Buyers of expensive IT security ask why they’re still insecure

We do a lot of work for IT security clients and the numbers they share with us about attacks and monetary losses numb the brain. The money spent by corporate America to maintain some semblance of protection and to fend off cyber attacks is astronomical. If you’re reading this, you know what we mean. Still, the attacks and the cost of defending yourself grow unabated. What’s going on here?

One of these clients who does big work for big brands told us recently that a perception of low return on their security dollar has created a growing, board-level frustration and alarm within these companies.  “They question the ROI on the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in IT defenses and they have every right to be pissed,” he said. Of course, our clients have a vested interest in encouraging the upgrade of aging defenses so easily overcome by wily, super-smart and well-financed cyber-criminals today.

Computer security is a multi-billion industry employing some of the most brilliant technologists in the world.  They labor relentlessly to stay a step ahead of the bad guys who, just like terrorists, only have to be successful once, while techno-sleuths and defenders must succeed 100% of the time.  Yet, even in the breaches that merit the bigget headlines, most of the time the crooks used ridiculously simple methods to break in.  In other words, many organizations are overlooking basic precautions even as their security systems grow more complex and expensive.  Just like street crime,  bad guys preyed on victims of opportunity.

Like muggers, Cyber-attackers scan for companies who may not be properly utilizing the defenses they have or whose passwords fail the tough-to-guess test. To us in the business of marketing some truly amazing preventive technology, this is an eye-opener.  Here’s hoping they can open more corporate-security eyes as well.  The chain around the company’s digital assets is only as strong as the weakest link. And the bad guys go straight to it.


How Big data transforms customer relations

I ended my last blog post with the statement “We are entering the age of smart computing and Big data which totally will change the social contract and the customerrelation.” I will in this post make some comments on why I think that the customer-relation will indeed change during the new era of Big Data.

Over time since the industrial revolution in the late 18th century we have passed basically four different ages as illustrated by a blog post from Forrester.

The change in the relation between the seller and buyer can be understood by looking on the main difference in these four ages as illustrated in the picture below:



The main difference in the fourth step is that the relationship needs to be based upon mutual trust. This since, to keep the relationship in a perfect 1-to-1 relation, the seller needs to send back valuable information to the customer to be able to get even more information from the customer to include in the next iteration of the Big Data analytics. This in order to shift from a traditional campaign-centric view of the world to one of continuous customer engagement. Here Forrester sees the possibility of a new type of class of providers “customer engagement agencies” (CEAs) and define them as:

“Agencies that focus on defining customer-oriented business strategies and mapping them to tactics and execution. They help clients maximize customer profitability and optimize customer experiences by applying data and analytics to every interaction.”

For the organizations that succeed in this they may start to focus on high-resolution management. As prof. Biran Subirana stated

High-resolution management is the next evolutionary step after lean manufacturing. High-resolution management is based on vastly lowering the scale at which you analyze space, time, products and business models. As a result, we have already started to see how a few different sectors have started fragmenting their products and services all with the aim of improving quality and reducing cost. In the long-term, we can cast our imaginations forward and imagine a world without a supply chain, and in its place a packetized distribution network, where each product contains all of the necessary information to essentially become its own store. As the resolution of each item increases, we will see greater randomization, more customization and increased frequency of delivery directly to the end consumer.”

The technologies of today in the age of smart computing and in combination with cloud computing makes it possible to start to implement high resolution management in an affordable way. And this will not only be true for commercial relations, this will happen for the relation between patients with health care systems, student with universities and citizens with governments. From that perspective the seller is coming to the customer – not the other way around.

So, as I stated in the previous blog post, in order to take the steps into mass personalization and an 1-to-1 relation that is based upon mutual trust organizations need to start establish strategies for

  • becoming more user-centric in dialog and offerings, i.e. mass personalization
  • handle privacy and ownership of data, i.e. to establish trust
  • handle governance around data itself, i.e. high-resolution management and the possibility for sustainable innovations
  • handle ethics related to Big Data, i.e. to avoid reputation risks

If your organization has not yet started to think how to adopt and take advantage of this you better do this. We are entering the age of smart computing and Big data which totally will change the social contract and the customer-relation.

Thanks to


The Real Way to Increase Conversion Rates

Great post from the guys at Tibco (BY )

In 2012, on the two biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday,sales grew by 26% and 20% from the previous year. Don’t believe the apocalyptic news hype, retail is not dying, not even close. Retail is evolving to giving the customer exactly what they want, when they want, and how they want it. If customers don’t want to go to your store, they shouldn’t have to. If they want to shop on their phone or tablet, you need to fully support that.

This is exactly what sellers are struggling to do – make all customer touch points equally accessible, with a completely shared experience, so customers can be engaged at the moment of their purchasing decision.

Time is a Luxury, Methods are Not

Sellers have always tried to maximize customer spending through upselling and cross-selling. Methods which were successful in the past need to be replaced with newer techniques for today’s more aware, less patient customers.

Shopping on the internet is the best example. The probability of customers checking out the offers they receive via email is lower than when they see those offers in real time on the screen when they are shopping online.

Cross-Selling at the Right Time

Online merchants use upsell techniques like providing an option to replace the customer’s selection with a higher priced and better valued item in the basket. At the check-out, the customer will see cross-sell offers with discounts and messages like “people who bought this also bought something else.” According to industry experts, cross-selling to an existing customer only costs 10% of what it would cost to acquire a new one. That cost is further reduced and much likelier to succeed if the cross-sell activity is at the moment of purchasing decision.

What is as Important as When

How you know what to cross-sell to your customer at the point of sale? Providing the same bucket of offers to all your customers will get you a very low response rate. Rent-A-Center, Inc.offers goods under flexible rental-purchase agreements that generally result in ownership of the merchandise by the customer at the conclusion of the rental period. This replaced “after-the-fact” marketing with a real-time dynamic selling vision at the store level by incorporating a 360-degree view of its customers. RAC aggregated real-time data from various touch points of customer interaction and combined the new data with historical information on customer preferences and behavior to create a comprehensive understanding of their customers. This approach enabled Rent-A-Center to provide need based upsell or cross-sell offers to every single customer across the 3,000 plus stores.

We know who our customers are. What we lacked was insight into the products they prefer, the patterns of their rental behaviors, the peculiarities of their demographics, and the changes in their lives that would drive future rentals. The more we know about the customer, the better we’ll be at offering the right products at the right place at the right time, and that should translate into rental agreements with longer life.” 

– Senior director of Data Management for Rent-A-Center

A successful cross-seller ensures that the enterprise’s critical information on customers and products not only remains consistent and current, but can also be applied in real time across locations, lines of business, and interaction touch points.

For more information, here is a webinar on “How Operational Excellence Drives Supply Demand Chain Effectiveness.”

Bring Your Own Demise [INFOGRAPHIC]

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is certainly not new, but its effects on security and employee behavior are still largely undetermined.  To quantify the impact of personal devices in corporate settings, Varonis conducted a short survey and compiled the results in a new research report.

The results may surprise you — more than half of respondents reported someone in their companylost a device with important company data on it, and 22% of lost devices had security implications for the company.  Moreover, 86% of employees admit to being “device obsessed,” working on their mobile device around the clock.

Enjoy, share, embed our infographic and download the full report to learn which data protection activities truly matter.

Bring Your Own Demise: A Report of the Impact of BYOD

10 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew About Them [Infographic]

Earlier this week I shared an infographic that outlined the 6 Keys to Branding your Small Business. One of the components was related to knowing who your target audience – or customers are. You can never know too much about your customers. Understanding their likes and dislikes, shopping behavior, etc. can help you make better business decisions.

Surprisingly, there are still things that customers say they wish businesses understood about them better. Help Scout, a customer service software company has put together this infographic that highlights research related to the topic.

Here are some key takeaways:

Customers prefer knowledgeable and thought-out service, rather than having a rushed experience.
Loyalty customers are bound to stay if get them started with the program.
Consumers would rather connect with a brand emotionally than with “savings” type messages.
Everyone loves pleasant surprises!

10 things you should know about your customers infographic 10 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew About Them [Infographic]


The Golden Circle – Why? How? What?

Start with WHY?

‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’

Last week we were shown a clip from TEDx Speaker, Simon Sinek, where he gave a speech about how great leaders inspire action. I found this short video really quite inspiring in the sense that its something I hadn’t given a lot of thought to before. The main message he tries to get across is that to have a successful business, product, company etc, you have to know firstly WHY you are doing it, WHY are you creating this ‘thing’? It’s not enough to just question HOW and WHAT you are doing as people don’t connect with these words and answers. Its the WHY that people buy into. The WHY sells the customer the belief and promise of the product/company.

Simon Sinek goes into more detail with lots of examples of this very method being proved correct

Managing Remote Working Risks

A new practice guide has been published by the UK Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure; the guide provides guidance on personnel security practice for remote working on a regular or permanent basis. It outlines how remote working can bring benefits for both employers and employees; however, remote working introduces additional security risks which, if left unchecked, may lead to serious consequences, such as an important corporate data loss.

The new guide aims to inform employers about the personnel security vulnerabilities of remote working and provide practical guidance on reducing these risks. Risks can be reduced by introducing effective policies and procedures.

Remote working, whether it is working from home, on the move or in clients or satellite offices, is becoming even more commonplace, growing to an estimated 20 percent of the working population (over 6.5 million people) in 2012.

To obtain the guide, please visit the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) to learn more about the facilities, systems, sites and networks necessary for the delivery of essential services across a number of sectors.

Thanks to Asigra

C24 adds Stead and Simpson to it’s client portfolio

Stead and Simpson part of the Shoe Zone Group, who have 228 retail outlets in the UK has announced that C24, the hosting and application delivery specialist, has won its account to host and manage its internet retail presence and website disaster recovery. The solution provided by C24 will be delivered from a tier 4 data centre and includes website hosting, back-up, disaster recovery and 24 hour support. Stead and Simpson found in C24 a partner with the experience and ethos to manage their web presence successfully with maximum uptime.

“We are so please to add Stead and Simpson to our portfolio as it is another prestigious brand name associated with C24. This win just adds further to the credibility that we have and shows future clients that C24 are a hosting solutions company that they should seriously look at” commented David Ricketts Head Of Marketing.

Digital Signage the possible key to driving retail revenue

Interesting article in “Retail Focus” magazine that looks at the effect of digital signage in stores and shopping centres, it highlights a couple of examples where digital signage was a worthwhile investment due to the fact that it is highly flexible and engaging.

One brand has actually clawed back the modest investment in the digital signage as they no longer have to outlay as much on print, obviously this will be ongoing. This area is definitely worth looking at if you are a brand owner or content provider.  C24’s interest is basically around the network delivery which we are doing for a number of similar esolutions across the country.

Great company for digital signage and strategy: