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3 Smart PR Practices For Cybersecurity Startups

By Fraser Gillies 23 January, 2020

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For many consumers, it seems that cybersecurity has a perpetual sense of peril and necessity.

Cyber-attacks have increased in frequency to every 39 seconds worldwide. As a result, widespread panic and the demand for cybersecurity has never been higher. 

However, rising numbers in data breaches have created distrust between cybersecurity companies and their consumers. 

Akhilesh Tuteja, Global Co-Leader for KPMG,  says consumers are “rightly concerned about data breaches”. Not surprising given the constant news coverage around massive data leaks of personal information. 

The negative coverage surrounding cybersecurity companies may lead to consumers tarring your startup, and other cybersecurity businesses, with the same brush as those suffering massive data breaches. This is a big problem.

However, it’s not unsolvable.

This tension between the need and wariness for cybersecurity presents an opportunity for your business. 

The companies that are able to address consumer concerns can have a competitive edge


Akhilesh Tuteja

Cybersecurity companies’ ability to react to customer issues and adapt to market change is to some degree, dependent on a company’s size. 

It’s in this space that cybersecurity startups can thrive against their big cyber corporation counterparts.

What’s the best way to draw bright lines between large, clunky cyber and new, streamlined cyber startups?

An exceptional PR strategy, of course.

With that in mind, here are some clever manoeuvres your cybersecurity PR strategy should have:

1. Be Transparent

Looking to gain positive exposure for your cybersecurity startup? Remember these three precious words:

Clarity is key.

Cybersecurity is an industry with ever-evolving challenges. By acknowledging these challenges and outlining how you plan to combat them, you build consumer trust and credibility. In fact, 81% of consumers say that the ability to trust companies to make good decisions is one of the biggest factors when it comes to making the decision ‘to buy or not to buy’

Transparency is a big proponent for building that trust. In fact, 73% of consumers feel the transparency of a company is more important than their prices.

But, how do you demonstrate this to consumers? 

Let me give you an example.

Startups who are open about their attempts to have robust cyber risk management reduce the negative consequences of cybersecurity breaches. 

In a study conducted by IT risk professor Robin Pennington, there was clear evidence of a ‘contagion effect’ of data breaches across cybersecurity companies. However, those companies who implement risk management in accordance with AICPA guidelines fare much better in terms of public perception than those that don’t.

So, what’s the main takeaway from this?

Confidence between the cybersecurity businesses and their consumers is eroded with each cyber-attack reported in the media.

However, if your startup’s messaging is transparent and clearly defines your approach to preventing these kinds of disasters, you’ll instantly have a leg up on your competitors.  

2. Use your size to your advantage

Sorry to be a Debbie downer, but I’ve got to address the obvious. 

Big cybersecurity corporations usually benefit from the illusion of being more credible than a smaller startup.

They’ve grown to become the cybersecurity power-house they are for good reason, so why trust a smaller, dweeby wannabe?

Well, as the story goes, David beats Goliath. 

“How does that apply to my startup?,” I hear you ask. Well, by remembering ANOTHER three precious words.

Small is beautiful. 

As a cyber startup, this is arguably your biggest USP. For example, it’s a poorly-kept secret that the majority of big cyber-attacks happen to big corporations who use the services of big cybersecurity companies. 

As a startup, you should hammer home you’re a smaller company with less clients and an easier-to-manage database. You can also be more adaptable and streamlined in your decision-making should data breaches arise. 

Furthermore, large cybersecurity companies tend to scale costs according to the size of a company’s security threat. If a company using an older, bigger cybersecurity company suddenly experiences a Ddos attack on its site, the cost of dealing with the issue will likely skyrocket. However, you can offer scalable alternatives that deal with attacks without delay or ramping up prices. 

Your size, or lack of it, can enable you to stand out from big cyber in ways they haven’t even considered. In the words of Christina Aguilera, “you are beautiful”.

3. Get on social media

Hold on. Isn’t this just some generic advice that would apply to any startup of any industry? 

Well, to some degree. 

However,  that doesn’t mean social media’s role in a solid cyber security PR strategy should be underestimated.

For one, positive announcements regarding your startup’s activities on your different social media channels can cut through the forest of negativity surrounding cybersecurity companies.

Moreover, social media’s the perfect arena to show your ability to remain in the loop with current cyber affairs. For example, application security company Distil Networks regularly post reports around the latest, most dangerous bots: 

Social media PR can be a bit of an afterthought for cybersecurity startups. However, when it comes to demonstrating you have your finger on the pulse, you could do worse than staying social. 

Final Thoughts

When thinking of cybersecurity and PR, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of crisis management. 

A good outcome for the PR campaign of a cybersecurity startup appears to end with successfully putting out fires related to data breaches or information leaks. 

We don’t quite see it like that. 

To us, PR shouldn’t be something to fear for the cybersecurity industry. Rather, cybersecurity PR is the key to shining the spotlight on all of the things that make your cybersecurity startup great. 

Harness the power of PR with these useful tips, and advance your cyber startup into the realm of digital domination. 


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