Why Integrators Shouldn’t Feel Threatened About Embracing Cybersecurity
Discover three steps to get a cyber services practice up and running.
Let me ask you something. Are you growing weary of losing business to those willing to undersell you pricewise, tired of the onslaught of intensified competition from seemingly all angles (newcomers, other trades, DIY), and fed up with eroding margins and the commoditization of security products?
Then it just may be time for you to investigate and seriously consider adding new products and/or services – even those that may seem farfetched or stretch your comfort zone … like cybersecurity.
Before you scoff, read on. A few short years ago scarcely anyone in the electronic security channel paid cybersecurity much mind, let alone entertained the notion of having related products or services be part of their offerings.
“Hold on, just a cotton-picking minute! First you had me having to deal with IP networks and IT folks, then came managed access control and video surveillance, and more recently those newfangled hosted Cloud solutions … for Pete’s sake, ain’t that enough?!”
In truth, much of the dealer/integrator community (almost none of whom actually speak like that) continues to work through those phases at different paces, but the short answer regarding the long term is “No, it is not enough.”
In fact, I submit that the developments detailed above are evidence of an ongoing evolution that will require security integrators to be evermore open to accelerating technological changes, nimble enough to morph as necessary and totally focused on delivering customer-centric solutions.
If that seems too tall an order then email me so I can connect you with people to get your impending exit strategy in order. That’s tough love talking.
Naturally I want all installing security firms (even though that’s not possible, but I am like the doctor hell-bent on saving every patient) to transition and prosper, and SSI is always in your corner as an invaluable resource and bearer of new opportunities – like cybersecurity.
At the recent PSA-TEC event, I met a man who runs what just may serve as a template for the security integrator business of the very near future.
As president and CEO of Lorton, Va.-based eVigilant Security, Gunvir Baveja has brought together physical security and cybersecurity products and services under a single roof. Thus, eVigilant serves as a one-stop shop for its government and commercial clients’ integrated security needs.
Best of all, Baveja is willing to share his winning model with others, as he did during the “How to Build a Managed Cyber Practice” session I attended at TEC. According to Baveja, the three levels of cyber service that can be provided are prevention, detection and remediation.
He further identified six prongs to a managed cybersecurity services offering: consulting; sale and management of devices; perimeter management (firewall, external); monitoring services (including security patches); penetration and vulnerability testing (internal and external); and compliance assurance (e.g. HIPAA, PCI).
Typically the most daunting aspect of getting involved with a new offering like this is knowing where to begin. And so Baveja outlined three steps to getting a cyber services practice off the ground and running.
First, select a product offering, such as the Comprehensive Gateway Security Suite from SonicWall. Next, establish a pricing model based on cost of goods, labor and overhead. Lastly, begin with something basic like deploying firewall hardware against spyware, viruses, malware, worms, etc. and providing monthly updates (RMR!).
Then as your comfort level and customer interest rises, introduce more services to build additional recurring revenue. The latter can also include software to supply detailed reporting to the customer that not only gives them intimate knowledge of their cyber operations but also general management intelligence.
Basic cyber services can fetch $30-$50 in RMR, with those additional services capable of taking the haul well into the hundreds of dollars per month. Baveja’s advice is to get your feet wet by starting small, maybe even just partnering with another provider to resell at first, then gradually taking on more internally as you build confidence, credibility and that sweet, sweet RMR.
He recommended targeting retail, healthcare and dentist offices, ecommerce sites and any customers with specialized databases as hot cybersecurity services prospects.
Next month, learn more about Baveja’s business as well as those of three other leading executives who participated in my annual integrator roundtable. Until then, try embracing rather than fearing or avoiding cybersecurity.
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