Is there always opportunity with risk?

Opinion

Is there always opportunity with risk?

So I was reading a story on MicroScope headlined Mobile threats creating channel security opportunities and saw the following quote at the end from Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of Wick Hill: "There is a huge business opportunity in security, only limited by an organisation's total budget and ability to implement solutions.”

Given his well-established presence in the industry and Wick Hill’s long history, there’s no doubt that Kilpatrick knows whereof he speaks. It’s self-evident that security is a major opportunity for channel businesses because each technological advance seems to being a new range of threats with it.

While I’m not arguing with the value of what resellers do in helping their customers to protect their data, networks and devices against security threats, it does seem to me that they (and the IT industry) could be suffering from an attitude problem.

Allow me to explain myself by way of analogy. Imagine if a country felt it was threatened by a neighbouring state. Can you imagine the armed forces of that country viewing the threat as an opportunity? Even if they did think it would be chance to use their shiny new weapons, would they say it out loud? Or if there was a sudden outbreak of an infectious disease in a town, would local GPs view that as an opportunity?

Yet the channel and IT industry have become so accustomed to view threats as an opportunity that there’s a real danger they are losing sight of the potentially negative impression they could be leaving on their customers. Worse still, they might not recognise what their instinctive reaction in associating the word ‘opportunity’ with ‘threat’ or ‘problem’ says about their own perception of the industry they work in.

I believe most people would be happier accentuating the positives about technology, so what does it say about them and their industry that they spend most of their time cashing in on fear, uncertainty and doubt?

There’s a reason why FUD has survived as an acronym for so long in an industry where acronyms come and go with alarming and bewildering frequency. It’s because it often seems to be an accurate description of the underpinning philosophy and practice of the industry. 

Indeed, while technologies and trends may come and go, you could be forgiven for suspecting that many IT businesses are more than happy to make a very healthy living based on the industry motto of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

This was first published in April 2014

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