The Norman Alan Company has built its name over the past 11 years by providing a common sense approach to IT for its customers. Founded in 2004, the IT support company focuses its efforts on small businesses which may have been poorly served in the past. Making a name for itself in the Pittsburgh metro area mainly through customer referrals, the Norman Alan Company now provides remote IT support, server monitoring, and internet security to over 300 customers.
Always looking for ways to improve its service offering, the firm became a Trend Micro Managed Service Provider Partner in 2014 in a bid to provide more robust cyber security for its customers. It uses several Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized servers to run its helpdesk software and a main application used for all customer information. The majority of its customers are PC-based businesses with just one or two servers.
Trend Micro chatted to Jeff Kochis, founding member of the Norman Alan Company and 20-year IT veteran, about his firm’s key security challenges.
What are the main customer IT trends you’re seeing?
An increasing number of small businesses are looking at investing in cloud-based platforms. For example, those who once used Windows Small Business Servers are now moving to Microsoft Office 365. It’s a trend repeated all over the US as organizations look to leverage the greater flexibility, business agility and anticipated cost savings that cloud computing could offer them.
What are the challenges associated with this?
Unfortunately, the bad guys are well aware that businesses are flocking to the cloud in ever greater numbers. Small businesses traditionally have fewer resources to throw at the problem so the security of data on PCs, laptops and mobile devices is a concern. Cybercriminals know this, of course, and smaller firms are often seen as a softer target – the path of least resistance.
For us, finding the right security software at the right price for our clients can be a major challenge. We need to ensure from a support perspective that they understand the limitations of cloud-based apps but also that they’re fully protected.
Why Trend Micro?
After 10 years with a well-known security software company, it just wasn’t working any more. Increasing numbers of client machines were getting infected, so we ran a test – setting up a demo machine to visit infected sites. The security solution we had in place did nothing to alert us there was anything wrong with the machine – it just couldn’t detect newer, more advanced malware.
That’s when we came across Worry-Free Business Security from Trend Micro. Unlike our previous solution it would prevent access to those infected sites and immediately alert us something wasn’t right. It was simply a matter of a solution that worked versus a solution that didn’t work. And once our customers found out all the additional features and added protection they were going to get, they were happy to make the switch.
How was deployment?
Deployment has been absolutely seamless for our customers. They have access to a range of security features – including defense against viruses, spyware, and other malware, such as advanced targeted attacks and spear-phishing. Threats are blocked in the cloud in real time by Trend Micro Smart Protection Network. And web reputation prevents access to URLs that pose security risks, while URL filtering controls the websites employees can access.
Worry-Free Business Security also makes it easy for us to manage all of our customers from one console. Even when we hit a few snags on implementation, the Trend Micro guys responded amazingly quickly. In fact, the channel sales representative and support staff have been fantastic. They always get back to us quickly, keep us in the loop, uncover the issue, and resolve it within an hour or two.
What have the results been like?
All of the frustrations we had with our previous security provider have just melted away. We’re more efficient as a company because we waste less time on hold to fix orders, fix licenses, and get tech support. And we have that single pane of glass to manage all our customers. The switch over to Trend Micro was seamless for our clients. In fact, the only thing they’ve probably noticed is that they’re not losing business time any more due to security incidents.
Trend Micro has reduced the amount of work related to antivirus products by a good 25%. Call volumes are down for those customers who have switched over to Trend Micro. What’s more, I’ve found a company that really understands my business needs and that I’ve been able to build an excellent working relationship with. Trend Micro provides a product that actually works and someone to talk to who makes you feel like you are important to the company.