My first position marketing IT security products was back in 1999. Since then, I have marketed just about any type of security product you can imagine, including network encryption, Web app firewalls, email security, laptop encryption, DLP, PKI — pretty much any security product with a three-letter acronym. I’ve marketed them all, some better than others.

All marketing for these security products (and some others not mentioned) involved pushing what marketers call FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Why I Quit Marketing IT Security Products

I hated this. Security vendors have always used the FUD tactic and continue to do so. The message was always “Mr. Customer, unless you buy my product, you will get all your data stolen/hacked/infected/leaked. Your company will be on the front pages of all the newspapers exposing you for not taking necessary precautions. Your company will be ruined, and it will be all your fault because you did not buy my product.”

The frequency of headline breaches and threats gave us marketers an endless supply of fresh examples to keep throwing in our prospects’ faces. Look what will happen if you don’t buy our security solution!

The truth, however, is that these organizations really did need these security products — most of them, anyway. Still, this didn’t make me feel any better about the methods; I somehow felt like I was peddling life insurance and telling my customers their death was eminent, so they better buy now. The more fear I could generate, the more powerful the message.

No one wants to buy this way. I certainly did not like pitching my products this way, either. But that’s how marketing IT security products works, right?

So I quit. Adios. Adieu. Arrivederci. I wanted to feel like I was helping customers, not scaring them. I got out of IT security.

Finding a New Market

For two years I was out of the security segment. Oh, yeah! Positive mojo heading my way! But after the honeymoon phase was over, it turned out that I really missed security. This was my passion. I had been doing it for so long that marketing other technology felt out of sorts to me. I did not, however, miss the FUD.

I wanted to go back into security, but I had to pick a product that didn’t make me feel like an ambulance chaser. What could I do? What security solutions could I market that actually made my customers feel good and weren’t just protecting their organization from an imminent and painful demise?

I learned about a new security segment that was just beginning to flourish. These products helped companies adopt cloud applications by providing visibility, security and policy controls. Everybody loves cloud, right? This was perfect. These solutions were exactly what I needed to bring me back into the security fold.

Mr. Customer, my solution is going to help you move your business to the cloud faster — no FUD required.

Eliminating Fear in the Cloud

This new segment is generally referred to as cloud access security brokers (CASB). It’s been around for a few years now and presents great opportunity for marketers to change how we talk about and sell security solutions. It gives us the chance to help our customers solve real problems with new solutions that improve business results, not just mitigate against future damages.

I am not saying these other solutions aren’t needed — they absolutely are. My point is that marketing security products doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. There are some security solutions that really do help organizations achieve their business goals, such as enabling the transition to cloud applications.

These days, it’s hard to get me to shut up about all the great things my security solution can do. I can’t say I miss the FUD at all.

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