The Evolution of the Security Matrix

by Dan Dunkel - President, New Era Associates

Published in Today's Systems Integrator

The process of selling R.O.I. for products and services within enterprise accounts is primarily (and historically) an IT function. Physical security vendors place less emphasis on this model. Perhaps part of the reason is that some of the benefits of security solutions are less visible, like life insurance. I also think the explanation lies in sales experience.

IT sales organizations are experts at selling the benefits of R.O.I. because these firms have lived through decades of consolidation cycles in technology products. The key factor is positioning cost savings within the context of an enterprise view, magnifying a little value across many departments. The physical security vendors are just starting to learn this lesson. One explanation is proprietary, stand alone product offerings. The larger issue is a channel problem whereby security manufacturers are too far removed from enterprise end users. They lack direct communications with client executives, which would improve both their view of organizational needs and the ultimate competitiveness of their channel partners. By the way, the IT industry established excellent channel distribution while maintaining strong customer relations. Never lose direct customer contact.  The good news for the physical security industry is that deploying an enterprise security policy can leverage your strengths and CSO relationships.

Consolidated R.O.I. is sold high in the organization and valuable once a point product (solution) has established credibility within the customer's enterprise. One example is a video surveillance solution deployed across an enterprise IP network. This application utilizes the corporate storage and networking infrastructure to consolidate multiple vendor solutions. Video images are simply data and part of an enterprise storage management strategy, not a different product for each department managed by various vendors.

This simple example focuses on convergence involving only physical security and IT.  The Enterprise Security Matrix is much larger in scope and importance and takes your business relationship a level higher. It involves all departments and requires multiple security measurements. The old saying, " If you can measure it you can manage it" certainly applies here.  It is about the security group communicating its business value across the enterprise to deploy cost effective security convergence. Equally important it involves convincing the CEO to promote security policy (with IT in a support role) and demanding that line management reiterate the message to all employees. This security focus is critical for worldwide companies in a world that is getting crazier by the day.

Consider corporate supply chains. Today's voluntary requirements in securing supply chains will become mandatory standards following a successful attack impacting the world economy. At that unfortunate moment, I think the way the world views corporate security policy will change significantly. I apologize for this scenario; I simply want to make a larger point.

During the late 90's boom in high tech a funny thing happened in stock valuation. Corporate IT POLICY, its infrastructure of networking, storage, and ecommerce applications, drove stock prices higher. I believe we are approaching the day when corporate SECURITY POLICY measured by performance matrix (MBO's) and R.O.I. will be a significant factor in determining stock value. How secure is the supply chain, intellectual property, international business operations, security ratings by insurance providers, and compliance. At the end of the day deploying enterprise security policy will be an executive priority impacting shareholders, determining convergence strategies, and defining integrator skill sets. How will you add value when deploying security solutions and policy across an enterprise is priority one?  Are you part of an enterprise strategy? Do you speak CEO? Can strategic partnerships make you stronger? Consider your future.

Good luck, Partner and Sell High.