VITG strengthens cyber security play – ARN

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During the past two years, Virtual IT Group (VITG) has made several strategic acquisitions, building itself into a business with more than 250 employees and an annual turnover of more than $80 million.

VITG was founded in Shellharbour in 2015 by Christian Pacheco and has grown both organically and through acquisition, collecting many key vendor relationships along the way, which it is in the process of consolidating.

Its 1,400 customer base spans legal, financial, medical and not-for-profit sectors across Australia, New Zealand, the US and Singapore.

The purchase of Greenlight ICT in December 2022 placed the organisation in a position of being one of two Premier WatchGuard partners in Australia, a significant move that has seen it branch further into the cyber security services arena.

“As a managed services provider, there was always a cyber element in our offering but it’s become a heavy focus for us in recent times,” VITG chief customer officer Chris Troncone said.

“Managed IT support is our bread and butter but we’ve had we’ve had to pivot as an organisation in the last few years. In the last few months we’ve got cyber security teams and managed security services has become a core focus of our business.

“Safeguarding against cyberattacks and data theft is a high priority for our customers and we’ve worked hard to develop product and service offerings that provide comprehensive, cost effective protection.”

Chris Troncone (Virtual IT Group)

One of VITG’s primary offerings in its go-to-market strategy is cyber security as-a-service, Troncone explained.

“We do manage cyber security and we’ve got multiple vendors around the hardware space and firewall areas, which WatchGuard is one of our key partners. We’re growing as an organisation and we’re currently standardising our product stack,” he said.

WatchGuard’s firebox firewalls, secure Wi-Fi access points and secure SD-WAN solutions make up an integral part of VITG’s cyber offering due to the earlier acquisition of WatchGuard partners Combo and ITelligent Consulting Services in 2019 and 2021, respectively. This excelled further with the Greenlight ICT purchase.

“The performance and price point of WatchGuard’s solutions make them very appealing to our customers and to us,” Troncone said. “Essentially, we’re able to offer them enterprise-level protection without the enterprise-level price tag.”

Being able to obtain a bird’s eye view of the customer’s perimeter, encompassing every office and remote site, through a single solution creates an element of efficiency for VITG to monitor and manage customer networks.

“Using WatchGuard technology allows us to turn incidents and issues around quicker than with solutions from previous security vendors,” Troncone said.

“In the managed services and consultancy space, time is money so our focus is on partnering with vendors that enable us to deliver efficient services and support to our customers.”

Representing a steady source of revenue, WatchGuard’s products have helped the VITG sales team get a foot in the door with customers that are looking to strengthen their cyber security posture.

“Being able to supply customers with high performing cyber security solutions like WatchGuard doesn’t just allow us to win business; it can also create opportunities to upsell and expand the relationship,” Troncone said.

Accessing WatchGuard’s team of pre-sales specialists also add to the benefits of the partnership.

“They’re always willing to jump on customer calls and that’s been very helpful in terms of getting new business over the line,” Troncone said.

Once won, implementations are typically conducted swiftly, with minimal disruption – a bonus for both client and service provider, in an era when every minute of downtime matters.

“We find projects just get done quicker when WatchGuard is involved,” Troncone said. “If we’re putting in new internet services for clients and we have to install a new firewall, we always see the ones with WatchGuard go in faster.”

Receiving responsive service when they encounter technical difficulties has made WatchGuard one of the VITG engineering team’s preferred vendors too.

“Our people know they can jump on a call and get the answers they need straightaway,” Troncone said. “Having 24-hour access to that deep technical support can come in very handy.”

As a WatchGuard Platinum Partner, VITG has access to co-marketing funds and digital marketing campaigns.

WatchGuard Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) and Pacific islands regional director Anthony Daniel said his aim is to have a go-to-market strategy together.

“We’re working together and understanding what do partners need from us to help go-to-market and to grow your business; that’s number one. What resources or tools do you need from us? We have local presence, account managers [and] a sales teams that can also engage with end users to help get those opportunities across the line as well,” Daniel said.

“From a technical perspective and having engineers assist them, we have qualified opportunities and for us to get the fundamentals right is understanding what do we need to do together to help us grow the business? How do we do it and target the market, strategically?

“We want to be seen as not only a vendor that pushes products out, but how do we support partners to try and sing that cyber security message to make sure that customers are protected, and educated in the right way?”

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