CapEx Depreciation of Security Appliances - Not Good for the CFO

The CFO will understand that the cloud is moving faster than CapEx depreciation…and why it matters to the business.

From the “Top 10 Signs Your Network and Security Design Might Be Far Behind” Series

It’s time for an insider tip for all those out there who haven’t spent tons of time working sales as a security appliance vendor. When a prospect says to the sales person “We would love to talk, but we just renewed your competitors product and now have 3, 4, or even 5 years of depreciation left.”, they are seldom going to just pack up and walk away. Well, not if they truly believe they have the best thing going. So the old Heisman stiff arm may get them out of your office. Or it might not.

If he/she/they are still sitting there, I encourage you to hear what they have to say. They may end up revealing the truth. And as we all know the truth can hurt. But I, for one, would always welcome the truth before a major security incident than after. Always. And I know my CEO and CFO would agree with me on that, so we are in perfect alignment there, which is another good reason to hear them out.

OpEx Discussion? Yes, Please!

One conversation that I will not let get by is turning that CapEx conundrum into an OpEx opportunity. Today’s CFO’s welcome OpEx discussion and increasingly encourage them above all else, so it’s hardly wasted time. Because if I can get away from being nailed down for 3-5 years on some piece of hardware, you can bet I will. Generally speaking CapEx favors the hardware vendors, whereas OpEx favors the customer. So, yes, bring on the conversation that most favors my wants and needs.

The Reality (Depreciation) Check

Just about the worst conversation I can imagine having with my CFO or CEO is that our breach was discovered to be preventable. That’s especially the case if I feel my best defense is that I was constrained by a multi-year depreciation that ate up my budget, preventing me from solving a known gap much faster. An example of this would be discovering that my appliances would have to be quadrupled in order to take on SSL inspection, for which I didn’t have the funding to ask for more hardware, power, and data center space. To be sure, cloud computing and the risks faced are moving faster than the depreciation schedule.

And this is why it’s great to spend that time ahead of a breach really impressing your CFO. Now is exactly when that investment will pay dividends.




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