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You cant sell security in a recession can you?

Stephen Hopkins | Nov. 12, 2009
Surprising insight into security spending

Fears over data leakage or theft by disgruntled employees is driving companies in all sectors to look at data loss prevention and disk encryption solutions. Spending on big consultancy engagements has reduced, but packaged professional services such as BTs Security Quick Starts are attractive because they give a valuable output in a short timeframe and at a reasonable cost.

Perhaps surprisingly, financial services across the region continues to be a fertile market. For example, Ethical Hacking continues to see consistent demand because of regulatory requirements for regular assessments.

FS firms are traditionally very DIY focused.  However, managed security services such as those that BT offers for management and monitoring of security systems are in-vogue. Why?

IT security is hard work and requires significant investment in people and technology. MSS offers a move from capex to opex models, with predictable patterns of spend and the promise of lower costs through leveraging economies of scale from large providers.

The main hurdle to overcome is ensuring that the cost-to-change (from an incumbent supplier or in-house delivery) doesnt threaten an upfront capex bubble. Services with a light-touch implementation like BTs threat monitoring services (from BT Counterpane) fit the bill perfectly.

The long term

And what of the long term picture? Well, those mothballed projects will still need to be delivered and problems that existed before the slump and are not being addressed today will persist.  

So, security will continue to be a fertile market for companies selling security products and services.  However, expect closer scrutiny born in these tougher economic times to persist when the upswing comes.

Given that security spending is largely geared towards the mitigation of risks, its almost impossible to calculate return on investment to justify its value.

Its better to show how security solutions work towards supporting overall business objectives.  If you can position it as a business-enabling asset, your chances of a successful sale will increase.

Stephen Hopkins is head of business development, business continuity, security and governance practice, BT Asia Pacific.


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