We don’t just shift the tin we lift customer expectations

By Jay Ludgrove, Account Manager at Netutils.

Jay Blog 2Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Jay Ludgrove. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company

Ok, so we know we are not the only IT technology reseller out there. But let me tell you a little about why I think we are different. It’s actually all about when to shift boxes, and when to add real value by working closely with customers to ensure they get the most from our expertise and their technology investment.

When an IT reseller is simply focused on volume sales the likelihood is that the customers’ needs and requirements get left behind when the reseller moves onto the next ‘big volume’ order. This begs the question – can you, the customer, only get the best pricing by sacrificing the service?

I have been with the IT industry for the last 12 years and worked on both sides of the fence, both within technical teams and within sales environments and the one question that has plagued me is how does the customer get the best service at a great price?

This is obviously dependent on the customer’s choice of supplier; do they want a technically accredited company to help with consultancy / development / installation / configuration and future needs? Or would this be plain useless to them because they have an in house team who are already employed specifically for these duties?

As a sales account manager that has emerged from a customer service background, I have always wanted to be able to show my customers a value and experience that they can’t get anywhere else and continue to strive to provide the best service that my technical counterparts are able to deliver.

So what about those customers who are not interested in the services that their resellers can provide, they simply insist on the cheapest price? Is this down to years of being ‘sold to’, that has hardened them to any outside help assuming that all sales people are simply out to get the highest deal value possible without any focus on corresponding service levels? Or do they feel that they have gone through the lengthy recruitment process of employing skilled engineers themselves so they simply don’t see the necessity or value in this level of additional support? And what guarantees do they have that they will be sold the ‘right ‘solution and not just the most expensive?

I believe that this is where the reseller’s reputation comes in. In the past I have worked for IT companies that have quite simply told me ‘Whatever the customer needs we can do. Anything at all, just find out what they need.’ I have never felt comfortable within these types of organisations. Common sense told me, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I never had the confidence that they were going to be able to deliver on this and although they could be exceedingly cheap the post-sale service was generally left to the vendor who may have little or no knowledge of the initial requirement or challenge. From my personal experience these resellers are used for price comparison only and are seldom called upon to discuss or help deliver future projects or resolve existing problems.

On the other hand resellers that are focused on service over price are going to lose out on a number of deals when the client is only interested in the best price. For this reason I feel it is important to not only have a reputation as an expert in a few core areas but to continuously strive to deliver this message to customers. Ultimately these resellers will not make as many sales as their ‘tin shifting’ counter parts but the retention of business is higher year on year and the customer’s will generally come back for consultancy, development and for open discussions on how to move forward with a particular project or requirement. When you achieve this level of trust you can truly start to become an extension of the customer’s IT team, with their goals and needs coming first and front.

Working for the latter type of reseller requires some adjustment in approach as you will have to concentrate more on what the client needs and less on what you can sell them. This will mean that some sales are smaller than they ‘could’ be and it will mean that you will lose out ‘’on price alone’’. Ultimately building mutual respect can lead to a far superior service and experience for the customer. I sleep better at night, knowing that my customers got the best technology solution that their money can buy that meets their challenges and needs. After 10 years, I finally got to work for a company that promotes relationship building and value with a great ethos that means it’s never really just about the price alone.

So I guess the question you need to ask yourself is for your next technology purchase are you looking for a Tin Shifter or an Expectation Lifter? I know where Netutils fit.

Exinda: The Business Case for WAN Orchestration

Do you need improved visibility & control of your WAN traffic to maximise user experience & network performance? Watch our short video blog on the key features of Exinda’s WAN Orchestration. The webinar referenced in this video will be available on this blog shortly.

Seamless Wi-Fi Guest Access at Grade II Listed Building Cockington Court

By Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils. These views are her own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.

A big thank you to Norma Paynton, Programme Manager at Torbay Development Agency CockingtonCourtwho talked to us about how using our Managed Guest Access Solution allowed Torbay Development Agency to boost the Wi-Fi service at Cockington Court for the benefit of the tenants and the many tourists and day visitors to the craft centre.

We are really very pleased with the solution and tailored service Netutils have provided. The interface was quick to set up, straightforward and easy to use. The fact that we can now promote the Wi-Fi service to potential visitors is an added benefit and really brings Cockington Court up to date.

Read the full case study here.

If you have responsibility for Guest Wi-Fi Services at your organisation than please get in touch with a solutions experts from our team for more on our Managed Guest Access Solution. You can also join our webinar at 11am on Wednesday 5th March 2014 for an overview. Register Here: Webinar: Wi-Fi Guest Access Made Easy

What our customers say

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/85264748]

We made a short video with a handful of our valued customers. We hope you enjoy it. Take a peek to find out why our customers come back again and again. A big thank you to everyone who took part for their time and their positive words.

Wi-fi Access on the Move

Our fully managed guest access solution allows users to self provision wi-fi access. Take a look at how Sprint Communications are using the solution for passenger wi-fi for public service vehicles. A great example of the flexibility of the service.

Don’t ignore the hype: IT trends deliver security with access

By Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.

How do we enhance security but allow users access to the data and resources they need seamlessly and improve enterprise productivity, while still keeping up with the trends in mobility, consumerisation and cloud? The answer is by following those trends.

Look beyond the technology and look at the people that use the technology. This tells us two things: users do not prioritise security, and your enterprise productivity is directly related to the ability of your users to perform their tasks efficiently. So companies cannot adopt a “lock everything down” mentality. It is effectively a denial of service attack against yourself, because you are essentially denying access to the essential services needed by your users. So security, and enforcement of it, is solely the responsibility of the enterprise. It may sound harsh, but it is the reality; employees are accountable for the procedures, guidelines and policies to which they are required to adhere to.

The only viable way to build a secure network that moves with CoIT is to use existing corporate user identity systems (such as Active Directory, LDAP, SQL) to integrate with evolving ideas to automatically provision context-aware applications and resources.

So how to secure data and the network while still allowing seamless access and speedy resource allocation? Don’t ignore the trends in the IT industry. Cloud and hosted applications are continually increasing in adoption because they guarantee a certain level of security of access, ease of access, flexibility, automated provisioning, ease of upgrades, cross platform compatibility and reduced CAPEX, while maintaining compliance and security standards. The providers of these solutions are themselves heavily regulated and required to adhere to high standards of data and network security.

If you prefer to retain in-house control of applications, then virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) means you benefit from reduced costs over time of purchasing user endpoint machines by moving to thin clients. But also these VDI platforms allow control of what applications employees have access to, and provide much more granular control on what tasks users can perform. Because a lot of the VDI platforms allow “hot-desking”, as user profiles are maintained on centralised servers, they provide access flexibility and remote access, which fit with CoIT needs.

Zero-Day protection is also another useful trend; the means by which an enterprise can protect its data and resources from threats and vulnerabilities that are currently unknown, so consequently do not have a fix. Zero-Day application exploits, targeted attacks, advanced information stealing malware and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) all pose a serious security threat to enterprises, but as these threats evolve, so does the approach to effective and manageable protection. Active defence, which discourages attacks by focusing on raising costs and risks to attackers, is slowly creeping into enterprise strategy. Proactive protection – including advanced Web Application Firewalls (WAF), counterstrike and intrusion deception techniques – are all protection methods that have seen a revival. For example, in 2012 Juniper Networks acquired Mykonos Software’s intrusion deception software (Junos WebApp Secure) to enhance its web application security portfolio. It places deception points along the way. When an attacker trips one of those tripwires, we are alerted to the fact they are there and can watch them.

The reality is that vulnerabilities and threats exist, and come from inside as well as outside the network. The biggest insider threats are the employees, but we can only educate staff on how to handle sensitive corporate data and how to use corporate resources. For outsider threats, innovation brings assistance.

CoIT without Risk – There’s no effective risk management without end-to-end security

By Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.

Everything delivered by the IT department nowadays is frequently classified as a service function.  With Consumerisation of IT (CoIT), the consumption of these services is affected by the trends in mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud, which in turn puts pressure on the scalable infrastructure you need.

The number one risk management concern for IT managers with CoIT is security, but in what context? As workers become more mobile, adopting BYOD and accessing corporate applications and information remotely, an IT manager needs to be able to guarantee that the access and authentication from these devices is secure – as well as make sure that if these devices are lost or stolen, the information they hold and can access does not end up in the wrong hands.

One way of achieving this is via profiling based on the user, type of device (managed or unmanaged), resources being accessed, location being accessed from and the role of the user. For example, an employee using a corporate device, accessing the network remotely and an employee using a personally owned device, accessing the network via the wireless local area network (WLAN), are two distinct profiles that require different policy enforcement.

To minimise risk, authentication (user and device) needs to work with posture checking of endpoints, secure remote access, mobile device management (MDM) and secure wireless connectivity. An end-to-end security infrastructure is required; one that is easy to deploy and manage, as well as one that can provide the performance, access and integration needed. For example, Juniper Networks provides the single Junos Pulse endpoint client, capable of providing secure mobile remote VPN access and network access control (NAC), with role based access control and 802.1x authentication. In addition, the Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite MDM is purpose-built for mobile devices and provides anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware, endpoint firewall, loss and theft protection and endpoint monitoring.

CoIT is not the same as BYOD; it covers the changing trend in the way technology is used. Therefore, cloud services such as storage (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive) and applications (Office365, Salesforce, GoogleApps) – as well as in house developed proprietary applications – all need to be secured within their virtualised environments.

The underlying infrastructure of the virtualised environment and the networking infrastructure (switches, routers, firewalls) needs to provide an end-to-end approach that is secure, scalable and resilient. For example, the single operating system in the Junos OS from Juniper Networks, runs across many of its security platforms, allowing administrators to consistently apply policies across the board without having to learn and manage a variety of systems. The innovative technology for securing the virtualisation space is Juniper Networks’ virtual gateway (vGW) product, which focuses on security within the hypervisor and between virtual machines as they communicate in the virtualised platform, as well as outbound. This is a further example of how vendors and manufacturers need to understand the elements that form the foundation of front end resources.

Numerous surveys have shown the impact of the proliferation of personally owned mobile devices onto the enterprise network. One of the impacts of this over the last few years has been the malware threat, and general increase in the amount of cyber threats specifically targeting mobile devices – especially Android devices.  Risk management needs to focus beyond managing mobile devices via MDM platforms, to actually securing the corporate data in transit. This involves sandboxing technologies, such as Secure Virtual Workspaces (SVW), which were the initial and most popular solutions in the early days of mobility, to new smarter devices that encrypt data on the devices and in transit, or provide dual boot functionality with physically or logically separated segments on the device.

CoIT is here to stay; we have been talking about these trends for a few years now. If you are managing risk, the next step is to understand the solutions currently available, which will help manage it from end to end.