What you need to do to sell IoT security to state and local

Lloyd McCoy Jr.IoT, cybersecurity, SLEDBy Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD manager

State and local governments are becoming more proactive in their approach to IT and cybersecurity, together spending more than the federal government. They will invest $101.3 billion on IT this year, with counties and states increasing their budget by about 1.5 percent annually, according to e.Republic.

It’s safe to say a good portion of their budgets will be spent on cybersecurity, a push triggered by the internet of things (IoT) and how it’s being used for smart cities projects. State IT executives are more aware of IoT cybersecurity implications than at the federal level because they’re dealing with certain functions only at the municipal level like industrial systems and facilities HVAC.

When you hear how much one breach can cost a municipality, you realize why there’s a heavier emphasis on cybersecurity. Oakland County CIO Phil Berolini recently said that the cost of a breach can be as much as $240 per record. Multiply that by the number of breaches in a typical attack and the costs mount rapidly.

So how should the IT community respond? For starters, companies that have solutions with cybersecurity “baked in” need to emphasize that in initial conversations with state and local CIOs. When cybersecurity maintenance costs are rolled into the tools, there’s more bang for the buck on infrastructure spending. You can’t go wrong with a solid pitch that includes how you’re going to save them money and headaches.

Some more advice for IT sales teams that may go against the high-speed innovation going on in IT these days: SLOW DOWN! While IoT and cyber threats seem to be moving at lightning speed, the best way for tech companies to get some attention from state IT officials is to take a more measured approach. Do your research, provide good information and be more of a consultant than a salesperson.

When we talk about research, state CIOs are recommending that IT companies pay better attention to published information regarding government IT priorities and budget, and talk to other county departments to know what matters most.

Some CIOs are even saying that roundtables or symposiums providing good information are better than blanket emails requesting a first meeting out of the blue.

It’s a balancing act between government leaders quickly implementing IoT to better serve citizens while ensuring that this rapid pace doesn’t introduce more security problems than it’s worth.

This post was originally published in the Government Infosec blog

For guidance on selling cybersecurity and IoT to the federal and SLED markets, reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team

About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is the Department of Defense Consultant on the Market Intelligence team. Prior to working for immixGroup, he worked in the public sector as a senior analyst with the Defense Department. Lloyd primarily monitors and analyzes issues relating to the Navy/Marine Corps, Defense Health Agency, and the Defense Information Systems Agency

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