TechSci Research predicts that the global market for cybersecurity will grow at an 8.3 percent compound annual growth rate until 2021, with wireless and cloud security at the forefront. Network security may have dominated previous growth, but the future will witness an eruption in cloud security.
That means there’s tremendous opportunity for U.S. MSPs and MSSPs to add value and provide something unique to global markets. That’s only the start, though. To be truly effective when entering new markets, you need to follow a few rules — especially if you’re looking to compete with established players.
1. Offer Something New
When entering a market in which entrenched MSSPs are selling a well-established product set, you better offer differentiation. The best approach: Don’t try to make a name as a new service provider by offering a mature product (say, vulnerability scanning). Rather, consider introducing something cutting edge (like vulnerability scanning analytics and prioritization). Complementary or new products that solve specific pain points the customer has not yet addressed are more likely to get you in the door, especially if the offerings improve the ROI of existing solutions.
As for value-added services, consider hot technologies that are being talked about but not yet deployed extensively. For example, many overseas customers don’t understand cloud security. Can you add value during the planning and implementation stages of a secure cloud solution, helping to shape strategy, policies and perform the rollout? This will set you apart from the competition.
Don’t just assume you can duplicate what you are doing in the United States or other regions. While you may find success selling much the same products or services in Asia as the EU, it’s important that you grasp how business models and messaging norms differ. For example, some markets will be driven more by compliance rather than security. Customers will also be at different stages of maturity.
2. Increase Your Lineup of Skilled Workers
One of the greatest benefits you can offer is to meet the need for skilled workers. A recent study by ISC2 predicts a shortage of 1.5 million security professionals with the necessary qualifications by 2019. Enterprises globally are challenged with finding and retaining enough quality people and need to outsource in order to maintain their security programs.
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In fact, when I speak to customers around the world, being able to address their challenges with existing security personnel is always first or second on the priorities list.
3. Align with Existing Technologies
Integrating disparate technologies is another giant issue. There’s a pretty high level of fatigue with customers that are buying point solutions — lots of individual products that don’t talk with one another can actually hinder security teams. To make matters worse, those products are often run by teams that don’t share information or even communicate regularly.
Going in with another point product simply creates more challenges and frustration. In contrast, a service provider can bring huge value to customers by unifying their existing solutions and analyzing data in context, providing some visibility about what’s going on in their environments.
4. Understand Buying Behavior in Target Markets
It’s very important to understand how customers buy in the markets where you’re looking to sell. A general rule: It’s much easier to introduce a disruptive technology than it is to introduce a disruptive way of doing business.
Also, make sure you understand buying behavior when it comes to local language. I’ll use Germany as an example. As a U.S. service provider, you can do a lot of business in English, but when you get down to the technical people – the ones who have their hands on products – fluency may become an issue. If you’re going into a market where English is not a primary language, you should have an understanding of the nuances of localization and how they could be an issue.
In Asia Pacific, the language barrier is a much bigger problem, and that typically goes down to the product itself.
5. Understand Data Privacy and Labor
Some countries have very specific requirements that limit data crossing borders. For example, if you’re thinking about expanding into Germany, it’s important to understand as a service provider whether or not you need dedicated data centers just for Germany, or the EU.
Understanding deployment procedures in those markets is also critical. And in certain regions – like the U.K. right now, post Brexit – it’s very difficult to hire security professionals because they’re at a very, very high premium. Due diligence is key to understanding the market from these perspectives.
When deciding where to expand, think about market maturity; Europe may not be on par with North America and Asia Pacific, but it’s close. And given the global nature of business, you can actually improve your business in North America by having a presence in other markets. In fact, I would argue that it’s difficult to be seen as a serious service provider without having a presence outside of North America, especially in most of Europe.
Still, as with any expansion, the capital and human expenditures of going global can be burdensome. Given all these considerations, be sure to ask yourself: Are we ready? If so, get going!
Stewart Fox, executive vice president of worldwide sales at Skybox Security, brings more than 20 years of technology sales experience in building and motivating sales teams, driving revenue and building strong relationships with both partners and customers.