CGNET and ActZero

Written by Dan Callahan

I'm the VP of Global Services at CGNET. I manage our Cybersecurity and Cloud Services businesses. I also provide consulting and handle a lot of project management. I wear a lot of hats. Professionally, I'm a builder of businesses. Outside of work, I'm a hobby farmer, chef, skier, dog walker, jokester, woodworker, structuralist, husband and father.

October 20, 2022

Ricardo (our CTO) and I met with ActZero (in real life!) today to further develop our partnership. I have written about ActZero before (see here). We met with ActZero to share information about our companies, and the product-market fit for their Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service. I wanted to share our perspective on what motivates customers (that is you 😊) and see if you agree with our characterization.

What We Like About ActZero

The founder of ActZero shared that his objective for the company has been to bring a cost-effective MDR solution to the SMB market. I have written before about the need for security solutions that are scaled to small and medium-sized businesses/organizations. I am encouraged that CGNET and ActZero share this goal.

ActZero also shared that they have a near-perfect customer retention rate. We place a lot of weight on doing right by our customers, so that they want to keep doing business with us. So, we were happy to learn that ActZero shares our customer focus.

What Goes into the MDR Buying Decision?

Ricardo and I had a lot to say about how customers decide whether to purchase an MDR solution like ActZero. Let me know if you agree with these points.

  • For Foundations, reputational harm is more top-of-mind than financial harm. Yes, you care about protecting all the Foundation’s assets. However, the first risk we hear about regarding a security breach is reputational.
  • Trust matters. A lot. Organizations that buy from CGNET already know us. If they do not know us, they rely on the word of another organization they know and trust.
  • ActZero and similar services rely on automation to scale their assessment and remediation tasks. Customers are reluctant to rely on this automation until they can verify that it works. The customer wants to see that the MDR service is flagging the right incidents for alerting and remediation.
  • Related to this, customers want to know the MDR service works before committing to an ongoing contract. Who wants to commit to a contract before knowing if the service works or not?
  • No one has time for false positives. IT Managers are looking to eliminate work that adds no value. And chasing down false positive alerts consumes time and effort without returning any benefit. A false positive alert is worse than no alert at all.
  • Presenting the customer with lots of choices about what to include or exclude complicates the buying process. (Here, I was glad to hear the founder ask us what ActZero should not do.) Keep the MDR service offering simple.

The Elements of a Winning MDR Service

Our customers know they have a winning MDR service when these qualities are present.

  • IT can explain the service to the CFO in plain English, in five minutes or less.
  • The service cost is in line with other managed services in IT’s budget.
  • There is a compelling case for the MDR service. It solves a problem that IT knows to exist.
  • The service provides a net gain for the organization. The service enhances security for the organization. IT can use the service without hiring additional staff to manage it.

Where Do You Stand?

I have shared my thoughts on what kind of company and MDR service fits best with our customer set. ActZero checks many of these boxes. Now it is your turn to educate me! Let me know what you think, here or in San Antonio next month.

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