Seeing opportunities as residential internet services have been transformed into business internet services, ISPs and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are making moves to use the power of their networks to protect customers. As they progress through the decision and deployment cycles, we often get questions about Best Practices for service delivery. This blog post summarizes the insights we've gained working with dozens of customers around the world.
One of the first decisions that needs to be addressed is whether subscriptions are offered on an opt-in or opt-out basis. Local regulations are the predominant influencing factor and provider legal teams always weigh in with ground rules. In countries where they are permissible, opt-out services maximize the inherent benefit of Secure Consumer, which can be deployed network-wide and instantly activated across an entire subscriber base. Offers can be structured to give customers a choice to opt-out, as part of service activation for instance. In some countries, network-wide security services for residential customers have been enabled for all subscribers; those who prefer insecurity use a simple built-in opt-out mechanism.
Opt-in services are also viable, building a customer base from the ground up. In both cases, we commonly see a free trial period and affirmation of customer choice when the service switches to a monthly fee, usually 60 or 90 days after the original offer. Pricing tends to be based on a percentage of the internet access service cost and we see uplifts from 5-15%. Providers also have 100% control over all aspects of branding so there's potentially additional intrinsic value in associating family protections with core services.
Bundles are another common tool and may represent a balance between the high penetration rates of opt-out and the much lower penetration rate of pure opt-in. Providers create service options that include branded secure bundles at premium prices. The premium varies based on local conditions and falls in the same range as above, 5-15% of the internet access cost. Some providers offer several bundles, incorporating multiple products to implement layers of security that appeal to more sophisticated consumers. As mentioned above, there may be incremental value derived from the impact of security services on the overall brand.
Security is a great differentiator in a world where performance and reliability have been the only cornerstones for many years. Given high awareness of internet threats across almost all demographics, emphasizing internet protections can help fuel a preference for a provider's bread and butter access services.
One of the key markers for success is ensuring families are aware they're being protected. SPS services include block pages that notify subscribers when they encounter something malicious, like a phishing site. These pages are always branded and the messaging is completely under the control of each provider. They're HTML so there's considerable latitude for customization to shape the message and look and feel to maximize awareness and impact. Subscribers can also be guided to other relevant security resources so they can learn more, or even pointed to remediation tools.
The ISP portal and mobile app are other key assets in the effort to reinforce the value of the service being delivered. ISPs have taken different approaches here; either simply branding the Akamai-provided portal pages themselves or building their own portal from scratch using APIs. A simple, clean interface highlighting security events and allowing for easy configuration of web filtering preferences are key features to spend time testing and optimizing.
MNOs also use SMS to keep subscribers informed about security, and email is another alternative although messages can be ignored or missed when subscribers aren't engaged with it. In either case, an overriding principle is simple is best; most subs aren't looking for deep explanations, they just want to know what they've been protected against. For instance, communications can incorporate brief "hero" statistics highlighting the effectiveness of specific security features.
Another key for success is promotion. In-store sales personnel need to be trained so they can explain the security proposition in a sentence or two. Sales incentives are timeless and can help drive demand.
Awareness of Secure Consumer services can be built with digital and traditional advertising. Provider web sites and portals are also table stakes, existing customers may see security options they didn't know were available. Akamai has purpose-built resources we offer to customers that aid in developing messaging. Kick starting the marketing effort is a win-win. Providers can get on a path to revenue, and subscribers get security protections that are simple and effective.
Akamai SPS is designed to equip providers to make the most out of the power of their networks to protect their customers. Secure Consumer gives providers the opportunity to increase differentiation and demonstrate a commitment to subscriber safety while materials and expertise highlighted above, developed over dozens of deployments globally, help make it reality.