Many security and AV organizations now offer IT products and services in addition to traditional integrated solutions. Providing IT services is a natural fit with many integrator offerings, especially since they commonly work with decision-makers with IT departments. In addition, technicians are becoming IT-centric, deploying devices on networks and utilizing technical skillsets and knowledge.
But there’s an additional component bringing the integrator-IT relationship full circle: cybersecurity. It’s a common link between deploying IP devices for physical security or AV projects and traditional IT services. And it’s on the minds of system integrators and your customers.
Live It, Breathe It, Sell It
An important starting point in cybersecurity is ensuring that your own company has a strong program. Integrators store very sensitive customer information—everything from building plans and device passwords to network infrastructure details. Implementing strong cybersecurity should be a no-brainer: It’s critical in protecting yourself, your reputation, and your customers’ information.
Additionally, your customers realize that providers’ cyber hygiene affects them, so they’ll likely start asking about your practices. Third-party assessments that ask specifics about vendors’ cybersecurity postures are becoming more popular, sometimes meaning the difference between winning and losing a key contract.
To get started, look into an ongoing cybersecurity program and take steps toward improving your cyber hygiene. Once your posture is strong, it’s time to explore the possibility of offering cybersecurity services to your customers.
How Does Cybersecurity Fit with Your Integration Business?
The cybersecurity landscape is shifting, and your customers are beginning to see cybersecurity as a critical issue—one that you can help with.
Here are three good reasons to consider offering cybersecurity:
- Your customers are asking for it. It can be tough to tackle cybersecurity alone, so your customers are starting to look externally for solutions. You’re a trusted advisor and have already installed technology that works with IT systems and on the network. It’s a natural fit to offer cybersecurity, too.
- Cybersecurity means recurring revenue. Piecing together a strong cybersecurity program as a small business can be challenging and expensive, so your holistic solution has real value. An effective cybersecurity program is ongoing and can be offered cost-effectively through monthly payments. With the average cost of a cyberattack to a small business at $120,000, an investment at a fraction of that potential cost pays off.
- It’s a competitive advantage. Your customers want to know that anyone they do business with—that means you—takes security seriously. If you tout your own security posture and offer cybersecurity to customers, it differentiates you from less-innovative competitors that don’t prioritize security. Most haven’t taken the leap yet, so now is the time to make your move.
How to Get Started with Cybersecurity
Effective cybersecurity has lots of components—there isn’t any one product that protects against all threats. Building a strong, simplified cybersecurity program for your customers requires addressing multiple factors:
- Cybersecurity assessments to show where they stand
- Development of policies and procedures to set a business foundation for strong cybersecurity
- Employee education, training, and testing to build a culture of cyber defenders
- Ethical hacking and other technical testing to check for holes and weaknesses
Sound like a lot? It’s okay to start small. Many integrators provide a few products and services to begin with, and then build a comprehensive program with a model for continuous improvement. Another option is to partner with a cybersecurity vendor or company to get a full program up and running quickly and painlessly.
Regardless of your method, you can rest easy knowing that your customers are better protected—all because of you. And that will certainly help keep them by your side. –Rob Simopoulos, Cofounder at Defendify