Computer hacking is all over the news these days — with good reason.
The New York Times revealed in a front-page article that it had been fighting a prolonged battle with hackers. The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post soon admitted to facing the same thing.
Now, the Post tells us that “Chinese cyberspies have hacked most Washington institutions,” including “law firms, think tanks, news organizations, human rights groups, contractors, congressional offices, embassies and federal agencies.”
Even America’s most sophisticated companies have been compromised. Consider recent breaches with search giant Google, EMC Corp.’s RSA security unit, and defense contractor Lockheed Martin. And consider that multiple other victims have been lucky enough to keep embarrassing breaches out of the public eye.
A growing problem …
The regrettable fact is that today’s hackers include skilled and determined state-sponsored cyber adversaries who are robbing American companies blind. As well as sophisticated “hactivists” who have the tools to do serious damage.
Cybersecurity is no longer an IT problem – it’s a business problem. Because sophisticated cyber adversaries can tarnish or destroy a company brand, steal and resell intellectual property, and inflict costly damage to the systems that enable business operations, C-level executives are looking for help to defeat them.
Cybersecurity providers must explain the business value of their solutions in clear, compelling language — language that the C-level executive, who may or may not have a technical background, will understand.
… and how to write about it
We have a lot of experience with cybersecurity copywriting, so I’ll offer a few tips.
1. Recognize the severity of the threat. Hacking isn’t an IT issue. It’s a much broader business issue. Hackers can steal or compromise intellectual property; threaten employees’ safety; derail operations; damage a brand. Heck, they can shut a company down. Explain the problem in these terms.
2. Explain the business value. Your sales literature—whether it’s a fact sheet or web copy—needs to demonstrate the business results of a solid information security program. Explain the value of cybersecurity in terms of protecting the business as a whole, not just as buying another “IT solution.”
3. Write to the CEO. The decision maker for cybersecurity buys is likely the CEO, not the CIO. More than ever, your writing needs to be clear, crisp, and conversational—brief and to the point.
Writing about cybersecurity feels like a hollow effort compared to solving the problem of cybersecurity. But until we trade in our pencils for processors, that’s what we’ll be doing. Cause that’s what we know.
Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial.