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Translating Cybersecurity Procurement To The B2B eCommerce Business Model

Originally posted by PYMNTS.com. Read the original article here.

ATLANTA, GA — February 8, 2021 —Venture capitalists pumped more than $8 billion into the cybersecurity space last year alone, an investment pipeline fueled, in part, by the dramatically increasing cyber threat that businesses of all sizes continue to face.

There is now more choice than ever for a business to find a variety of cybersecurity solution providers addressing a range of issues, from securing against the dreaded business email compromise (BEC) to maintaining compliance with a plethora of regulatory requirements. All of that choice creates a problem, however: Often, businesses may not be sure which vendors are the right fit for them, and can end up wasting valuable cash on excess or overlapping service providers.

It's a conundrum that the eCommerce model is primed to address, according to Armistead Whitney, CEO of CyberXchange, recently launched by Apptega. The B2B eCommerce platform, launched in Q4 of 2020, presents business buyers with a marketplace of cybersecurity solution providers designed to reduce wasted spend and optimize the technologies that firms decide to procure. As Whitney told PYMNTS, the B2B eCommerce model is a natural fit for the cybersecurity procurement space.

"Cybersecurity, as far as the IT industry goes, has the most potential to leverage eCommerce," he explained. "With so many providers, it's confusing and competitive — and ripe for change."

Sifting Through The Crowd

By aggregating a variety of cybersecurity vendors onto a single digital marketplace, potential buyers have the ability to gain a clearer picture of what's available on the market, and which providers may best suit their needs.

B2B eCommerce is on the upswing, Whitney noted — and corporate buyers are more comfortable than they have ever been with sourcing and making purchases online. Yet to date, he said, there has not been a comprehensive online marketplace specifically for the cybersecurity sector.

The friction that the online commerce model solves goes beyond consolidating a supplier base, however. Whitney pointed to the proliferation of increasingly complex and industry-specific regulatory requirements that businesses must address through a comprehensive cybersecurity program. "That means you have to find and implement dozens, if not hundreds, of products and services to meet all of your requirements," he said.

In addition to employee training, cybersecurity policy development, firewalls, mobile device protection, password strategies and a variety of other must-haves when developing a cybersecurity program, businesses also need to know whether or not a cybersecurity tool will support compliance with a variety of frameworks — including PCI in the payments space, HIPAA in the healthcare space and more.

Whitney also pointed to Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements for suppliers working with the U.S. Department of Defense — which may eventually expand to all federal government agency suppliers — as another point of pressure facing businesses' cybersecurity strategies today. To address this need, CyberXchange has implemented an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered mapping feature that allows corporate buyers to source a vendor and gain a clearer view of the kinds of regulatory security frameworks they can support.

Addressing Payments Friction

In creating a more tactful strategy of sourcing cybersecurity vendors, Whitney said organizations have the opportunity to reduce wasted spend and consolidate their suppliers. Boosting transparency into what these vendors actually provide means a company may be able to implement solutions that address all the needs of their cybersecurity program with only a handful of vendors.

"I was talking to the CIO of a major commercial real estate firm, who said he has more than 90 cybersecurity products," Whitney recalled. "And his words were, 'I had no idea if we were using them properly, or if there was redundancy.'"

Today, CyberXchange acts as a matchmaker to connect corporate buyers and cybersecurity vendors — but its product roadmap includes eventual quote and transaction capabilities, workflows that are not as easy to translate to the eCommerce model as the sourcing workflow.

Suppliers price their products and solutions in a variety of ways, whether offering one-time costs or subscription or usage-based models. Costs also fluctuate based on the size of a company, the number of offices and employees, and other factors. CyberXchange will have to take these nuances into account as it eventually facilitates B2B transactions in a way that is more automated and efficient than if vendors were to manage this process manually.

As B2B eCommerce proliferates, Whitney also said there is greater opportunity for the vendors to adjust their own pricing and billing models in a way that is better suited for the digital marketplace — including the adoption of a one-click purchase functionality.

"There will be a portion of the market where vendors are comfortable creating a one-click price and transaction," he said. "Probably not all, starting out. But once a company sees the efficiencies an eCommerce platform can bring, they can completely reinvent the way they sell by adapting their products to an eCommerce model."

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