How IT Providers are winning with next-gen tech [Webinar]
by Bella Howell, on March 26, 2020
There’s nothing more annoying than a revenue stream that you can’t get the most out of. Everyone’s ready for next-gen tech, but it’s become an area that’s littered with misdirection and misinterpretation, causing a lot of frustration for MSPs. We sat down with Chad McNaughton, Security Specialist at Untangle, and Craig Atkins, MD at 1-Fix IT, to discuss how embracing the firewall arena has allowed them to change for the better.
A couple of years ago, firewalls were at the back of most MSP’s minds. Smaller clients didn’t seem to need one and bigger clients could work with what they already had. It was an easy piece of kit to ignore, but the internet didn’t stop, security threats got stronger, and now implementing firewalls is all but essential.
Surveying a group of over 60 of our MSP partners, we found that more 30% still didn’t have a firewall in their offering, a fact that came as no surprise to Craig, who recalls how firewalls were once something that he was afraid of.
“When we used to take on clients, we would either inherit what they had in their stack and manage that – but not very well as we didn’t understand it – or go to market and see what we could find that fit the bill instead.” It didn’t take long for Craig to realise that this approach couldn’t last, and he either had to lean into firewalls or risk falling behind the curve.
Fast forward to today, and Craig can’t imagine 1-Fix IT without Untangle, a firewall service that they recommend to all of their clients, both big and small.
“With Untangle, you can build what sounds like it should be a complicated solution to a problem in a really straightforward way. We found that this was something we could set up and any of our technicians, even first-level support, could understand what was going on. Straight out the box, it just made sense.”
As fear, intrigue and awareness take over, more and more people have come to understand that they can’t survive without a firewall. Thanks to a large amount of innovation in a short amount of time, anyone can now have Untangle, whether it be through hardware, virtual machine or public cloud.
At present, the majority of MSPs surveyed still choose to run their firewalls through hardware, finding comfort and convenience in a piece of tangible equipment. However, as the market moves forward and more companies adopt cloud servers, it’s likely that this will change in the future. Untangle itself is pioneering the use of firewalls in the cloud, but still sees the majority of its sales through hardware. MSPs can see why the Untangle firewall is so popular with a 30-day free trial.
Even an insurance agent with three employees can be a target for someone. If you have a public IP, you’re a target.” Chad McNaughton, Security Specialist at Untangle
When asked about the current challenges they face with next-gen tech, our MSPs provided a few recurring examples:
1. High costs up-front
This is something Craig sees a lot, but mentions how Untangle’s rolling monthly contract option ‘perfectly fits the MSP model’. Due to this offering of both long and short contracts, 1-Fix IT has never had anyone cancel their firewall service.
2. Difficult to set up
“Untangle exists because this can be easy,” says Chad, “For example, setting up a VLAN is not a hard thing to do – we literally have a button for that! More than 40,000 Untangles have been installed worldwide. If it were hard to configure, that wouldn’t be true.”3. Confusing user interface
Chad continues, “I speak to a lot of small businesses directly who are nervous about making the change, but as soon as they see Untangle on my screen, they get relaxed. Untangle is built for ease of use and proves that firewalls don’t have to be scary.”
To address these common issues, Craig has found that instead of selling a firewall to his customers, it’s much easier to pitch Untangle as exactly what it is – a problem solver. This allows him to show off the programme’s features without having to deal with any prior bias. In particular, he’s noticed that the way Untangle continues to upgrade and develop after its first and only installation is a big draw for his clients, as many other firewalls don’t work that way without a change in pricing.
As a next-gen piece of tech, Untangle has quickly moved to become a globally respected firewall because of features like this. With regular updates to its command centre, security features, bandwidth control and software integration, Untangle’s flexible model allows to fit any business and protect them with ease.
As an example of Untangle’s next-gen capabilities in action, Craig recalls how one his clients recently faced an aggressive piece of zero-day malware, “It was so aggressive that it got through everything - the AV that we had in place, any DNS filtering, Untangle’s virus checker and even our own. It was zero-day, so when we looked it up online, literally nothing knew about it.
“That said, because we had blocks in place, Untangle managed to stop the virus from encrypting anything. It was trying to get out to all these IPs and we saw in real-time how the firewall blocking it.
“In the end, it did manage to get into the network, but without Untangle we would’ve been in a world of pain.”