SOCs for SMEs: The winning formula of Activium Information Design and WatchGuard
The absence of a unified security strategy is the main reason that small businesses fall victim to cyberattacks. It is with this in mind that Activium ID decided to expand its portfolio of solutions by creating a dedicated SME cybersecurity group in partnership with WatchGuard. Stéphane Leleu, CEO of Activium ID, and Pascal Le Digol, Country Manager France for WatchGuard, revisit the reasons for forming this tech partnership.
According to the French National Information System Security Agency, 43% of cyberattacks in 2021 targeted small businesses: the type of organization generally worst-placed to defend against these risks.
As a managed service provider that oversees and supports its customers’ information systems, Activium ID can certainly attest to the trend. “The diversity of tactics and attack vectors that our SME clients are faced with has given rise to a real need.” confirms Stéphane Leleu. Having delivered security services integrated with the various solutions it offers for a number of years now (Cloud, outsourcing, business continuity, infrastructure and even mobility), Activium ID has decided to take an additional step in supporting its clients by adding a managed service solution to its portfolio, delivered by a team of five cybersecurity experts.
The group’s strategy is naturally aligned with that of their long-term partner WatchGuard, and has turned towards becoming an MSSP in order to provide its partners with WatchGuard’s Unified Security Platform® architecture, offering robust security services, as well as gains in efficiency, scale, and speed. “As a new growth lever in our recurring service business line, we set ourselves an annual growth target that we have managed to meet in only six months,” says the company CEO.
A single platform designed to bring together all security layers
The sophistication of attacks and widening of the security perimeter as a result of more widespread remote working, alongside time pressures and a lack of specific training have all contributed to the immediate success of the offering among small and midsize businesses. “The backlog in dealing with areas such as patch management is obvious,” notes Pascal Le Digol, “as well as the loss of control in application deployment, a typical trait of shadow IT.” But Activium ID’s implementation of the WatchGuard solution isn’t just about addressing technological and organizational issues; it’s also aimed at solving the mountain of disparate cybersecurity solutions that damage the visibility of information systems.
By turning to a simplified cybersecurity system that runs on a single platform, SMBs are finding ways to make the different network security layers, endpoints, Wi-Fi, and identity protection all work together in unison, “which accelerates the threat detection and response processes,” adds WatchGuard’s country manager for France. What’s more, this Cloud-based solution can also be automated and alerts can be managed easily with ThreatSync. “For an MSSP, being able to leverage a unified console that can be augmented brick by brick is a real asset,” comments Stéphane Leleu, “while the SaaS model generates recurring revenue and is perfectly suited to managed services.”
WatchGuard’s solutions are, as a result, a logical development in the cybersecurity services provided by Activium ID, of which the SOC ‒ based on XDR, is the final step. “Our ultimate ambition is to deliver to SMBs a level of service in the area of cybersecurity that competes with that which the bigger players see, albeit with a more appropriate cost.” concludes the CEO.
A certification and support program to match ambitions
Aside from the quality of WatchGuard’s solutions, the demands of the certification program and Activium ID’s support have also played a role in the success of the launch. “Activium ID is one of the partners who has achieved certification as a WatchGuard Gold Partner 3,” highlights Pascal Le Digol, which demonstrates a combination of skills across networking, MFA (multi-factor authentication), and endpoints.
This certification covers the whole customer journey (sales, after-sales, delivery, support), and includes personalized MSSP partner training – something particularly important in Stéphane Leleu’s eyes, who considers that “true support isn’t just made up of a list of online modules.”
Activium ID’s CEO seems happy about this: “We particularly appreciate the daily support given by WatchGuard’s teams, which has allowed us to mix up our own teams with both senior and more junior members of staff.”
This support also extends to the commercial side of the business, with WatchGuard contributing to the success of its MSSP partners thanks to a comprehensive communication program, active engagement, and ongoing exposure to clients’ and even partners’ security problems.
“With WatchGuard deployments being so quick ‒ two months at most ‒ we have been able to shorten the sales cycle and act more reactively on increasingly complex topics around digital transformation. The combination of these technological, human and business factors is what has made this initiative so successful,” concludes Stéphane Leleu.