Security and Privacy: An opportunity, not a threat

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that it is far simpler “selling” things by focusing on the positive aspects, instead of just explaining that risk can be reduced. This is particularly true for Information Security. It also applies to privacy as a concept. A few days ago I had a conversation about the chances organizations have in better selling their software or services through supporting advanced privacy features. The argument was that organizations can achieve better competitive positioning by supporting high privacy requirements.

Unfortunately, this is only partially true. It is true in areas with strong compliance regulations. It is true for that part of the customer base that is privacy-sensitive. However, it might even become a negative inhibitor in other countries with different regulations and expectations.

There are three different groups of arguments for implementing more security and privacy in applications and services:

  1. Security and regulatory requirements – even while they must be met, these arguments are about something that must be done, with no business benefit.
  2. Competitive differentiation – an opportunity; however, as described above, that argument commonly is only relevant for certain areas and some of the potential customers. For these, it is either a must-have (regulations) or a positive argument, a differentiator (security/privacy sensitive people).
  3. Security and privacy as a means for becoming more agile in responding to business requirements. Here we are talking about positive aspects. Software and services that can be as secure as it needs to be (depending on regulations or customer demand) or as open as the market requires allows organizations to react flexibly on demand amid changing requirements.

The third approach is obviously the most promising one when trying to sell your project internally as well as your product to customers.



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