The reality of trust in partnerships

Reading time: 10 min
Craig Houston

Trust is a key component of any partnership. It sounds great, but what does it actually mean in reality? We sat down with Elena Zykova, Director, Head of Global Sales Operations at WithSecure, to find out more. 

How would you define trust?

Good question. To me, it is the same as building trust between two people. While there has to be a feeling there, you need to do what you say you are going to do, respect others’ opinions and time, act in a certain way and live up to promises you make.

To be completely honest, everyone is on edge when it comes to cybersecurity. They are constantly asking themselves: ‘do I have enough security, am I well enough protected, what happens if I get hacked?’ As I said, it is a feeling, but that feeling can only come from agreed actions and plans so that they know if something goes wrong they have someone in their corner to back them all the way. 

How is this implemented in our partnerships?

We understand that this is a different approach from our competitors, but our offering is two-fold. The first is hard facts – technology, features, support, and pricing. This is important, of course, but what makes the difference is good partnership – building trust, not leaving the partner to fend for themselves and enabling them to become successful. While WithSecure is a new name, we have been doing this for more than 20 years and know what it takes to make a partnership work. 

Partners are concerned that vendors are playing around with direct business versus channel. This means that whenever there is the possibility of a big deal, vendors will try to sell directly to the end customer, but whenever it is an SME they are happy to throw it to the channel. We don’t do this and are channel first. We understand how the channel works and strive to be transparent in all we do.

Trust is about delivering everything we promise, but then it is a two-way street. We also expect the same of them.  

For more on operational efficiency as an MSSP, visit our dedicated landing page here.

Where does this trust begin?

For us, trust begins even before the start of the relationship. Integrity is a value we live by. This means that when the partnership starts, we can begin building trust but the integrity aspect means we are already on a much higher level. 

It also depends on the needs of the company and the journey they have taken up to this point. For example, are they unhappy with a particular vendor, looking to replace certain technology, integration or partnership in general? Did something that we are doing catch your attention? Or, are you expanding your portfolio and need a new element within it? It is extremely important to understand where the need comes from, the pain points, and what a partner is trying to solve and then build on that, together. 

“What we really appreciate about WithSecure™ is that they ask what’s missing and what our clients are looking for and then really listen and implement that feedback.”
Adam Matthews, Lead Analyst at KryptoKloud.

Find out more about what it means to partner with WithSecure in our latest case study here.

How does that transfer to the end customer?

If you are listening to the vendors, it would appear that there is an endless list of solutions that you need to have in place just to cover the basics and yet still, you turn the page of your newspaper and there is another attack happening.

Over the past few years, cybersecurity has become a boardroom discussion. They simply don’t understand what people are talking about, therefore begin to experience ‘cyber fatigue’; we don’t understand what people are telling us but look at the company next door that has spent a fortune on cyber security and still got attacked. This is where our partners need to cut through the noise and become the trusted advisor that lays it on the line for them. In turn, we need to build that trust with the partner and support them in that mission. 

Indeed, with the right advisers, we can turn cybersecurity into an asset that increases the trustworthiness of the company and in turn, its valuation.  

Find out what it means to partner with us and fill in a contact form here: Managed Service Providers | Cyber Security | WithSecure™

Doesn’t this run the risk of cyber security v cyber insurance?

Yes, very much. Companies get so confused that they think cybersecurity is the best option, so if something does happen they are covered. But is this a fix? Recently, I was at a roundtable event where this was being discussed. Even just deciding which kind of cybersecurity to choose is extremely complicated because insurance companies cover themselves well. Also, everything you need to have in place just to buy the insurance is ridiculous – people, tools, etc. This makes the insurance cost virtually untenable and this needs to be communicated. 

Finally, can trust lead to peace of mind? 

It is very interesting that you have asked this question, as security as peace of mind is something we have discussed internally for a long time. Ultimately, as a business, this is what you want to achieve. Again, it comes back to surrounding yourself with people you trust and who can help you to give you that feeling. 

Our brand message is that no one can do it alone. This is something we have learnt over time – co-security is critical to everyone succeeding. So, the question is more: ‘what kind of people do you surround yourself with’? Within that, you absolutely have to have the cybersecurity vendor or consulting organization in the mix if you are a larger firm, or a partner if you are smaller. 

If partners only work with the vendors who provide technology, then if a customer experiences an attack, they have no one to turn to, because they have only bought the license and technology. With us, they know we are there when things go well, but also when there is trouble. After all, peace of mind is a security outcome.

Photo credit – Marcos Mayer, Unsplash