June 8, 2021

Network Segmentation is (still) hard

I’ve blogged about network segmentation before, and many enterprises continue to struggle with it, particularly on-premises. The failure rate for network segmentation projects remains high, and most projects last longer than the average tenure of a CISO.

One of the biggest mistakes we see is aiming for some new “shiny new object/silver bullet” to solve the problem (looking at you microsegmentation). The tool shouldn’t drive the design, which is one of the six recommendations in the report. Here are few snippets from the research…

Separate Zoning Design From Implementation. Build your zoning strategy separate from the specific implementation constraints of the environment. Design first, pick the tool second. Don’t let the tool drive the design. Picking the tool first, then creating the design is the canary in the coal mine of a doomed-to-fail network segmentation project.

When creating the design, remember that more zone does not always equal better security. Start with new assets/projects to progressively reduce the “zoning gap.” (i.e., stop the bleeding). Start small and iterate. Aim for short, simple wins, and accept small, incremental improvements instead of aiming for “big-bang” implementations. Large “boil-the-ocean” segmentation projects fail much more often than smaller ones. Here’s a link to the full report (paywall): The 6 Principles of Successful Network Segmentation Strategies

Regards, Andrew

The Sales and Marketing Alignment Gap

Sales and marketing teams have always been at odds with each other. It’s easy for someone outside the organization — for example, an analyst — to say that they just need to work together to achieve alignment. There are plenty of internal obstacles to overcome, such as people, process and even technology preventing these functions from truly working together. But it can be just as hard to define the areas where they need to collaborate. And more specifically, what overall sales and marketing alignment looks like. 

Sales and marketing alignment is a large initiative that very few organizations talk about. They ask about elements that lead to alignment. Teams want to know how to generate more demand, more pipeline and even how to work together. That is different from being aligned. Alignment implies that both teams are in lockstep from top to bottom. Unrealistic? Maybe. But once you realize alignment is comprised of a series of specific actions that ultimately generate revenue, consider the most important tactics to collaborate on and where to start.
Defining sales and marketing alignment
Defining alignment starts at the tactical level. There is an existing data source that I have access to that can help define sales and marketing alignment. The Gartner Sales Score diagnostic is available to Gartner sales practice clients to “evaluate your sales organization’s functional maturity … across six objectives.” This tool indicates client maturity across the functional activities, so the questions build upon each other to determine level of maturity. There are several questions that correspond to the recommendations made in this discussion about sales and marketing alignment, which not only define alignment, but can help to create its own maturity model in the future. With this in mind, I’m only going to address one of those questions in this post.
The alignment gap is 36%
The question is about the most foundational tactic to generating pipeline and the one with the most unexpected results. When asked whether sales and marketing teams had a common lead definition, only 49% said they did. Since this is a critical element of acquiring new customers, Gartner expects sales and marketing to have developed this common definition in 60-85% of organizations. This creates an alignment gap of 36% (see figure below). More than one-third fewer organizations than expected have a lead definition developed together and agreed upon by sales and marketing.

Closing the alignment gap
The lead handoff is often one of the most contentious parts of the sales and marketing relationship. The marketing leaders complain that sellers never contact the marketing supplied leads. Sales leaders complain about the quality of marketing leads and that’s why sellers ignore them. This creates inefficiencies as well as wasted resources throughout the demand process.

When sales and marketing leaders work together to solve their handoff issues, they will be addressing the alignment gap. A common lead definition is the place to start. Marketing provides their input to the lead definition based on persona information, use cases, broad marketing trends and data from both third party providers and existing customers. These may include attributes such as company size data, industry, technology used and current interests. The sales leader can validate all of this information based on sellers’ experiences closing deals with these types of customers. When both leaders have a hand in defining a high quality lead, their teams are more likely to stand behind the quality of leads and follow up on them.
Obligatory movie metaphor conclusion
If this were a movie from the 1980s, the marketing leader would wake up one morning in the sales leader’s body and vice versa. Each would develop empathy and understanding of the other by living for a day in the opposite role. We don’t have that option, so leaders can only pretend that happened and adopt a new attitude. They can solve the alignment gap by coming together to create and agree upon a lead definition as the first step towards sales and marketing alignment.

BrandPost: EPISODE 3: Edge Ecosystem and Orchestration

Interaction-intensive experiences require the orchestration of compute, network, and data resources closer to the customer to deliver low latency, and intrinsically secure applications. While the edge is the future, making it all work together takes planning and execution. To read this article in full, please click here

CIO Portal