In a world where businesses are totally dependent on technology to operate, how do organizations focus on their core business when they are distracted by the constant changes and threats that arise in IT? Are vendors creating too much fear?

To explore this topic, we posed several questions to our own Chuck Mosca, COO of Broadleaf Services.

  1. The world of IT is filled with innumerable competing products and solutions. How does a company make the right choices for their infrastructure?

That is a difficult task, especially in today’s world when technology changes so frequently and the demands on an IT infrastructure are more taxing than ever.  It is virtually impossible for business leaders to stay on top of the latest technology and security challenges while focusing on their own business.

This is where a Managed Service Partner can provide significant value to an organization.  Since the Partner is monitoring and managing the customer’s IT environment they can provide guidance toward leveraging technology that not only meets the customer’s needs but is an operational and financial fit as well.

  1. How do business leaders know whether an IT firm is just trying to sell their “flavor of the week” and that it won’t be outdated by next week or something better won’t come along?

That comes down to a matter of trust and I believe illustrates the difference between a Managed Service Provider and a Managed Services Partner.  The goal of a Partner is to find solutions that allow the customer to meet its technical, operational and financial requirements even if some of those solutions are sourced elsewhere.  It is the Partner’s responsibility to work with the customer to identify the best solutions and to keep the environment as secure and reliable as possible.

  1. Once an organization has selected a product or solution, what then? How do they know whether it is better to install and manage it themselves or whether they need help?

As part of the process of determining the right solution there should be a conversation regarding what happens after the purchase.  Is this customer installable?  Is it best to have the manufacturer provide installation services?  Is it something the Partner has expertise in implementing?  This is another area where the partner can provide valuable expertise and knowledge. Once installation is complete, assuming the product falls within the service scope, it can be added to the Managed Services Contract.

  1. Security is a major concern today and every time there is some type of breach, IT providers seem to be trying to make a buck from it. How would you advise IT leaders to approach security?

We are bombarded regularly with news reports regarding the latest data breach, hack or ransomware/malware attacks.  The threat landscape is more ominous than it has ever been and organizations are wise to continuously evaluate their security posture.

That said, I think sometimes we in the IT Security industry fall in to the trap of employing scare tactics in the effort to sell our products and services.  I get it. Believe me.  And there is nothing wrong with attempting to educate the customer as to how your products and services can improve an organization’s security levels.  I just think the perception out there, and it’s not wholly undeserved, is that there is a tendency to prey on the fears of the customer.

A more effective strategy is to arm the partner with enough information so they can make an educated decision about the steps to take to make their IT network more secure and reliable.  This is especially important after a wide spread attack, such as the recent NotPetya attack.

When news reports first reported the malicious activity, it was thought to be a Ransomware attack similar to the WannaCry attack.  It turned out that while it was designed to appear to be a Ransomware attack, it actually was not.  IT Security companies immediately began inundating customers with information regarding their solutions that protected against Ransomware only to later switch courses and promote end point protection solutions.

As a Partner, it is our responsibility to take a breath, step back, assess the threat, and provide accurate information to our clients.  Then we can share steps that can be taken to protect against the current threat.  Rushing to the table with a band aid fix does not benefit the customer or the partner.  In the long run, our approach will ensure the customer’s IT environment will be more secure and their employees more productive. Isn’t that what is most important?