MSP Sees Years of Success with Exclusive WatchGuard Partnership
The Mid-North Coast New South Wales IT services consultancy C3 Group is no fly-by-night success story.
The business began as a one-man repair shop in founder John Hood’s Coffs Harbour garage back in 1995 and has since morphed into a reputable supplier of IT managed services to small and medium sized businesses throughout Australia.
“Back in those days, PCs were a nice-to-have, not a necessity, but the market was clearly growing,” C3’s long-time general manager, Brian Townley, explains.
By the mid-2000s, the company had swapped the consumer market for the commercial sphere. Today, its team of 32 supports around 200 clients in the healthcare, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, not for profit and professional services sectors, from their Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie locations.
“We don’t advertise or market ourselves heavily and most of our business comes from referrals or word of mouth,” Townley says. “We pride ourselves on providing regional organisations with a service that’s equal to that offered by our peers nationally.”
C3 Group has been a WatchGuard partner since 2012. At that time, it began migrating its managed services customers over to the WatchGuard Firebox range, as maintenance agreements with former supplier SonicWall expired.
“We were attracted by the fact that WatchGuard provided enterprise-level services at an SMB price,” Townley says. “We were looking for a firewall vendor that could deliver traditional on-premises physical appliances, as well as virtual appliances that could support our private cloud data centre infrastructure.”
WatchGuard has since become the company’s primary security vendor.
“When we began working together, they didn’t have a diverse product portfolio,” Townley says. “As they’ve brought new offerings to market, we’ve transitioned our customers across.
We’re currently selling all of their products and services, including Watchguard Secure Wi-Fi, AuthPoint multi-factor authentication and the WatchGuard Panda endpoint security solution.”
“As a company, we spend a lot of time researching the products we offer to our clients,” Townley explains. “Any time we’re due to renew our relationships with vendors, we explore what’s available in the market and compare it with our current range, to see what’s best in class and whether we need to make a switch. Panda rated very highly in all our testing and given the strength of our relationship with WatchGuard, transitioning from Webroot was a no-brainer.”
“For us, it’s always about being able to protect our clients; owning the burden of mitigating their risk, at a price point that’s acceptable to them.”
Being regionally located hasn’t resulted in C3 Group being overlooked in the service stakes, according to Townley. “WatchGuard’s account management is really spot on,” he says. “We feel very included and supported, from both the sales and technical perspectives – I would say they are the best vendor we deal with in that regard.”
The support provided extends to assistance with pre-sales scoping and solution design.
“The ability to leverage WatchGuard’s expertise when we’re putting together larger proposals is invaluable,” Townley says. “We sell into a diverse range of environments and having their experts ‘on our team’ helps us ensure we offer a solution that meets the client’s needs.”
C3 Group makes frequent use of marketing collateral from the WatchGuard Partner Portal and co-hosts regular customer events with the vendor.
“WatchGuard has helped fund breakfast and lunchtime functions for our vertical markets and been a part of some larger events, along with a handful of our other key partners,” Townley says.
“COVID affected our ability to run in-person events in 2020 but we embraced the opportunity to work with WatchGuard on some digital ones instead.”
C3 Group executives and engineers have attended several of WatchGuard’s international partner events and found them valuable and enjoyable.
“It’s a great opportunity to have access to the senior management team and to network with other WatchGuard partners – a lot of idea sharing happens,” Townley says.
As C3 Group moves towards its third decade in the ICT industry, the partnership with WatchGuard may well turn out to be equally long lived.
“As we continue to evolve and expand, so will the relationship,” Townley adds. “We have zero intention to look for another security vendor when what we have works so well.”