Mike Wardell, Giacom's CEO

How to keep resellers trading in a virtual world

Mike Wardell, CEO, at Giacom, explores the available solutions and tools designed to help resellers not just survive, but also thrive in a virtual world, now and into the future.

Many businesses have been thrust into a virtual working world at a faster rate than expected, and adaptations have had to be made to ensure continuity for managed service providers (MSPs) and end users alike. But while MSPs, along with all businesses, have had significant hurdles thrown their way over the last few months, they don’t have to tackle this alone – there’s an extensive range of technology and services available to support leaders in this journey and particularly to help resellers overcome the challenges of the current economic climate.

As entire staff bases are continuing to work from home and remotely, with reduced face-to-face interactions, it’s imperative that communication does not falter. And with 57% of small businesses expected to continue with remote working beyond the pandemic, tools to support working from home will be essential to assure productivity in the long term. Microsoft Teams, for instance, is a great tool, which many businesses hadn’t considered before lockdown, and now should take advantage of as a tool that can drive productivity and even staff wellbeing. This is where resellers have a vital role to play in educating their end users on how to gain the most productivity and value from technology – to do more with the resource they have.

This is particularly true for those businesses that are used to working with legacy infrastructure within offices. Moving to systems like Teams, and switching to cloud servers makes a significant difference in terms of ease of continuity and staff productivity.

“Once businesses are operating from cloud servers it removes all constraints and streamlines the business to no longer rely on physical technology, allowing for more agile and flexible adaptations as the industry landscape continues to shift. There is no going back from virtualisation and the cloud is the clear future, with business reliance on this only increasing.”

Not only do these online applications help to support businesses now in the virtual world, but they are invaluable in attracting future talent. By moving business operations to cloud based systems it enables staff a greater level of flexibility, which is a crucial demand from employees because many prefer to work from home and with more agile hours. And with a growing, highly distributed workforce, businesses shouldn’t be constrained by outdated physical servers.

Another key challenge for resellers is security; with businesses completely overhauling their processes almost overnight it has meant cyber security was pushed to the bottom of the priorities, but now is a more important time than ever to ensure the highest levels of protection. The number of cyberattacks has continued to increase over time, with up to 88% of UK companies being targets of breaches in the last 12 months, and hackers are now taking advantage of the current Coronavirus situation by sending phishing emails purporting to be PPE suppliers or medication. The emphasis on data security must be reinforced, since simple mistakes are often the downfall of organisations, through phishing emails for instance.

These easy mistakes can be made as staff are keen to show they’re working hard without the physical presence of colleagues or managers. Simple errors such as clicking on phishing links or replying to non-genuine emails can be detrimental to business continuity and cause significant repercussions.

Tools such as Advanced Email Security for Microsoft 365 by Vade Secure for Microsoft 365, and endpoint cybersecurity protection, can be implemented to help mitigate these risks and protect the business from harm, providing email protection for staff to prevent phishing and malware attacks. Even standardising email signatures across an organisation with a solution such as Exclaimer can help reduce the probability of users falling for BEC attacks. By investing in the right solution, customer devices can also be protected against malware and viruses by blocking any incoming cyber threats. This MSP/CSP collaboration whereby the right solution can be identified for each individual end user’s requirements will in turn help to achieve a satisfied customer with a secure database.

This period of change has given MSPs an opportunity to innovate to better their businesses and provide improved services to end organisations. These tools and techniques are crucial in driving success and supporting the return to ‘normal’. Resellers can be the key guide in helping end users deploy these innovative tools, from cloud software to collaboration platforms and security systems; they ultimately can provide businesses with the roadmap to leveraging unrivalled flexibility, productivity and continuity throughout these uncertain times.

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