Security PR: The Road to RSA Conference San Francisco 2018

Feb 08, 2018 Tiffany Darmetko

Welcome to 2018 where we’ve got an interesting convergence of factors happening in the world of cyber security.

No surprise, cyber threats continue to intensify. Just a few days into the new year we learned that pretty much every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years contains "catastrophic" security flaws called Meltdown and Spectre.

As the dangers escalate so too does the amount of money organizations are shelling out to try to defend themselves. “Leadership security concerns correspond with significant growth in security spending,” TechTarget writer Mary K. Pratt reports. Gartner forecasts worldwide enterprise security spending will total $96 billion in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017.

Vying for this business is an extremely crowded market of solution providers, with new entrants cropping up left and right. Just last month, Google’s parent company Alphabet got in on the action with its launch of Chronicle, a cyber security company. And hundreds of security vendors will showcase their wares at the 27th annual RSA Conference in April when the infosec community convenes in San Francisco to “plan the industry agenda” for 2018.

That said, many security start-ups are struggling to adequately address the bad guys. Reuters reporter Liana B. Baker writes, “In some cases, the security products they developed have been overtaken by advances in cyber hacking, according to industry executives and venture capitalists” or “larger competitors have come out with similar technology and locked down customers.”

These scenarios have created an uncertain investment climate. But it’s not just the VCs who are being selective. Buyers are too. “CISOs, security advisors and researchers agreed that implementing a successful cybersecurity plan in 2018 isn't about increased spending for the latest, greatest technologies. Instead, a strong cybersecurity program today has to be strategic,” Pratt says.

The same can be said for the right approach to security marketing and PR. In a saturated sector plagued by, as Fortune puts it, “too many VC-bloated start-ups chasing too few clients, while unicorns are morphing into zombies struggling to find an IPO or other exit” – there is an obvious and urgent need for market disruptors to build an authentic brand and tell a clear, differentiated and compelling story that connects with stakeholders.

InkHouse CEO Beth Monahan talks here about trust as the major PR theme for 2018: “Good PR strategies must be based on real data, real stories and authentic points of view.” We cannot stress enough the importance of really good storytelling. As InkHouse EVP and Chief Content Officer Tina Cassidy points out, “you need to say something new, something with a strong point of view, or that is a fresh idea. It also means that your story, like any good book, can only be about one thing, not two things.”

Not a simple task in the fast and furious cyber security arena with dozens of trending conversations like GDPR, AI, blockchain and IoT – all of which will fill the RSA Conference agenda. (Congratulations to our clients and industry friends who have nabbed a coveted speaking slot!)

But Forbes Contributor Gil Press has made things pretty easy with his distillation of the trends: “Like death and taxes, there are only two safe predictions about cybersecurity in 2018: There will be more spectacular data breaches and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect on May 25.” ☺

In all seriousness though, with RSA Conference scheduled for April this year (rather than falling in February as it typically does), security marketers have a solid runway to map out a plan for effectively capitalizing on the event – within the context of a carefully plotted integrated comms strategy. It’s go time!

Topics: Public Relations, Enterprise Tech, Storytelling, Events, cybersecurity
Tiffany Darmetko

Tiffany helps tech innovators – both emerging-growth and established companies – to differentiate themselves and succeed in competitive markets through targeted and aggressive integrated communications programs. Her expertise spans markets such as cyber security, cloud computing, enterprise software and renewable energy. Tiffany has led the PR efforts of more than a dozen IT security companies, leading to numerous acquisitions. She has a B.S. in Public Relations from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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