A proof of concept (POC) is essentially documented evidence that a potential product or service can be successful. This often comes in the form of a demonstration or trial period. A POC benefits both the service provider and the potential customer.
It allows an organization to determine whether or not the product is a good fit for their needs, while providing the product owner with the opportunity to make good on their claims. It also allows the product owner to identify potential technical and logistical issues that might interfere with success, and solicit feedback along the way.
Needless to say, it’s a great idea for any business. Whether you’re a service provider or potential customer, POCs should play a vital role in your business. eSentire provides potential customers with a POC for our Managed Detection and Response service (MDR). Sean Blenkhorn, Vice President of Solutions Engineering at eSentire, discusses our MDR POC and why it’s so important.
There’s a few different reasons customers appreciate the opportunity for a POC. For one, it allows them to feel that they’ve met any due diligence requirements by thoroughly vetting a product before committing to it. It’s become very commonplace for customers to want to “try before they buy,” so in a way, a POC makes a product more favourable to a customer.
In a similar vein, POCs can also be useful for the product owner. It allows us to confirm our capabilities to a customer and earn their confidence. We can also compare our service to similar services or products that suggest they provide similar capability with tangible evidence. Finally, it demonstrates our value and gains the customers loyalty before they’ve even committed to extended terms.
Our MDR POC includes a multi-stage process. We start by meeting with the client and establishing expectations and success criteria. Our MDR service is designed to protect the overall business experience of the customer, so it’s important everyone is on the same page before we begin.
In the first stage, hardware (or virtual appliances) are delivered and installed, there is a review of initial findings and weekly meetings are set up. In stage two, we review and monitor all alerts delivered to the customer by the SOC and prepare for weekly status meetings with our dedicated POC team to review activity and answer any questions.
Throughout the whole process we take the opportunity to gather feedback and ensure customer satisfaction.
Why is it important for MDR providers to deliver a POC?
MDRs represent a significant shift from the traditional approach of legacy Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). Knowing this, it’s important that customers recognize the unique value and differentiated approach MDR providers can bring to their business. It’s also worth noting that since this market is relatively new, not all MDR providers are created equally. Meaning, it’s important for customers to experience first hand—through the POC—the differences a true MDR provider can provide.
In Gartner’s Market Guide for MDR services, it recommends the following:
“Use proofs of concept to your advantage to validate claims and fit for purpose with your organization's requirements. Most MDR providers lack the vetting and decades of competition that MSSPs have faced. Therefore, there is an increased burden on the customer to perform sufficient due diligence on the MDR providers before signing a contract.”
Businesses need MDR providers. We know that, but they may not. POCs allow us to demonstrate the importance of MDR while simultaneously growing a relationship with a potential new client.