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July 30, 2013

If You Got It (Security), Flaunt It.

webinar-registrationWhen selling software, whether to businesses or consumers, differentiation is the key to successfully marketing a product. Software providers can take a lesson from auto manufacturers and use safety and security to set their products apart.

Differentiation Tips from the Detroit

At their core, cars get you from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. Though, BMW Car Club members may disagree, most cars offer similar features and functions. At a variety of price points to serve the consumer market, cars have permeated the western world. And as the popularity of cars grew collisions became inevitable. Car makers capitalize on consumers’ fear of being hurt in an accident by promoting the safety and security of their automobiles. If you are looking to buy a car – as I was this month - crash test ratings, reliability, and safety are all necessary attributes to review when compiling your short list. Who would even consider a car without safety ratings? Why should software security be any different? Software manages financials, health records, entertainment and many other aspects of everyday life. All you have to do is watch the Net to get a sense of what your life could look like if these were compromised - and that was almost 20 years ago. It is not surprising software security is moving to the forefront of consumers’ minds when making purchasing decisions?

Competitive Advantage

Software providers should takes steps during the software development lifecycle to ensure that security vulnerabilities are identified and mitigated prior to shipping their product. Those that don’t will be in for a rude awakening as more enterprises’ demand software security. Software vendors that already have strong security practices in place can use this as a competitive advantage, just like those auto manufacturers. By promoting security, the software vendor can set itself above the fray and attract decision makers who recognize the risk vulnerable applications pose to their data. Not only does a focus on software security benefit the software vendor, it casts a shadow on their competition, begging the question, “If provider A is promoting their security, why isn’t provider B? Are they not taking those steps?” This is especially relevant for software vendors and decision makers since Veracode’s most recent State of Software Security Report, found that 70% of all applications fail to comply with basic security standards. Software providers can openly promote their security processes just like auto manufactures promote videos from crash tests and invite inquiry and conversation around safety ratings. After all, if both manufactures are already putting in the effort to maximize safety why not capitalize on this investment? What can software providers do to begin promoting their security efforts? Here are a few places to start:

  1. If they haven’t already done so, software providers should implement security testing throughout the software development process. If you are going to use security as a differentiator, you better make sure your software is securely developed. People and businesses can forgive a breach - they will never forgive a liar.
  2. Document the process and promote how secure application development is being performed by posting any security certifications on your website, blog or awards page, or even on your product packaging. Just like car manufacturers, health foods have been doing this for years.
  3. In all marketing materials, promote the security message. This will underscore your commitment to security, distinguishing your software from competitors.
  4. Get your executive team to spread the message; when your leadership emphasizes the significance your company places on security, customers and prospects take notice.

The number one priority for software developers is functionality. In yesteryear, customers assumed that security was baked in with functionality. Unfortunately, the breaches and exploits of the past few years have robbed us of this fairytale. Now consumers and enterprise customers are looking for and expecting security to be a main concern in the software they purchase. Those organizations that make secure software products easier for customers to find, will quickly find themselves in a superior position to their competitors. Want to learn more about the trend of Enterprises demanding proof of software security? Check out the webinar, “Under Pressure – When Clients Demand Proof of Security.”

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