Resolving the issues between remote work and enterprise security

I had the opportunity to be the guest on the White Bull video webcast series recently. I spoke about how to understand the conflicts between working from home and keeping your enterprise secure, understanding what the differences are between zero trust networks and multi-factor authentication, how the idea of a secure perimeter has changed over the years, and other practical suggestions about managing and protecting passwords. The webcast was about 50 minutes:

FIR B2B podcast episode #144: The future of virtual events

While we’ve all been staying home and being virtual, Paul has done some original research and I have written this white paper for Network Solutions on helpful tips and tricks for IT pros that are involved in supporting virtual events.

The results of Paul’s informal census is that folks can’t wait to get back to F2F. We all have been in our pandemic bubbles for far too long and the urge to have human contact and serendipitous hallway meetings is a big reason to return to the rubber chicken circuit. But we’ve all learned a lot in the meantime about what makes virtual events successful. At its heart, you are putting on a live TV show with a very small staff to handle the production. You need to plan accordingly on the mixture of live and pre-recorded segments and figure out what tech you are going to use, including the video conferencing and the event management tool. (The two are different and you should understand the differences, which I explain in my paper.)

But virtual events have their purposes, including creating content that can be archived and used for marketing purposes long after the last attendee has disconnected. Unlike physical events, this content can be helpful in bringing in new customers and supporting new marketing campaigns, as well as supporting existing customers with FAQs, for example. And they can be very cost effective to produce, since you aren’t picking up huge travel and event hosting fees.

Listen to our 17 min. podcast here:

What endpoint protection solutions are available today (conference talk)

We are experiencing a changing nature of cyberattacks, especially as the world has moved towards more working from home. These attacks have evolved with the changing nature of our enterprise networks. Back when everyone was working from well-defined offices, we could definitely state that there was a difference between what was considered “outside” and “inside” the corporate network. But then the Internet happened, and we all became connected. Even before the pandemic, there was little difference. With the advent of the cloud, and definitely since the pandemic began, we are now all considered out. We are all working from home, using devices that aren’t necessarily ones that IT has purchased and sharing them with other family members. In my talk talk, I want to identify some trends that have changed the endpoint detection and response marketplace, and examine a few of the EDR products and show how they have evolved as well to meet these new collection of threats.

In this talk, which I gave at the Work From Anywhere conference sponsored by 1e in London, I describe some of the challenges and compare 1e’s Tachyon with two other endpoint tools, Tanium and Carbon Black.

FIR B2B podcast #143: Mitch Ratcliffe On How COVID is Making All Marketing Local Again

Mitch Ratcliffe is a business, product and content marketing leader with 35 years of experience in local media, technology marketing, online and broadcast publishing. Among the successful businesses he’s helped launch are the ON24 conferencing platform and BuzzLogic influencer marketing agency. He’s also served on the founding board of directors of Mitch shares our publication lineage with roles at Ziff-Davis, CMP and numerous other publishers. And he has a bionic neck

We spoke to Mitch about this recent post on Metaforce, his current digs. It touches on the changes that COVID-19 has wrought with modern B2B marketing. The new rule, he asserts, is to let no communication be wasted but also let no message waste your customer’s time. Engagement is an exercise in listening and serving, not selling.

One of the lasting effects of the pandem is that customers are embedded in their lives, not our brands.  That means the last marketing mile matters: The local network of SMBs and service providers associated with your brand creates a base of deeply engaged influencers who can work on your behalf. All marketing is going local in COVID’s wake. 

Listen to our 20 minute podcast here.

Webinar on overcoming fragmented data and improving the customer experience

In today’s changing times, tech companies must renew their focus on customers, and use their data effectively to create a holistic, 360-degree view of those customers. With this view in place, they can both improve the customer experience and better inform product development in order to attract new customers and retain existing customers. Facing fragmented data, slow and fragile data pipelines, growing demands and increasing costs, legacy data warehouse solutions are no longer sufficient. Enter next gen Cloud Data Platforms. With integrated data and seamless sharing, tech companies can now serve real-time analytics, scale up operations, and enhance the customer experience. This will take you to the slide deck for an IDG webinar that I did for Snowflake.

FIR B2B podcast episode #142: Why B2B marketers should care about “The Social Dilemma”

The movie The Social Dilemma is now streaming on Netflix. It’s been widely reviewed, and most of the reviews are positive.  (You can read my review for his Avast blog here.) It combines documentary-style interviews with leading minds formerly at Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Instagram and so on, along with star turns from Shoshana Zuboff, Jaron Lanier and Renee Diresta. The thesis is that the social giants have sold us and our data down the river, and we now are stuck with the results.

Paul Gillin and I discuss the wider implications about the movie for B2B marketers, particularly for the tech world that we both know so well. While neither of us learned anything new, the movie does portray a dark and dangerous situation situation developing. We feel that the time has come for advertisers to band together to acknowledge that this is a problem, to fight platforms’ tacit support for conspiracies and hate speech and to educate the public about how to be careful in their own consumption of social media posts and misinformation. There are several privacy suggestions in both the ending credits of the movie and on David’s post that could be starting places for a discussion.

Earlier this summer a group of advertisers banded together to boycott Facebook. The NY Times wrote about the results here. Basically, while many advertisers went dark, most of them came back in August. The revenue impact on Facebook wasn’t significant and many smaller businesses really have no choice but to use the platform.

We’d love to hear from you with other suggestions on how we can work together to improve the social media landscape. You can listen here for our podcast commentary about the movie.

FIR B2B podcast #141: How Domo pivoted to a virtual conference — in just 12 days

Business intelligence software firm Domo had been planning its March 18 Domopalooza conference for nearly a year. About 3,000 customers and partners were expected to flock to Salt Lake City for four days of technical training and meetings, capped by a concert by the Black Eyed Peas. But as quarantines and lockdowns began sweeping the world in late February, Domo made the tough call to take the conference virtual, with just 12 days to make the shift.

Chief Strategy Officer John Mellor spearheaded the shift. In this interview he summarizes the rapid series of decisions Domo had to make to pull off a successful virtual event that ultimately attracted more than 12,000 visitors. There are more details in this story that my podcasting partner Paul Gillin wrote for SiliconAngle.

Mellor turned a three-day event into one 90-minute plenary session that mixed live conversations with pre-taped segments, along with a series of dozens of break-out sessions that could be streamed on demand. He focused on delivering great content, driving a higher attendance and better engagement through a well-defined user community. He also saved a bunch of money, even after paying the no-show fees for the various in-person aspects of the event. In our podcast, he discusses his decisions and why he expects to take a “virtual first”  approach to future events.

Listen to our 21-minute podcast here:

FIR B2B podcast episode #140: Talend’s Lauren Vaccarello On Taking Marketing Virtual

Lauren Vaccarello’s first year as CMO of Talend has been about resilience, psychological trust and safety, along with frequent quick pivots. The former marketing executive at and Box and host of a marketing podcast has had to adjust to working with an entirely new leadership team, leading a full company rebrand (and a second rebrand thanks to COVID-19) and transforming a planned in-person event to a worldwide series of virtual events fielded across three continents in a single day.

In the process, Lauren has learned to think on her feet and how to rewire marketing in this brave new pandemic world. In our interview, we talk with her about the changes COVID-19 has wrought in the B2B world, what marketers still need to learn about digital marketing, how B2B is affected by the surge of e-commerce usage in the consumer world and why Talend is so transparent about pricing (its page is a model of clarity that every SaaS vendor should follow). She also tells why she is excited to be working for an all-female leadership team and the collaboration and shared responsibility they bring to the table. It’s something other Silicon Valley firms could learn from. Listen to our 30 minute podcast here:

FIR B2B podcast episode #139: Faulting and fixing Facebook’s hate speech problem

This week we discuss the Facebook ad boycott. Well, it really isn’t a total boycott but more like a brief pause by hundreds of major consumer brands in their advertising programs with Facebook and all of its social media platforms. CNN is keeping track of who is pulling their ads this month. However, the protests aren’t expected to hurt Facebook very much since most of its $70 billion in annual ad revenue comes from smaller businesses, something that Andrew Yang discusses on his podcast with cybersecurity pro John Redgrave and is worth listening to (after you listen to ours).

Montgomery College Pulls Ads From Facebook, Supports 'Stop Hate ...The effort was created by a group of anti-hate speech advocates such as NAACP and ADL under the banner of Stop Hate for Profit. That website lists their demands for changes to Facebook’s operations. We wonder why more B2B companies haven’t stepped up to this effort. I wrote a blog post with his point of view last month here. Shortly after we recorded this episode, the results of an internal audit were released, finding that Facebook’s “approach to civil rights remains too reactive and piecemeal.” Clearly the company still has a long way to go, particularly since top executives appear to be in denial that anything is wrong in the first place. I will post more about the audit results soon.

Facebook has also been criticized for some sloppy programming with its API, allowing discontinued mobile apps to still access private data. The company has made a lame and half-hearted response.

Speaking about other worthwhile podcasts, the NY Times tech columnist Kevin Roose has been producing a series called Rabbit Hole about how social networks in general, and YouTube in particular, suck people into echo chambers through their recommendation engines. It’s an unsettling series and well worth a listen if you want to know how Gen Z and  younger use social media.

You can listen to our 17 minute podcast here.

FIR B2B podcast episode #138: Keeping it real

COVID has given new meaning to the value of authenticity. Paul Gillin and I riff on a few examples:

Marketing Week speaks to’s CMO and what B2B can learn from B2C marketing. One thing is to keep it personal by forgetting about stock photos and telling personal stories. This helps to build trust and deliver better customer relationships. Of course, it helps to have a charismatic and opinionated CEO like Marc Benioff around to inspire the team.

Sprout Social’s Alicia Johnston writes about how to inspire action with your LinkedIn presence. Rather than making your vendor page a promotional smarmy read, take the time to be more aspirational and educational. This can help provide insights and make connections with your community. The piece also discusses ways to experiment to find your best corporate voice and how to time your posts for maximum impact.

Social media influencers are raking in the big bucks, and we think it’s because they build, rather than buy their audiences. But marketers and influencers alike need to keep in mind that paid relationships need to be disclosed, and penalties for failing to do so will grow along with paychecks. But we like this more toward promotion through authentic channels.

Our IT journalist colleague Sally Grotta writes that personal interruptions that once would have been inappropriate are now not just accepted as part of the online conference experience. The interruptions by kids, animals and delivery people make our interactions less formal and more real. Musicians have led the way, with many famous performers inviting us into their living rooms for concerts that seem so much more intimate than when given in a performance hall.

You can listen to our podcast here.