Case Study

Prominence for a CTO/Cyber Expert In a Highly Dynamic News Environment

BeyondTrust

‘Rapid Response’ and Expert Positioning Campaign Results in Multiple Top Tier National Media Placements

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Background

BeyondTrust, a provider of privileged identity management software, tasked Lumina Communications with establishing the company as an authority in the market for cyber security protection and vulnerability management.  In the past few years, the number of cyber security “incidents” have increased and attracted a firestorm of media attention from investigative reports ranging from the business and industry press to daily news reports.

It was not only the IT press that was covering this topic.  The national news media began focusing its microscope on Chinese hacktivists, state sponsored cyber espionage, invasive ‘worms” crippling millions of personal computers, data theft of personal credit card information, high profile corporate and celebrity hacks, privacy concerns, cyber legislation and data breaches on the level of Google’s highly public security issues.  The issue quickly became a major source of content that is rife with intrigue for the media as unfolding news reports, sensational journalism and investigative features,

The market for information security has experienced a high degree of growth based on the increased demand for products that manage cyber risk and ensure data protection.   Companies like BeyondTrust that have expertise in vulnerability management software and solutions to defend against and repair from data breach and cyber incidents, stand to benefit from increased attention.

Lumina’s campaign differentiated BeyondTrust from a vast sea of technology companies and consultants trotting out their ‘expert’ sources for media comment and appearances on issues of cybercrime, data theft, hack attacks, privacy etc.  We established Marc Maiffret, CTO of BeyondTrust, as a credible and trusted source on a range of information security topics and issues that the news media were paying attention to.

Challenge

The Lumina team encountered several challenges executing this campaign.

1) Establishing Credibility for a “Vendor” – The PR team would need to establish credibility for Marc Maiffret, a C-level executive at enterprise security firm BeyondTrust and thus at risk of being categorized as “vendor” whose comments would be self-serving and biased toward his company’s commercial concerns.

2) Simplifying a Complex Topic and Associated Issues – The topic of cyber security runs deep, with highly technical and complex issues that required simplification for a broadcast and national media audience.  The team would need to establish clear talking points on the issues without coming off as promotional of company’s products and services.

3) Cutting through the Noise – Today’s news environment is replete with cybercrime and cyber espionage stories, in which journalists need to sift through hundreds of “PR pitches” to find real experts with valid and cogent commentary for the top tier press.  In order to be successful, Lumina would need to differentiate   spokesperson Marc Maiffret from hundreds of other so-called ‘cyber security experts’.

Marc Maiffret, CTO, BeyondTrust

STRATEGY

The Lumina team interviewed BeyondTrust CTO Marc Maiffret extensively to develop creative ways to position his personal experience, professional insights and unique perspective for expert comment on today’s most pressing security issues.

The team would position Marc, a former hacker, as an exceptionally knowledgeable source on hacking, privacy, information security and cyber security, by highlighting the key points about his background and his several key contributions to corporate information security during his professional career.  This elevated his position as a credible source on industry issues, exclusive of his current role as CTO of BeyondTrust.

Sample positioning points include the following:

  • Marc, a security research pioneer, is credited with discovering some of the very first critical Microsoft security vulnerabilities including the first Microsoft computer worm, Code Red.
  • Marc is an industry visionary who created one of the first Vulnerability Management and Web Application Firewall products, which to date, have been deployed worldwide and won numerous product awards.
  • Marc leads one of the world’s most renowned security research teams. He studies each security bulletin issued by Microsoft and other global companies and can easily determine such things as whether something is ‘wormable’ or not.
  • Maiffret has accepted three separate invitations to testify before the United States Congress on matters of national cyber security and critical security threats posed to both public and private infrastructures.
  • He was named one of People Magazine’s 30 People Under 30

Results

The Lumina business media team secured a number of high-profile placements for BeyondTrust, which prominently featured company CTO Marc Maiffret as an authoritative expert on cyber security and elevated Beyond Trust’s reputation as global leader in vulnerability management. This coverage is a result of strategic media relations campaign, crafted to take advantage of a dynamic information environment in which data breach, data theft and cybercrime made daily national headlines. Our rapid response tactics upheld Marc Maiffret at the go-to expert to explain it all.  We leveraged the breaking news reports and stories of hacks for the client’s advantage.

 

  • The New York Times: Closing the Door on Hackers
    • Note: This was an extremely high profile placement in the Times Opinion column which editors described to us as “precious real estate”.  No easy feat to get noticed here; Lumina combined a unique individual with a rare track record of experience as former hacker and government informant with the current policy climate surrounding cyber security legislation. We leveraged specific timely news in the ongoing debate about the points of a U.S. cyber security bill and the unique knowledge of Beyond Trust’s CTO as a former hacker to create this original and compelling opinion piece.

 

  • Businessweek: Corporate America Is an Unwitting Accomplice to Chinese Cyber Attacks
    • Note: We leveraged a longstanding contact at Businessweek, who had a new editorial mandate to add more technology into the mix of management topics.  Marc’s commentary picked up on a Mandiant report about cyber espionage and the massive computer hacking campaign against the U.S.  The report made a lot of headlines but as Marc pointed out in his commentary, misses the most crucial information:  how the attackers broke in and the vulnerability it presents.  We suggested that Marc could write at high level about how attacks work, how the industry has it wrong, and how government and industry needs to rethink its approach to security.

 

  • BusinessweekThis Research Paper Explains How to Predict the Next Arab Spring and Cyber Attacks
    • Marc’s comments were prominently featured in this investigative report. Having established Marc Maiffret’s credibility, Lumina then responded to a Businessweek inquiry to tap his insights on a controversial research paper from Sandia National Lab claiming success rate on the method of predictive analysis (for analyzing social media as means for advance warning of cyber-attacks. Marc was asked to answer questions on if this is consistently successful. The authors claim to have a 95% to 100% accuracy distinguishing events that will lead to cyber-attacks.
  • CNBCWATCH THE VIDEO
    • Note: Lumina worked with segment producers at CNBC to book Marc Maiffret as a special guest on this top-rated cable news network. Mark appeared live on-air in a roundtable with show anchors who fired questions at him off-the-bat about why most companies aren’t building technology with security in mind. The team secured this interview when the US House of Representatives passed the CIPSA security bill. However, we had been laying the groundwork for such an interview for over a year by cultivating relationships with show bookers and producers and carefully bringing Marc to their attention.

 

  • Associated PressFirst lady latest whose private info leaked online
    • Note: In response to breaking news, Lumina arranged for Marc to speak with the AP about the implications of recent high profile data hacking, which included the first lady and the vice president. Notably, Marc’s comments appear in the article following a statement from President Barack Obama.

 

  • Forbes.comAre Cloud Providers Absentee Landlords on Cybersecurity
    • Note: With the major industry trend in companies shifting their data to the cloud, Lumina developed thought-leadership stance for Maiffret. This resulted in a highly-coveted contributed article that reveals his perspective on where responsibility lies for protecting of data stored in the Cloud. The pieced received several comments and was Tweeted multiple times by readers.

 

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