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3 Ways to Get Data Security and Data Revenue Teams Talking to Success – MarTech Series


It’s the modern paradox: Big revenue or big security? If you optimize for revenue and not security, your business will thrive – until regulators and angry customers shut you down. If you make security everything, in a few months you may have no business to keep safe. 

The truth is it’s not an or, it’s an and – and you need both data revenue and security teams to survive. 

So what’s a smart company to do? Get the data revenue and data security teams to talk. But first you need to know what drives them.

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What Drives Data Revenue Teams

Revenue teams are all about growth. These are the people who are charged with digital transformation and they’ve got revenue targets that they need to achieve. Revenue teams are the growth engine for most companies, often taking a mature business, like telecom services or a media business, and adding revenue by monetizing first-party data. They’re creative go-getters and solid business types who can model out the options to winning. In a nutshell, they’re risk takers who are measured by their impact on revenue.  

What Drives Data Security Teams

Data security teams are all about… well, security. Reducing and mitigating risk. These are the lawyers, the data protection officers, the auditors and the business and security professionals who have broader business interests in mind. They also understand how contracts and laws work. They want a revenue growth opportunity, but it has to be responsible. And they don’t want to find themselves on the front page of The Wall Street Journal in a massive data breach. When it comes down to it, they are business people with an eye toward revenue, but they’re allergic to unnecessary risk.

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So once you know what drives them, now you can get them talking because it turns out security and revenue teams have many shared interests. Here are three principles that should inform any security-revenue or revenue-security conversation:

  1. Keep it simple. Simple is not just important, it’s defensible. And by defensible, that means anyone can simply represent a revenue and security solution and explain it to a non-business person. Put another way, everyone can get behind it. There’s a reason CISOs prefer technologies that you only need 10 minutes of the CEO’s time to explain — not three hours and a couple of visits from the vendor. Nobody wants to have bureaucracy and craziness and overly complex systems. Even lawyers want simplicity. Keep it simple and it makes it easy for everyone to get onboard.
  2. Know that everyone wants to grow the business. The tension between revenue and security is not as black and white as you might think. Everyone draws a paycheck and knows that revenue means jobs, bonuses and yes, happiness. The difference is revenue teams drive growth and security teams enable growth. It’s a subtle difference but it means revenue teams push risk to be creative and innovative and security teams meter risk so it doesn’t bite the whole company down the line. Another example: The CMO and the chief revenue officer have the same goals and at the highest level, they’re generally incentivized in similar ways. They just have a different perspective on the exact way to get results.
  3. Realize that nobody wants to have something really bad happen. And these things do happen, every day. It’s the fright of GDPR and other legislation and the penalties are existential. If a service company is fined 4% of its enterprise topline for a simple data breach, it could bankrupt them. A security team’s job is to make it harder for everyone to screw up. If you have a fragile system, you can come up with all kinds of ways to keep it from breaking. But even better is if you have a system that is resistant to breaking in the first place. Does your technology prevent risk from even being created, or does it just give you the tools to clean it up better after a breach or violation? Your security team will know the difference.

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