Security: Learn the 360 from marketing’s playbook

Sometimes the best inspiration for your cybersecurity strategy can come from other fields. Take marketing for example. Marketing has played a big role in the success of companies like Nike, which has grown its stock over 70% since June 2017, with revenues topping $10 billion a quarter and digital profits up a “staggering 42%” according to Footwear News. How did they Just Do It?

Nike’s personalized insights at scale

In the Footwear News article “How Nike’s Direct-to-Consumer Plan Is Crushing the Competition” Nike COO Eric Sprunk described the company’s data-driven strategy:

Nike’s technology investments and acquisitions in the data science field will support Nike’s ability to read and react to digital demand signals and increase full-price selling…

As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data-optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior. This is how we serve consumers more personally at scale.

In other words, the better Nike knows each individual customer, the more sneakers it will sell. But that’s a tough challenge when you’re selling 25 pairs every second.

Nike focuses on data-rich analytics to achieve personalized insights at scale. One senior Nike executive describes a future where “If you buy a pair of shoes online, [our goal is that] rather than have a number and a gender, it will just have your name.”

Salesforce’s Customer 360

Salesforce doesn’t just practice data-driven customer analysis- it sells marketing analytics as a product. We can study Salesforce Customer 360 to give us an inside view into how marketing teams achieve customer focus at scale using better data.

The Salesforce Customer 360 solution starts with a Data Sources feature for collecting customer interaction data from multiple sources and Data Mapping to normalize that data.

Data mapping is important for achieving a 360 degree view because customer’s usernames may be stored in fields with different names across solutions like email marketing and webinar signups so these need to be mapped in a common information model.

Any interaction with the customer, from automated ad targeting to handling a support request, can be correlated with the customer’s consolidated profile. This profile includes personal information, past interactions, and recommendations based on related or similar cases.

Note the Global Party ID assigned to the customer in the screenshot below. Dozens of datasets may hold relevant data for this individual and the Customer 360 unifies these datasets in a way that personalizes marketing interactions and improves the customer experience.

The more you learn about Salesforce Customer 360, the more it makes sense why marketers need an “enterprise-grade customer data management and activation platform to build a unified profile of each customer and deliver hyper-personalized engagement across marketing, commerce, service, and beyond.”

From Customer 360 to Cyber 360

As an Information Security professional, I look at Marketing’s unified profile and timeline with envy. That’s because cybersecurity teams have a painfully fragmented view into users and assets.

For example, while Microsoft Active Directory used to be a reliable directory of user accounts, enterprises now deal with a mix that may include AD, Okta, GSuite, IAM, and a long tail of solutions that have their own set of users.

Even as new IAM and IdP solutions help to consolidate logins, our cloud activity logs remain another story. What did a user do once she logged into Workday or connected to a bastion server? What about service accounts that perform actions on behalf of a developer or administrator? More interactions remain siloed than ever before. And with the growth of multi-cloud architectures, bad visibility is getting worse.

That’s why cybersecurity leaders should study the Customer 360 model and adapt it to a Cyber 360. A unified view along normalized dimensions would enable personalized threat detections and investigations that join past behavior, team membership, and related alerts across the many services with which each user and system interact.

While Cyber 360 models are still emerging, they have the potential to boost security teams the way that the Customer 360 turns marketing teams in companies like Nike and Salesforce into winners.

I believe that better data is the key to better security. These are personal posts that don’t represent Snowflake.