Does your technology vendor get a cash reward every time your business technology fails?
We started out that way. We had good intentions, but back in 2009, we didn’t know any better, so we billed by the hour just like everyone else. Stuff broke, and we fixed it. We asked our customers to cherry pick solutions from a complex and confusing menu of services. Everything was customized to each customer’s preferences. When things inevitably didn’t work, they paid us to come to the rescue.
While fee based hourly support services might seem fair on the surface, we realized we were actually doing a disservice to our customers by presenting them with a comprehensive menu, and inadvertently we were creating a lot of extra work and stress for ourselves. We also discovered that when you do this right, and all the bases are covered, managing technology becomes much easier. So we built a managed services platform with all our best stuff, our best vendors, our best ideas. We started replicating our most successful deployments. We built processes, tools, and formulas that we knew would work reliably. So now, the questions we ask our customers are a bit simpler. We ask them how many locations, how many servers, and how many desktops they want us to manage for them. Then we set up everything they need to stay productive. We still fix stuff if it breaks, but since we don’t charge managed customers for maintenance, it costs us money if technology fails, which is a pretty good incentive to make sure that it doesn’t.
We start with backup. We love backup. We back up onsite, we back up offsite, we back up servers, and we back up desktops. Why do we love backup? It makes everything else a lot less stressful. Good backup means that no matter how bad things get, we can always go backwards to a time when things were working. For servers, we partner with Datto which is inarguably the best server backup vendor in the industry. Datto’s proprietary technology allows us to spin up a virtual copy of our customers entire server on premise or in the cloud so that we can recover faster, even in the event of catastrophes like fire or theft.
For workstation backup, we partner with Backblaze. Backblaze boasts a 250 petabyte storage cloud which allows us to back up everyone’s entire hard drive while our competitors back up a few selected folders or only provide backup for servers. We think this is important because even in the age of cloud and servers, some of our customers have downloaded something, worked on it, and lost it, and we find that everyone sleeps better when everything is backed up and fully recoverable. Some would call this fanaticism. We call it having your back.
Endpoint Security has become a bit of an arms race, and our endpoint security vendor, Cylance, is fond of saying that antivirus is dead. Traditional antivirus looks at a list of bad files and refuses to allow files to run that are on the list. You pay for updates, and the vendor tells the software which files not to run. Cylance changed the game. Someone had to, because the most recent malware and ransomware attacks are engineered for a single target, which means people are getting attacked with badware that has never been seen in the wild. Cylance uses artificial intelligence to monitor the behavior of software, which has proved to be much more effective.
Gateway Security has always been a big deal for us, because it’s not always possible for us to manage every device that touches a network. Because we include enterprise grade managed routers with our service, every location we defend gets content filtering, defense against phishing and identity theft websites in real time, malware screening for all devices on the network (even printers and smartphones!) and encrypted Virtual Private Networking (VPN) for teleworkers and branch offices.
Remote Access is also in our scope, as is Remote Monitoring. Our software will let us know when your servers are unavailable, and also when there are resource issues, such as a full disk or a computer that is low on memory. This intelligence allows us to be proactive and suggest resolutions before our customers notice the problems. Monitoring alerts are tracked automatically in our ticketing system where you can read notes from our support team in real time. If you have a problem, we can remote in to your computers and assist you quickly.
Spam Filtering is included for managed customers, which gives us an additional layer of defense on email. Our anti spam service can also queue up to a week of email in the event that your email service is unavailable, which means your customers won’t get those “undeliverable” messages. Our Sophos powered filtering platform is in the cloud, so it works great with your smartphones, webmail, and Microsoft Outlook. We can also offer Hosted Exchange and Google Apps, as well as compliance solutions such as encrypted email and archival.