Partner spotlight: Secure Network Services

Posted:
10/28/2022
| By: Craig Fulton

Meet Robert Gelsinger, Founder and CEO, from Secure Network Services (SNS), who made the decision to jump feet-first into the cybersecurity space as a ConnectWise partner. By leveraging ConnectWise solutions, SNS was able to provide a higher level of service and reliability to clients while freeing up time to pursue new opportunities. Read on to learn more about how they’re providing consistently high-quality service to their clients.

About Secure Network Services

Tell us about your company

I founded Secure Network Services in 2003 as a side gig to my day job with IBM so I could gain greater financial freedom for my growing family. Over the first seven years, SNS followed a traditional IT services model where we did everything in-house, and while we provided great service, it was getting harder and harder to do that consistently because we had limited hands and very little automation in place. By 2009, the company had become a full-time, full-fledged managed service provider (MSP)—and was facing new challenges around service delivery and scalability. After surviving a hiring misstep that cost us $150,000 in lost revenue over a very short time, we realized that what we were doing needed to change.

We needed a partner who could help us build a model not built on people but on process, leveraging technology and automation to provide our customers with consistent services that could be delivered by any of our technicians, regardless of their skill level. ConnectWise offered the end-to-end services SNS needed, backed by a Network Operations Center (NOC) with round-the-clock coverage. By automating and offloading hundreds of hours of time-consuming work each month, ConnectWise boosted service reliability while freeing SNS staff to work on higher-value projects. 

So, when ConnectWise introduced their new Cybersecurity Management portfolio with ConnectWise Security Operations Center (SOC) support a few years later, SNS saw where the cybersecurity landscape was headed and knew that we needed to get ahead of the competition. SNS jumped feet first into the cybersecurity space with ConnectWise and began offering comprehensive cybersecurity solutions designed to provide real-time visibility and detection with response and remediation. By leveraging this automation, as well as other solutions such as dark web monitoring, AI-based advanced threat detection for email, password management, and cybersecurity and network assessments, SNS was able to provide a higher level of service and reliability to our clients while freeing up time to pursue new opportunities.

What’s a big win that you’re proud of?

I am very proud of how SNS has been able to leverage the automation and variety of solutions offered by ConnectWise (and the rest of the channel) to become scalable in a way that we previously would not have even been able to consider. Within a year of partnering with ConnectWise, SNS was able to onboard a Fortune 500 client with over 30 sites, 900 users, 60+ servers, and didn’t miss a beat.  We wouldn’t have dreamed of taking on a client this size just two years prior. By becoming a cybersecurity partner, we were able to introduce this and every other client to a level of security services that they had never experienced before, and at a fraction of the cost they would need to do it themselves. 

What’s next for you and your business?

Since fully embracing a model that heavily leverages automation, cybersecurity, cutting edge AI-based technologies, and embracing a partner-centric approach to delivery, the sky is the limit as to what we can accomplish. 

By incorporating ConnectWise products, as well as partnering with the ConnectWise Partner Program and Marketopia, we are investing heavily in marketing cybersecurity as a service to our existing customers and to new prospects so we can rapidly expand and gain market share. All the tools are in place—now it is time for us to put our foot on the gas pedal and grow.

About the industry

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the industry?

I think the biggest challenge we face as an industry is the economic uncertainty many of our clients face day in and day out. So, helping them understand how to navigate that uncertainty and still do the necessary is a challenge. Their IT needs are real, and as partners, we need to work to find ways to help them do the right things and remove any uncertainty by leveraging our solutions to make them more productive and profitable. The answers are in the solutions we bring to the table, and we need to embrace the role of trusted advisor to show them that value in tangible ways.

Is there one piece of advice you’d like to share with other IT solution providers?

The one piece of advice I’d share right now is to stay the course and invest in your people and your business. Tough times require that we find new and innovative ways to prove our value, and it’s in these times that we have the best opportunity to differentiate ourselves from our competition. COVID-19 gave all of us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves because the entire workplace evolved overnight, creating the need for new solutions. Now that we are on the other side, we are seeing significant cost increases from inflation and have another opportunity to evolve and find new ways to do business. We need to see these times as the opportunities that they are and stay positive.

Being a ConnectWise partner

Why did you choose ConnectWise?

We had been a legacy Continuum client when the merger with ConnectWise occurred, and it just seemed to be the right move to go all in with ConnectWise with ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Sell, and the ConnectWise Partner Program to get the most value for our IT spend. We’ve worked hard to leverage every solution from ConnectWise to the benefit of our clients, and we have worked even harder to develop the relationship we have with ConnectWise so that we are able to help them improve the tools they provide us to serve our clients. We provide regular feedback and work to help other partners understand the value of the services and how to get the most out of every solution. We’re far from perfect, but I’d like to think we understand what ConnectWise is trying to accomplish, and we want to be a part of it.

What impact has ConnectWise had on your business?

There are so many different ways that ConnectWise has impacted our business, from providing automated solutions that give us the ability to scale exponentially while giving us back time, to market development funds (MDF) through the ConnectWise Partner Program that helps to offset our marketing expenses. For the first eight years we were in existence, we were grinding every day—16 hours a day, and growing very slowly. We have grown over 30% from this time last year to now because of the automation, ease of onboarding, and standardization of our processes because of ConnectWise tools, and that doesn’t account for the last quarter of the year. Next year should be even better.

What is the biggest benefit of your partnership with ConnectWise?

I think the biggest benefit of our partnership with ConnectWise is the instant credibility you have when you partner with an expert and can leverage the 24/7 support from the NOC and SOC.  We know that no matter what the situation, we are not alone.  We have a trusted partner who has stepped to the plate time and time again to help us not only meet, but exceed, the expectations of our clients. We have challenged ConnectWise, and they have challenged us. They say iron sharpens iron. We get sharper every day because of the strength of our relationship with ConnectWise, and I hope the feedback that they get from us helps them to get better as well.

What’s something you want people to know about ConnectWise?

I think with all the mergers and acquisitions that have happened over the past few years, a lot of MSPs have taken a wait-and-see approach to ConnectWise, and by doing that are missing out on an opportunity to help shape the narrative. When you take the initiative to go all in and incorporate as much of the ConnectWise solutions into your offering, no matter how big or small you are, ConnectWise wants to know your thoughts about their solutions because they want to be sure that they are helping to grow your business. Your success is their success.

Any product features that were a game changer for you or your team?

There have been a few ConnectWise solutions that have dramatically changed SNS for the better, but none greater than the ConnectWise Assist Dedicated Tech program. We were one of the first companies to add a Dedicated Tech, and after four and a half years, I can say with absolute certainty that it was one of the top three decisions I have made since starting the company. Their expertise and presence within the ConnectWise NOC have expanded our capabilities and truly made the NOC an extension of our team. We now have two technicians, and within a year we will likely add another. These technicians are as much a part of SNS as any local member of our team, and we treat them that way. If you’ve ever considered hiring a third-party contractor for your MSP, look no further than the ConnectWise Assist Dedicated Tech program.

And now for some fun!

Tell us a fun fact about you or your company.

I am the youngest of 16 children, 13 of whom are boys, uncle to 45 nephews and nieces, and great-uncle to more than 75.

What’s a country or state you’d like to visit?

Italy, Greece, or just Europe in general.

What is one of your bucket list items?

To go on a mission trip and be the hands and feet of Jesus on every continent (except maybe Antarctica).