Building Market Credibility and a Loyal Customer Base with WatchGuard
Founded in 1994 by husband and wife team Malcolm and Michelle Joosse, Hotline IT is a respected Sydney-based managed services provider (MSP) that employs a team of 20 staff. They support around 40 organizations in the equipment rental, recruitment, non-profit and staffing industries throughout the east coast of Australia. Many of these organizations have been clients for more than a decade and some have been with Hotline IT since its inception.
“Our clients typically have between 50 and 200 users,” Michelle Joosse, managing director of Hotline IT explains. “They don’t have the resources to run their own IT departments and that’s where we come in. We perform that function for them; providing day-to-day IT support and advice on infrastructure and core business systems.
“At the same time, the organizations we work with trust us to recommend and deliver the solutions they need to run and protect their operations. And identifying best-in-class hardware and software vendors is a big part of that. This also includes cyber security, and our customers rely on us as experts to support their businesses,” Michelle notes.
Cyber protection is an integral component of Hotline IT’s offering. As one of WatchGuard’s inaugural Australian partners, Hotline IT has a long history tailoring solutions for the mid-market.
Hotline IT’s one-stop-shop security menu includes WatchGuard network security and secure Wi-Fi products, along with a suite of advanced security services. Additionally, they offer software deployment, maintenance and upgrades, threat prevention and detection, response and remediation, remote monitoring and troubleshooting to their clients.
The vast majority of Hotline IT’s customers use WatchGuard products and services. “WatchGuard solutions are the only ones we support and recommend,” Michelle says.
A mutually supportive relationship with WatchGuard has helped Hotline IT develop its cyber security capabilities and build a solid reputation for delivering robust, managed security services.
“We’ve never been a ‘box mover’ – it’s not what we do,” Michelle reflects. “We’re a value-added reseller and managed service provider and our focus has always been on building long-term relationships, with our clients and also with the vendors we choose to partner with. For us, that is just so important; being able to work together for our common benefit and to achieve the optimum outcome for the clients we support.”
“We’re a boutique reseller but WatchGuard has worked closely with us for a long time,” Michelle says. “WatchGuard actively helps us win new business by providing us with marketing collateral and by sending their experts to support us when we’re pitching.” The latter service is particularly valuable when the potential new account is a sizable one and stakeholders have technical questions they want to have addressed during the procurement process. Moreover, WatchGuard’s account management team provides customer referrals and co-funded events, which continues to be a regular feature on Hotline IT’s marketing calendar.
“Last year we hosted three lunches for clients and prospects in different cities along the east coast of Australia,” Michelle explains. “WatchGuard co-funded them and sent an employee along to deliver a presentation on the cyber security landscape and the options businesses have for mitigating risks. Events like that are very good for our credibility and we really appreciate the support WatchGuard gives us to reach out to the market.”
Michelle concludes: “One idea we, and other resellers, presented to WatchGuard recently was around being able to rent rather than buy their boxes. It would be compatible with the monthly subscription for managed services model we offer to our customers. WatchGuard is certainly listening to its partners and has plans for new and innovative subscription services. We’ve always found WatchGuard responsive to suggestions and proposals that are put to them. They make it easy for us to sell their products.”