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BAE systems’ Marketing Director on its multi-billion cyber security opportunity

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Alex M 

The new medium of attack, cyber, provides an opportunity for BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and its marketing chief, Amy Perez, to engage with a multi-billion dollar industry.

New research from Hamilton Place Strategies suggests cyber crime can cost organizations across the world around $450 billion ($278 billion) annually.

Financial crime prevention and cyber security intelligence are now top of the agenda for many countries, governments and companies, turning to businesses like BAE Systems, and its Applied Intelligence arm, for defense solutions.

Amy Perez is the marketing director for the EMEA region of the business, and her main remit is to make sure the right people have the right information to protect their assets online.

“I’m charged with shifting the perception of BAE Systems, particularly within the commercial sector. We’re known as a traditional defense company, but there is an increasing risk of attack from cyber space and we want to position ourselves as a cutting edge technology leader in the cyber security intelligence space.”

Perez joined the cyber arm over two years ago, leaving internet data company Equinix after four years.

She has since helped BAE Systems Applied Intelligence become approved by the Bank of England for financial sector cyber security intelligence testing, and been part of the launch of its cloud-based cyber security intelligence to commercial organizations in Europe last year.

Her marketing campaigns have to promote these technological advancements, whilst differentiating the company from competitors.

“The cyber security intelligence market is a really crowded place at the moment: big players like ourselves are entering the space, and a huge amount of smaller companies are offering all these different capabilities that people need to sift through.

“The way BAE cuts through that is to showcase our unique capabilities. For example, we have a threat intelligence team who are dedicated to monitoring the threat landscape, by researching and investigating attacks that happen across the space.”

BAE uses that insight to either educate the market in reports, or sell information to specific companies and countries, depending on the size of the intelligence, and its relevancy.

Most recently, its threat intelligence experts profiled six prominent types of cyber criminals, exposing how they can cause harm to companies worldwide and unveiled their “usual suspects” last month.

“In May this year, we’re launching our brand awareness campaign in the UK, which is an extension of one we ran in the US recently. We’re coining the term ‘business defense’ because that’s how we see it.

“We’re leveraging our experience in the government space: businesses know who we are already which is the difficult part, so our campaigns now transfer that trust to our new cybersecurity vision.”

By 2019, the European cyber security market is projected to grow to $35 billion.

To improve her marketing capabilities in EMEA, Perez has implemented a marketing automation platform to be integrated into their customer relationship management (CRM) system.

“It tracks our marketing activity. It started with email marketing, but we now track offline activity such as webinars, or whether people click and download any syndicated content and these leads are all scored, before being passed onto the sales team to follow up with.”

The company has on-premise services, cloud-based services and managed security services so can offer a flexible portfolio of solutions for ever advancing security platforms, at costs that can be significantly reduced.

The EMEA region presents a number of key challenges for Perez and her team.

“Multiple languages, cultures and differing levels of cyber security maturity means balancing clients is made more difficult. The UK is fairly far ahead in some things, like email protection services, which are standard for the area, but are quite rare in the Middle East.”

Perez’s marketing strategies reflect these contrasts, which also differentiate on a sector by sector basis.

“I have to adapt my marketing per country, per market, because our threat intelligence services need to be relevant for each particular customer.

“We can do content for the banking sector, for example, that needs to be highly technical and advanced to suit the level of assets that need protecting, whilst governments are quite interested but require more of a general perspective of what the commercial sector are looking into, and whether anything is relevant for them.”

The subject area is very topical at the moment: Sony’s recent hack, and others, have launched cyber security into the public and political domain; the discussion has allowed businesses like BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to capitalize.

“We’re being very careful not to scaremonger, but it’s good that the topic is being kept at the forefront of people’s minds, from a marketing perspective – we can show people we have solutions and there are ways to counteract these risks.”

BAE Systems is well known within the defense market, but an entirely new medium of attack, cyber, provides an opportunity for its Applied Intelligence arm to engage with a multi-billion dollar industry.

“Perez’s marketing function has been to educate the market of BAE’s newest products and services through the deployment of integrated marketing campaigns that utilize cloud-based marketing technology, and even TV advertisements.”

In the future, the UK needs to “watch this space – we’re diligently tracking our US campaign and we’ll be doing the same for the wider EMEA area I hope.”