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Security Vendors are THE Best At ‘Security By Obscurity’.

by Mike Wonham  |  June 24, 2020  |  Submit a Comment

Part of my role is to monitor vendors in my specialty area. Analysts do this in various ways, vendor briefings, discussions with clients, conferences and expos (although not so much this year), and by the good old web search.

A web search is a starting point. “Which vendors might solve this problem?” is a common theme. Sometimes I’ll hear about a vendor and go straight to their site to dig deep and learn. Sometimes I’m revisiting for the umpteenth time as I just keep up with the times.

Almost universally though, the sites themselves are less than helpful and more often downright confusing. 

Security vendors websites are THE best at security by obscurity.

It’s too common that a website camouflages what is being sold and what problem it addresses. This is usually a result of Form Over Content. Sites that look pretty with cool animations are nice, but if it’s pretty icons and nice colors with no in-depth information, then it’s not useful. 

Common Problems

White Papers that discuss a problem are great, but unless it tells customers (and analysts) in more detail HOW your product solves WHAT problem, it doesn’t motivate people – technical readers need more than buzzwords to get interested. 

Marketing Walls hide white papers and other useful things. This can put off customers, and analysts, especially when the user has to sign up again and again for each paper. It’s even worse when one has to wait days for the paper to be made available – strike while the iron is hot!

Targeting the wrong audience. Frequently the person trying to find a solution is not C-level but a technical engineer, architect or analyst who’s been given a problem to solve. If your website doesn’t reflect that and cater for it then you run the risk of being bypassed.

A common complaint from my clients: “I’ve been hunting around but it’s really difficult to get information on what vendors actually do what.”

That’s not a good look.

In order to step ahead, then vendors must revisit their websites and look at them through a reader’s eyes. Differentiate by content, not by art. Make it easy to find the useful information. It doesn’t mean it can’t look good, but it will keep the attention of the reader for longer, and we all know what that means…


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Mike Wonham
Sr Director Analyst I
3 years at Gartner
22 years IT Industry

Mike Wonham works in GTP Security, Identity and Risk, focusing on data security, classification, DLP, risk process and measurement, security governance and programs and security metrics. Read Full Bio

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