCan:

  • 57 percent of all Canadian Internet users reported experiencing a cybersecurity incident in 2018
  • 21 percent of Canadian businesses were impacted by cybersecurity incidents in 2017—that’s more than 250,000 organizations!
  • Those incidents prevented employees at 54 percent of those companies from carrying out day-to-day works
  • 30 percent of Canadian businesses impacted by cybercrimes reported additional repair or delivery costs (source)

The good news is that Canadian organizations seem widely aware of the threat and willing to spend significant dollars to avoid it. The same StatsCan summary on 2017 reports that 94 percent of Canadian businesses had some sort of level of expenditure to prevent or detect incidents, averaging a whopping $78,000 per organization that year.

For a global perspective of the threat landscape with descriptions of the latest criminal tactics, follow the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report.

This year, 2020, almost every individual suddenly had to work from home, opening the door to more exposure and even higher rates of cybercrime. A widely dispersed workforce using all kinds of devices, systems, and apps to work remotely can make organizations even more vulnerable, especially if they rely on outdated security layers.

Canadian businesses need and want to avoid cybercrimes. As a Microsoft partner, you can help them mitigate risk and protect their interests.

Building a safety story

If you don’t already communicate around safety or security, consider enhancing your brand narrative with a security story. As a partner, your security story can start with Microsoft’s. That is, you can leverage the massive ongoing investment the company makes in security as an integral part of your communication. In fact, you can engage potential customers from a security perspective, offering to a security audit of their IT.

Have you told your customers about the Microsoft 365 compliance center? It provides Microsoft 365 subscribers with a compliance score that calculates risk around data protection and regulatory standards.

Instead of adding security as a separate slide (which makes it feel like an afterthought), consider threading security, privacy, and compliance throughout your sales and marketing materials as a reoccurring theme. Make sure to communicate what Microsoft does, especially in the cloud, to earn its reputation as a global and trusted brand.

Building a security practice

Beyond communication, every partner can build their security skills and knowledge. From defining your focus and value proposition all the way to your pricing, the Microsoft partner playbook on security can walk you through the process of becoming a Microsoft certified security specialist.

Typically, Microsoft partners who specialize in security focus on one of four areas (at least at first):

  1. Identity and access management – to help customers manage access and protect identities and data using behavioural analysis
  2. Threat protection – to help customers protect their organization from cybercrimes and internal threats/errors
  3. Information protection – to help customers enable secure anywhere, anytime access to networks, apps, and data
  4. Security management – to help customers centralize, manage, and monitor their own security operations

Making the most money

As you consider your own partner security specialization journey, remember that not all partner revenue streams are created equally. Like so many other areas of the Microsoft partner economy, the highest gross margin projects result from packaged intellectual property.

As the IDC ebook points out, Microsoft partners who create and market their own intellectual property, such as branded software, devices, or solutions, make the highest profit margins.

Get the security playbook!

Get briefed on the security opportunity. The free Microsoft Practice Development Playbook for Security is designed to help you understand how to develop and deploy comprehensive security offerings through Microsoft 365. Learn:

  • How to define your value proposition and offerings
  • What skills and capabilities you need, and how to hire and train a qualified team to support every aspect of your business
  • How to get your project off the ground, maximize efficiency, and fuel growth
  • Best practices for implementing your security solutions and how to troubleshoot problem areas

Get started today! Download the Security playbook and prepare your business for the future.