If you are thinking of providing (or are already providing) security services, sooner or later, the concept of compliance is going to come up. Compliance – a concept that involves standards, policies, and regulations for IT management, security risk, data storage, and more – is essential for many business verticals and can have far-reaching implications for security providers as well. However, compliance does not equate to security; conversely, security is not compliance, either. This article will look at where the two intersect and how you can go to market in 2022 with a security strategy best positioned to meet the needs of the prospective customers you want to attract and retain.
The compliance kaleidoscope
Compliance is not a monolith; instead, it is a set of unrelated regulatory frameworks, each of which is specific to the business category, country, privacy concerns, etc., they are created for. Some are enforced by their respective governments (such as HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and can have severe fines and other consequences for non-compliance; others, such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), is a set of guidelines that must be followed for banks to permit merchants to accept credit cards as a form of payment. Often, a customer may have to comply with several regulatory frameworks. As their security provider, you not only need to be aware of their needs but also your responsibility to these compliance standards as well.
With this comes a challenge for the security provider: to meet the standards of multiple sets of regulations, each having a specific view of how IT and security must be handled. In this sense, from the perspective of the security provider, compliance is more like a kaleidoscope with multiple distinct facets that overlap and merge. It’s not uncommon for a security provider to specialize in specific industries where they understand the compliance needs.
Luckily, many security vendors offer products that are positioned to meet compliance with well-known regulatory frameworks, and security vendors who consolidate their product stack with those vendors can capitalize on effective and efficient policies, processes, documentation, and more to keep their business compliant and to deliver outstanding security that also meets those standards.
Is compliance enough?
Meeting compliance is important, as it can be crucial to retain current business and add new logos to your roster of customers. Additionally, noncompliance can result in a heavy financial impact on your security business as well. But in today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape, “compliance” is not a synonym for “secure.”
Threats are more effective, more pervasive, and more destructive than ever before, and as such, security vendors must align with vendors who go above and beyond standards to meet compliance and enact a full range of products and services that protect customers from the network to the endpoint and everywhere in between. And, in today’s decentralized workplace, security solutions must also protect customers’ employees wherever they are – all while keeping in compliance.
Go to market with a plan for success
If you are launching a security practice this year, it’s essential you learn about the compliance standards your customers may require in your area. However, you may find competition specializing in one or more verticals that require compliance standards, and differentiation will matter as you carve out your area’s market share. That differentiation can come in many forms, including greater compliance and vertical expertise, more agreeable pricing and packaging options, or a higher level of customer service and satisfaction.
But the most significant area of differentiation you may achieve may be in a solution stack built on a unified security platform comprising integrated products that offer powerful, comprehensive, cloud-based security. The right unified platform of network security, secure wi-fi, endpoint security, and multi-factor authentication could very well meet the needs of your customers requiring compliance and beyond, to extend the security perimeter to wherever your customers’ employees are through zero-rust, identity-based architecture.
Additionally, be sure this unified security platform has the logging and reporting capabilities necessary to prove compliance effectively and easily. Your security platform may also have preconfigured reports for several compliance standards, saving time your team would need to spend to create them otherwise and adding to the overall operational efficiency of your security practice.
Compliance is not easy, but there’s no reason to make it any harder. From building a solid plan based on vertical expertise to choosing the right unified security platform to deliver robust, comprehensive security, there are essential measures security providers should take to protect their customers from threats while keeping them in compliance with the regulatory standards their business requires. And when done correctly, compliance can become less of a concern for a seasoned provider and more of an opportunity to demonstrate the value of your practice, retain customers, and continue building a stellar reputation in your local area.
Joseph Tavano, WatchGuard
Joseph Tavano manages channel marketing at WatchGuard Technologies, Inc., and is responsible for the channel content strategy and communications to WatchGuard’s partners worldwide. His primary focus centers on WatchGuard’s award-winning partner program, WatchGuardONE, where he drives new program adoption while helping existing partners grow their business through the various resources available to them. He brings with him years of experience in the IT channel, and he sees his role through the lens of service, helping connect hardworking partners with the solutions they need to be successful.