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Computer security testing comment and analysis from SE Labs

How they sell security (and we buy it)

The world of cyber security sales is unclear at best

The secret world of cyber security sales is fascinating. And shady. If you ever wondered how they sell security, and how we buy it, we have a treat for you.

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There aren’t many resources available to help make such buying decisions. Security marking is fraught with misleading claims. That’s not just our opinion. “Snake oil” is a common refrain among attendees of security conferences and the large companies that buy security to the tune of over one trillion dollars a year.

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SE Labs is particularly well connected in the security world. It’s partially how we have gained the trust of the security vendors themselves, and their own customers. We sit right in the middle of things, alongside the analysts who help businesses choose which vendors to work with. We provide insight into which products are right for different companies, which all have different needs.

How they sell security (and we buy it)

But the relationship between security vendors, testers, analysts and clients is often far from clear. We generally can’t talk about it, because it’s frowned upon, but there are credibility problems with testing and sometimes these have drifted into unethical behaviour that verges on the criminal.

We pride ourselves on a level of transparency that we hope lifts us out of the mire. But don’t just take our word for it. This report has gone through the AMTSO certification process to ensure that we say what we’re going to do; do it; and can prove it. Our results help vendors improve their products and buyers choose the best for their own needs.

Selling Security – The Insider’s Guide

We cover this subject in much more depth in our popular podcast, DE:CODED. In the Selling Security – The Insider’s Guide episode we talk to an ex-tester (who now works for a vendor) and a client who has worked with the world’s largest security buyers. Is testing always honest and transparent? Apparently not! Tune in for more details.

DE:CODED is available on our blog and all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts.

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SE Labs Ltd is a private, independently-owned and run testing company that assesses security products and services. The main laboratory is located in Wimbledon, South London. It has excellent local and international travel connections. The lab is open for prearranged client visits.


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