5 Tips for Writing Better Cyber Security White Papers

Cyber security white papers - person reading text on a Kindle

Quality Cyber Security White Papers Generate Quality Leads

White papers have become a popular marketing tool for cyber security firms, software developers, and other businesses in the IT sector. A well-written white paper can help your company establish thought leadership, bolster off-page SEO, and generate quality leads, but a poorly written, unprofessional paper could damage your reputation and turn off potential customers. What distinguishes poor cyber security white papers from winning ones? Keep these five tips in mind.

1. Pick a Topic that Addresses Your Customers’ Pain Points

Sales is all about identifying your customer’s pain points and illustrating how your product or service can relieve that pain. This is especially true in the information security sector, which is all about keeping businesses from getting hacked and keeping them in compliance with industry and regulatory standards. The first step to generating a good white paper is to ask yourself who your customer base is and which specific security issues they are struggling with. Are they overwhelmed by compliance costs? Are they scrambling to defend against ransomware attacks? Is IoT security about to become a huge problem for them?

2. Don’t Confuse White Papers With Sales Sheets and Marketing Collateral

While the bottom-line purpose of a white paper is to generate leads, white papers are not sales sheets or product brochures. Cyber security white papers that do nothing but talk about the issuing company’s product or service and how great it is are advertisements, not white papers, and they do not get read. The bulk of your white paper should be devoted to addressing your readers’ problem and exploring potential solutions, not repeatedly plugging your product or service.

3. Grab Your Audience’s Attention with a Strong Title and Introduction

The most important part of a white paper is the title; the second most important is the introduction. Remember that the target audience for cyber security white papers, IT decision-makers, are very busy people who are already drowning in reading material. Your paper has only a few seconds to pique their interest and make them want to continue reading.

4. Make Sure Your White Paper is Authoritative, Substantial, and Professional

White papers cannot be slapped together overnight and on the cheap. A quality white paper could take several weeks to research, write, edit, proofread, and format. The content must be original, substantial, and reference other authoritative sources, preferably peer-reviewed research studies or industry reports. The written content must do more than regurgitate what the references already said; it must provide further insight into the issue. Preferably, the paper should include charts and graphs that enhance the text by reinforcing the most important facts and figures. Finally, the English must be flawless, with no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.

5. Segue into How Your Product or Service Can Help at the End

At the end of your white paper, and only at the end, you can finally get down to business and promote your product or service. If it was written properly, your paper has already hit your readers’ pain points and made them realize they need help solving their IT security or compliance issues. Now is the time to explain why your product or service can relieve their pain. Discuss the features and benefits, tying them back to the issues discussed in the paper. Make sure your company’s complete contact information – phone, email, web, and street address – is included on the final page.

White papers are popular because they work. Customers are tuning out online ads because no one likes reading sales materials. Everyone, especially in a sector as dynamic as cyber security, likes to read informative materials that will keep them apprised of current events that are relevant to their business. The time and monetary investment put into a quality white paper should come back to you several times over.

The cyber security marketing and content experts at Wild Owl Digital have deep experience working with information security and IT compliance firms to bolster SEO, build thought leadership, and drive qualified leads. Contact us today to inquire about our cyber security white papers writing services.

On Fast-Food Robots and Cyber Security

There’s a new burger-making machine out to compete with the one Momentum Machines released in 2012. It sounds as though this new fast-food robot, which was developed by Miso Robotics and named “Flippy,” is more advanced. The Next Web reports:

The AI-driven robot ‘Flippy,’ by Miso Robotics, is marketed as a kitchen assistant, rather than a replacement [for fast-food cooks] … Flippy features a number of different sensors and cameras to identify food objects on the grill. It knows, for example, that burgers and chicken-like patties cook for a different duration. Once done, the machine expertly lifts the burger off the grill and uses its on-board technology to place it gently on a perfectly-browned bun.

Old-time automat in New York CityMachines like Flippy are the future of the restaurant industry, at least on the fast-food and fast-casual levels. Five-star luxe restaurants will probably always use human chefs to distinguish themselves from places like Wendy’s and Applebee’s. However, it’s important to note that Momentum Machines’ and Miso Robotics’ food-making robots are, in the grand scheme of things, quite simple. They can only handle a couple of different types of food. A robot that can handle the type of complex menus that, say, Wawa and Sheetz offer is still a long way off, perhaps a decade. Those types of menus, with thousands of possible combinations, are combinatorics nightmares. Additionally, there are logistics issues with stocking and cleaning food-making machines while ensuring the food does not spoil. It’s a lot more complex than stocking a soda or a snack machine, or building an ordering touchscreen.

Oh yeah, about those ordering touchscreens/kiosks: They’re a real cyber security risk. ZD Net reports on an old form of point-of-sale (POS) malware that’s resurfaced. Interestingly, rather than adding functionality to the malware, hackers removed some code so that it would pass right through anti-virus filters:

While threats like ransomware have been making headlines lately, point of sales (POS) malware is less reported but still active. It mainly targets retailers and hotel chains, as well as smaller businesses which often have less secure systems.

One of the earliest forms of this type of malware was RawPOS, which has been in operation since 2008. Despite being almost a decade old, RawPOS is still going strong. Cybersecurity researchers at Cylance have recently discovered a new version of it which it said has remained undetected by an unnamed ‘legacy antivirus vendor’ for over a month.

All that it took for this old form of malware to become undetectable was for the developers behind it to remove some of the code. Rather than adding new features, those behind the malware removed code from the new variant, therefore enabling it to avoid the most common signatures for POS malware.

I know that everyone in America is very excited at the notion of fast-food workers getting Das Boot. However, the cyber security of ordering kiosks is a concern for consumers as fast-food outlets automate ordering and, more importantly, payment.

Like healthcare, which took forever to switch from paper records to EHR systems, the fast-food industry has resisted automation for years. Ordering kiosks are not new or innovative. Wawa and Sheetz have had them for well over a decade, although their machines don’t take money; because they’re convenience stores, they want you to walk through the store and grab a bag of chips or a soda on your way to the register. If their ordering screens were to get hacked, consumers won’t suffer (although they could if hackers, once inside those terminals, somehow managed to snake their way to other areas of the system, such as the payment processing system). The fast-food machines will take money. And — like healthcare — the fast-food outlets are bound to automate as quickly and as cheaply as they possibly can.

This has not worked out well for healthcare: It has the dubious distinction of being the most likely industry in America to be hacked.

Automated fast-food outlets are the future, but they are not the panacea everyone thinks they will be.