The villains are getting more and more brazen. These days, if you’re in network security, you’re seeing the evil from the front lines. And consider this: in 2018, Cisco blocked seven trillion cyber threats, or 20 billion a day, according to its Chairman and CEO, Chuck Robbins.

Yes, cybercriminals are doing their best to wreak havoc on our businesses. Cybersecurity companies are the superheroes who save the day by keeping us safe from threats. People gravitate toward superheroes. It’s easy to see why people paid $21.38 billion for the pleasure of seeing the bad guys get their butts kicked in Avengers: Endgame.

But this is no movie we’re talking about here. This is real-world good-vs.-evil stuff. Companies’ brands and reputations are at stake. Cybersecurity companies are the superheroes everyone loves and will pay to see.

It’s Gotham Out There

In our network and data-reliant world, we need our Tony Starks (aka Ironman) and Bruce Waynes (aka Bat Man). The damage that hackers cause is growing astronomically as data breaches cause companies’ stock prices to plummet and ransomware incidents extort millions out of companies and governments. Even relatively primitive denial of service attacks ding organizations up to $2 million in damage, according to a 2019 report by Bulletproof, a security monitoring company.

It costs companies in other ways, too, as they are forced to focus inordinate amounts of company energy and resources on network security. A survey of C-suite respondents published by the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals almost a third of corporate managers believe the threat of cyber-attacks and efforts to mitigate their effects stifle innovation. Almost half of them believe dealing with issues involving cyber-security impede product launches.

Today’s Global Threats Require an Avengers-Style Approach

As the wonder women and super men in network security continue to take their game to the international stage, they’re not just selling servers, they’re selling ongoing services, too. Consequently, the good guys are encountering new challenges as they rush to reach emergencies around the world.

Lesson #1: Brands — whether they be hero brands or network security brands — grow their reputations through quiet consistency. Take Spidey, Clark Kent or Bruce Banner as your model: they live relatively humble and mild-mannered lives most of the time, then when the bad guys come out, they do their job and then go back to their normal lives. Similarly, fulfilling your service level agreements (SLAs) by providing post-sales support and spare parts excellently and unfailingly is standard procedure today.

Lesson #2: Loyalty and notoriety come from rescuing clients or populations in their time of need. In other words, relish the opportunity to save a customer’s butt. It’s money in the bank, considering how much it builds your brand reputation. Do it and they’ll remember you forever, refer you unceasingly, and generally they’ll be dream clients. Just look at Thor: saves earth from The Destroyer in his first movie and before you know it, he’s starring or cameoing in seven more Marvel films.

Lesson #3: Superheroes and today’s network security saviors make it look easy, but they’d be nothing without planning and preparation. Having solutions, connections and contingencies all set up in advance enables Ironman to simply step into his suit and rush to the rescue halfway around the world at a moment’s notice. In a similar way, heroically delivering spare parts or field service in a matter of hours to faraway places all hinges on the systems, partnerships, and infrastructure you’ve set up in advance.

Take a Hero’s Stance in Today’s Hacked World

The Hero’s Work Begins with the Sale

You make advanced network security hardware or software that businesses rely on day in and day out, but your work does not end with the sale. In fact, your obligation to customers — and arguably your greatest challenge — begins at that point. Your ability to deliver service and replacement parts within a matter of hours anywhere in the world could make or break your customer and determines the success of your company.

Be Faster than the Bad Guys in Everything

In network security, slow response-time is your kryptonite. So be fast. Downtime can damage any business. Not only is your brand reputation on the line, but downtime presents significant cost implications for you and your customers.

Network security is a critical component of a business’ immune system defending all day, every day against viruses, malware, and ransomware. When servers and security systems go down, customers become vulnerable to attack as they wait for parts or service.

View the 2019 Global Threat Report.

Heroes Don’t Make Excuses

Your warranty and service level agreement (SLA) are promises to your customers that you’ll protect their daily operations with your state-of-the-art hardware and software. You know what’s on the line: nothing less than their data integrity, ability to conduct business and bottom line. International boundaries and local limitations can’t get in the way of fulfilling this. Companies must do whatever it takes to fulfill their agreements regardless of the cost — and those costs can add up if you’re not careful.

It’s Not Enough to Be Good, You Have to Be Good Globally

The challenge for OEMs in this industry is to navigate all the functions required to keep your customer’s data safe everywhere and all at once. Post-sales support includes coordinating across call centers, field service technicians and spare parts inventory in multiple countries, all while delivering rapid response times and accurate technical services. Today’s customers demand super service, but that’s nearly impossible without a strong global footprint supported by local expertise.

Only Local Heroes Matter

Supporting your products around the world requires systems and processes that minimize product downtime, optimize spare parts warehousing and reduce total cost of ownership. A world-class solution revolves around each installed base around the world as well as your SLAs. To fulfill on these, you’ll need a service supply chain that ensures shipping and receiving accuracy, on-time performance, inventory accuracy and dock-to-stock on-time performance. This is no easy task when global shipping, trade compliance and local technicians and workers need to be sourced, trained and managed.

Success Requires Superhuman Focus

Meeting your warranty and service level agreement (SLA) obligations is a must, but it can require considerable handholding, especially on a global level. The trick is to honor your promises while: A) keeping your focus on innovation and hardware improvements and B) keeping your cost of ownership down.

What Does It Take to Become a Caped Crusader in Global Network Security?

Rushing to rescue your customers is about more than providing a fast and excellent end-user experience; making the business of it work requires planning in every installed base whether you’re selling in new markets, reclaiming and recycling parts, or navigating the myriad rules and regulations of global trade compliance.

To accomplish that you’ll need global footprint of distribution centers, command centers and global service centers. Where are your customers and in what countries? You need a plan for delivering your SLAs to them and minimizing downtime in every instance. That calls for service logistics tailored to your needs.

Additionally, the success of your service logistics and technical services rely on inventory integrity worldwide. That is a function of technology, streamlined processes and robust reporting capabilities that are purpose-built to provide inventory visibility and accuracy throughout your supply chain.

For every install base, you’ll need service parts logistics to get replacement parts to the right place at the right time — all while minimizing overhead and downtime. Consistently shipping parts on time requires managing in-country or in-region inventory so you are never at the mercy of shipping challenges or customs delays.

Is Your Brand Up To the Task At Hand?

Expanding into new markets and building the business is a product of how well you can rise to the occasion everywhere and anywhere. Simply delivering on time isn’t your only challenge. There are other considerations. You’ll need field services that enable you to dispatch service technicians to quickly address problems. Your local connections and resources are critical to success when it comes to maintaining standards amidst different cultures and trade compliance requirements. And to minimize cost of ownership, you’ll need to be able to keep defective products in-country or in-region for test and screen whenever possible. This reduces the turnaround time for returned parts identified as no-trouble-found (NTF) or no-fault-found (NFF).

They Call It ‘The Hero Business’ for a Reason

Saving customers from the international forces of evil isn’t easy. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. Flash Global provides service supply chain solutions, including rapid field services and spare parts logistics, in over 130 countries. To an international customer base that includes leading network security OEMs, we’re like the Avengers’ Nick Fury, working behind the scenes to keep their customers happy with fast response times that ensure their firewalls are secure and data is safe. Best of all, we work as private label contractors under our clients’ brands, so they’re always the heroes in the eyes of their customers. Find your Nick Fury in Flash Global. Contact our service supply chain experts today.