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Cybersecurity Marketing: At What Point Does It Become Lying?

Guest Author: J.P. Roe, Marketing Director at Your Sales Energy

If there’s one word you’ll hear me bring up over and over again in marketing discussions, it’s “authenticity”.

Be true to yourself when you’re marketing your business. Be true to your capabilities, your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not honest and authentic, there’s a fine line you begin to cross where you may find yourself actually lying to your prospects to get deals.

There’s no better example of this in the MSP space right now than in the realm of cybersecurity.

MSPs are being actively encouraged to exaggerate their cybersecurity capabilities in order to close contracts. The high-profile marketing gurus who are recommending this behavior aren’t actually telling MSPs to be dishonest, but what they are doing is pretty close.

They’re teaching MSPs how to sidestep their own limitations and use marketing speak to convince prospects that they are perfectly capable of providing cybersecurity (whether or not they have the credentials, knowledge, or wherewithal to do so). In other words, they’re teaching how to misrepresent your business to dupe consumers.

This may sound like a harsh appraisal, but it’s a harsh reality. When MSPs are encouraged to overstate their cybersecurity capabilities, it doesn’t just put them and their clients at risk. It puts our entire industry at risk.

The judgemental spotlight is already on the IT Channel. We have state representatives and business writers pointing fingers at MSPs every other week because they failed to stop a breach or a phishing attack and their customers suffered.

Every MSP is taking flak. Collective reputations are being damaged, and the public is starting to think that MSPs don’t know jack about preventing cyber attacks.

That being said, it’s incredibly irresponsible for anyone to proliferate the notion that your actual cybersecurity knowledge and capabilities should take a back seat to your marketing.

Sure, you can “promote” your way into more cybersecurity deals. You can “build trust” instead of building up your security posture, but at the end of the day, you’re just improving your ability to sell snake oil. You can’t build a trustworthy brand out of smoke and mirrors. Those who tell you to do so are not looking out for your best interests.

Such people are only concerned with getting you more leads so they can feel like they’ve done their job. If that means stretching the truth, what do they care? When your MSP comes under fire for over promising and under delivering — like what happened with Involta — they can walk away.

You can’t.

My suggestion is to take information security seriously and the marketing advantages will follow. That’s why our MSP growth agency works so closely with MSP Overwatch. Jason Rorie’s program actually gets you into a position where your MSP is more secure than any of your competitors. And it gives you the ability to prove it by putting third-party accreditation and huge runbooks of evidence at your fingertips.

I can assure you that the MSP with this kind of proof is going to annihilate any competitor that doesn’t have it, regardless of how good their marketing may be. Our agency helped make sure of it.

You want to build trust? Actual trust is earned, and this is how you do it. Not with smooth words and clever marketing, but with actual cybersecurity prowess that speaks for itself.


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