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It’s About Us, It’s About Trust: 4 Reliable Information Sources for CISOs

by | Jul 23, 2020


Today’s tech media landscape has become cluttered with an abundance of information platforms and sources. Where, then, are cybersecurity professionals, C-Suite leaders, and CISOs in particular, turning to for in-depth, trustworthy information?

Merritt Group partnered with T.E.N. to survey CISOs to ascertain the “who,” “where,” and “why” regarding their information-gathering preferences. Full details can be found in the full 2020 Marketing & Selling to the CISO report, but here’s the breakdown of the top four trusted information sources for CISOs:

  • Industry Peers

By far, the most common method that CISOs choose to acquire information that feeds buying decisions is through conversations with their industry peers. Whether it’s about receiving information on new cybersecurity vendors and products (64 percent) or just becoming more educated on industry trends (43 percent), our survey results made it abundantly clear that CISOs trust and appreciate their fellow leaders more than any other source of information. Therefore, marketers need to focus the majority of their time and resources on building relationships that will be rewarded with organic, word-of-mouth recommendations. For example, social media offers one easy avenue to nurture relationships. Develop an engagement strategy to identify the platform where the individual(s) you are trying to reach are most active, engage with their content via comments and likes and post your own insights and thoughts to facilitate conversations.

  • In-Person Events

So, where do CISOs engage with these industry peers? The most common answer, at least prior to COVID-19, was at in-person events such as dinners and roundtable discussions (38 percent). Our survey validated that CISOs appreciate the interpersonal and intimate settings that these options provide, especially when compared to the more traditional avenues of webinars (15 percent), whitepapers (15 percent) or case studies (13 percent). A top CISO at a network visibility firm even noted that given time constraints, he would much rather talk to peers than join a webinar that’s unlikely to wield actionable results.

However, organizational resources and priorities have been transformed in the new era of social distancing and remote work. By recognizing that there is not a true substitute for in-person events and face-to-face communication, CISOs, vendors, and marketers alike should focus on finding a Plan B, or even Plan C, to build relationships, just in case the new norm of remote work is here to stay. Rather than waiting for life as we know it to resume, consider planning a virtual conference with smaller breakout sessions for in-depth discussion or organizing an exclusive first look demo of a hot new solution. We are closely monitoring shifting mindsets towards virtual conferences and engagement with online networking sites, such as LinkedIn. Our report found that 66 percent of CISOs currently use the networking tool on a regular basis and they are receptive to making new connections.