In today’s digital landscape it can be easy to lose sight of the true cost of business, especially for sales organizations. With so much focus on growing revenue, making quota, and closing deals, companies may be unintentionally exposing themselves to security risks. How secure is your Sales Process?

Security in sales

As the world evolves, laws and regulations are put in place to protect the consumer.

Security regulations

These regulations are often complex and therefore difficult to understand. This can increase the risk for any company that collects customer data.

Individuals struggle to stay in compliance. Not out of lack of care, but because of a lack of time or understanding.

Beyond the bad reputation that can come from a compliance violation or data breach, the literal cost of non-compliance is high!

  • In the context of GDPR, non-compliance can cost up to $22.7 million or 4% of annual worldwide revenue of the preceding financial year (whichever is larger).
  • HIPAA violations can run you $100K -$1.5 million a year.
  • PCI violations range from $5,000-10,000 a month.

The complexity only increases once a company crosses a border, whether domestic or international. What is well within a company’s rights in New York State may be a violation in California.

Security Through Reliability

Sales organizations cannot be satisfied with merely meeting regulatory requirements. They must be wary of the digital wolves (no exaggeration, sadly) scratching at your door in the form of cybercriminals.

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for weak points in your process. It could be a careless seller opening a phishing email, or a sophisticated hacker looking for flimsy API security. You can never be too careful.

A recent study from the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a data breach in 2018 was $3.86 million, nearly a 10% increase since 2013.

A common defense strategy companies employ is internal security training. This can be effective, but only addresses a small portion of the potential problem.

Any company you do business with can also be a weak spot. Therefore, it is critical to ensure your partners are doing their part as safeties on the defensive.

Vendors and partner ecosystems should be assets to your defensive program, not a gap.

At a bare minimum, a provider should have an understanding of the challenges faced by their customers and ensure their product offerings comply.

To be considered a vendor you can truly rely on, a provider should also demonstrate a dedication to security at all levels and be able to answer questions about their approach to internal security concerns. These include:

  • Do employees undergo security training?
  • Are employees subject to background checks?
  • Is there a history of poor practices?
  • Have they experienced a breach in the past?

This information should be readily available. While no vendor can guarantee full protection, they should inspire trust through good practices and transparency.

A Word on Email Trust

When discussing security and vendor reliability, we would be remiss if we failed to mention the digital gatekeepers. These keepers act as vigilantes against percieved cybercriminals, spammers, and cons.

Inbox providers are the most common digital gatekeepers.

As digital sellers, we count on email. It is a primary communication channel not only in Sales but in Marketing, Networking, and – let’s be real – Life. However, the convenience of email has led to problems for well-intentioned senders and consumers.

Spam accounts for over half of all emails sent worldwide.

The prevalence of bad email has made inbox providers sensitive. Understandably so! They want to protect their users. They also need to ensure the delivery of legitimate messages.

This duality has led to some conflict and confusion while trying to solve the problem.  Many a noble sender have been blacklisted by Google or learn that their messages were rerouted to a junk folder… with little understanding of the cause.

Frustrating? Abso-expletive-lutely. But what can you do?

The best answer is education. There are many resources, whitelisting services, and best practice checklists available online. One way a solution provider can add value and demonstrate their reliability is through offering educational content to customers and being diligent about reviewing how customers are using their software.

You wouldn’t do business with a bank that hires bank robbers to be tellers. Why would you do business with an email service provider who allows spammers to use their system?

Selecting an Ally, not a Tool

In an effort to help sales organizations set themselves up for success, we have continued this discussion in a Product News post outlining what to look for in solution providers.

In the meantime, please visit our Security page for more on how we ensure a secure sales process.