Your customers depend on you to guide them through the world of technology.  You support their day-to-day needs and recommend new technologies to increase productivity or save money.  It makes perfect sense that they would also rely on your to advise them on how to secure their data – in fact, many of them assume that you haven’t discussed security with them because you are already taking care of it on their behalf!

This responsibility does come with some challenges. First, you need to educate your customers on what their risk actually is, and that will differ greatly from a small transportation company that does not maintain any sensitive data, a commercial construction firm that routinely wires millions of dollars for bids or a multi-location credit union that falls under financial compliance regulations. It’s almost impossible for any organization today to not collect and maintain data that falls under the category of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which has various protections based on where the individual resides.  Some customers may still be under the misconception that they don’t have to worry about cybersecurity at all.

Once you have educated them on the threats and convinced them of the need, you have to explain that while you have been acting in their best interest with your technology recommendations, effective technology does not equal effective cybersecurity. In fact, sometimes the two are at odds because the business runs more smoothly with quick and easy access to data, while safeguards that are barriers to access need to be put into place to secure it.

The biggest hurdle you are likely to face is credibility if your customers know that security is not your main focus and that you may lack experience in these areas.  You may even question your own ability to advise them, especially where compliance regulations are involved that can include hundreds of requirements that need to be implemented correctly.

It is far too critical to the continued viability of your customer’s businesses and your own to try and avoid this topic. While no security measures can prevent 100% of all threats, the risk can be significantly reduced with good cyber hygiene and user awareness.  As a channel-only cybersecurity and compliance firm, our mission it to help you and your customers to proactively identify and address the vulnerabilities that could have a devastating impact on both their businesses and yours.