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Ryan Harnedy
May 2016

Evaluating Security Software: The 3 People You Need Involved in Free Trials

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My favorite part of any action movie is when they assemble the team.

You know the scene. There’s some problem that threatens the entire world and a team of experts must be called together to combine the amazing talents that they alone possess to save the Earth.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that? Well good news — you can! Sure, you may not be saving the entire world per se, but you are going to be saving your company time and money you'd otherwise lose dealing with cyber attacks. You also don’t have to travel across the globe to find your experts — they’re right there in your office!

The team I'm talking about you building is your "trial team" — the people in your company in charge of evaluating new security software. If you don't get the right people involved and the right game plan in place, chances are you're not going to get everything you want out of a free trial. Worst case, it may even be a waste of time. 

Building out an effective trial team takes walking a fine line. On one hand, you need the right people with the right responsibilities to make sure you do a complete evaluation and don't run into any nasty surprises when it's time to deploy. On the other hand, getting too many people involved can slow the process down to a crawl and lead to a confused or incomplete evaluation.

To help you out, here is a list of the three key people you’ll want on your team when you’re testing out new security products.

1) "The Day-to-Day Do-Gooder" (someone who will be using the new software regularly)

This is most likely a member of your IT or security staff. When you’re testing out a new security product you’ll obviously want the input of the person/people who will actually be managing, monitoring, and using it on a daily basis. They should have the chance to get familiar with the features, functionality, and management console — and have any questions or concerns they have about those things addressed — prior to roll out.

2) "Capt. Compatibility" (someone who will be in charge of integration)

Good security comes in layers. It's likely this isn't going to be the only security solution you're running, so it's important to make sure any new security product you're testing out integrates with the existing software you already have in place.

At the same time, you'll also want to confirm the new security doesn't interfere with any of your other integral programs and applications your organiation is running. You want a new security solution to make your life easier, not harder. And the last thing you need is to discover a big, fat compatability fail after you locked yourself in on a contract.

3) "The Closer" (someone who understands the purchasing process)

Rounding out your trial team is the money guy/gal — the person involved with budgeting and purchasing. From my own personal experience I can say waiting till the very end of a trial to get this person involved is a very common mistake. I saw it numerous times as a sales engineer — someone would have a great experience with a piece of software, but right as they’re ready to implement their new solution it gets held up in budgeting and purchasing.

To save yourself delays and frustration, get this person involved before you even start your free trial. Talk with them about the purchasing process. Invite them to be a part of the evaluation. Having someone with purchasing authority involved can be a huge help when it comes time to pay the invoice.

Ready to start getting more out of your free trials?

Check out our new Endpoint Security Buyer's Guide. It's full of checklists and tips to help you stay organized during your evaluation process, including 10 questions you should ask every vendor and a list of 10 things to do during a free trial to make sure you check off all the boxes. 

Ryan Harnedy

Ryan Harnedy

Ryan writes about how to make cybersecurity make sense to end users and keep employees safe from ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks. He enjoys decoding buzzwords and sharing security tips that users might actually follow.

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