By Mike Walkey, SVP Global Channel & Alliances at Veritas Technologies
Ransomware attacks are debilitating and no organization – large or small – is immune. Over the past 18 months, damages from ransomware attacks have had a direct effect on the economy and have deeply impacted the channel and its customers. And cybercriminals are only getting savvier.
Ransomware is the #1 problem facing CEOs today. According to Veritas research, 40% of consumers hold CEOs personally liable for the ransomware attacks their businesses suffer. They also quickly lose patience with those businesses – 44% would stop buying from a company that had been a victim of such a crime. As governments step in and propose new laws that require companies to disclose ransomware payments, CEOs and other executives will no longer be able to hide their attacks from the public and are thus expected to take a much more active role in data protection in 2022.
Because of these reasons, a threat that was once only visible to IT professionals has now extended up and down the corporate ladder and even into the boardroom. Board members and C-level executives are taking notice and proactively asking questions pertaining to the protection of their data and whether their businesses have solid plans in place to combat ransomware. In the new year, channel partners will be able to use this opportunity to not only protect their customers from attacks, but also to build closer relationships at the executive level, further demonstrating their value.
Partners must take an active role in helping their customers address this challenge by ensuring they prepare for the worst before an attacker strikes, in addition to offering threat detection and data backup solutions. The channel can provide value to executives and board members by helping them understand where their data resides, what it is and why it needs to be protected. But now that channel partners have their foot in the door, how can they capitalize on this opportunity and how can they alter their approach to make the conversation resonate with those top-level executives? Here are the top three tips that we’ve been sharing with our partners to help them make a statement in the board room.
It is important that partners up-level the conversation and use less technical language when speaking to board members about the risks of ransomware. When describing potential pitfalls, the language used must cover the big picture concepts that executives are concerned about. For example, instead of talking about “downtime,” we advise partners to talk about the amount of time that the business will be unable to operate, sell products or provide services to their customers in the event of an attack and what this could mean to the bottom line.
Partners should use this time to talk about the benefits that matter most to the board. For example, they should be clear about how data protection and threat detection solutions can help organizations avoid ransomware’s potential wider impact to the business, like reputational damage and financial impact, as opposed to focusing on the benefits that will only be realized by the company’s IT team, such as data process or management improvements.
Board members are extremely busy and often jumping quickly from meeting to meeting. We stress that partners focus on making this meeting really count and building on the opportunity. Channel partners must remember to keep their pitch concise and use this time to really listen. This is their one chance to shine – not waste it on describing their credentials or using technical jargon. Instead, partners must really listen to the CEO and board members’ business pains and concerns, and talk to them about how they can help resolve them.
With ransomware front and center, now is the time for channel partners to take advantage of increased visibility with executives. Using these best practices will ensure they make these meetings successful, and that they demonstrate their value as a trusted partner and advisor.
About the Author — In his role as Senior Vice President, Global Channels and Alliances for Veritas Technologies, Mike Walkey is responsible for overseeing the company’s global ecosystem of partners and alliances. Since joining the company just over two years ago, Walkey has worked closely with Veritas’ partners to design new programs to drive profitability by offering the company’s market-leading data protection and management solutions that address the biggest concerns facing enterprise customers today – the threat of ransomware and managing multi-cloud complexity
Prior to joining Veritas, Walkey served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partners and Alliances at Hitachi Vantara where he was responsible for leading end-to-end global business unit activities, IT initiatives, online and traditional marketing, partnerships and business development operations.