WatchGuard Helps MSSP Gain Trust from Public Sector Agencies for Security
Liong Eng is a veteran of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services market in Australia. The founder of a Perth-based managed security services provider (MSSP), Silverfern IT, has been delivering ICT infrastructure services to public sector agencies and midsized commercial organizations across Western Australia since 1991.
Silverfern IT also partners with service providers from the eastern Australia areas that don’t have a presence in Perth and need assistance to deliver national coverage to large clients. Currently, the firm has around 80 active customers.
Silverfern IT began selling WatchGuard firewalls in 2004, after growing demand from customers that were beginning to incorporate the Internet into their operations. “At that time, we looked at a few of the different solutions,” Liong reflects.
“A couple of larger vendors had well-known products that were achieving good market share, but a lot of resellers were offering them already and the profit margins they could provide us with were poor. We wanted to do something a little different from the norm and were attracted by the idea of working with a brand that we could become an expert in supporting,” Liong states.
Fast forward 15 years and Silverfern IT is still a long-time WatchGuard Gold partner. They sell the full suite of WatchGuard solutions, including network security, secure Wi-Fi and multi-factor authentication.
The firm won WatchGuard’s Australia and New Zealand Project of the Year Award in 2018, for its deployment of a large firewall for a western Australia public sector agency.
WatchGuard’s solutions have also found a sweet spot in the mid-market where Silverfern focuses its efforts. “Everything WatchGuard does, we sell and support,” Liong adds. “It’s a security vendor whose products and services meet the needs of our target market really well. If they were to bring out additional security products, I would certainly consider taking them on and incorporating them into our marketing strategy going forward.”
Silverfern’s customers trust the firm to select products that will meet their business requirements and WatchGuard solutions are an integral component of the value proposition they offer.
Supporting security solutions from a single vendor has advantages for both customers and service provider. “We’re happy to recommend WatchGuard to all our customers because we know we can rely on them. We have an entire team of people in our organization who understand the products so if challenges arise, we can resolve them quickly,” Liong explains.
Liong states: “That would be more difficult for an organization of our size if we had multiple firewalls on the menu. There have been significant benefits to having WatchGuard as the backbone of our security offering.”
As one of WatchGuard’s longest-standing Australian partners, Silverfern IT has had ample opportunity to observe that its experiences over the years have been overwhelmingly positive.
“WatchGuard is not that big; it’s relatively small and nimble and, for that reason perhaps, very interested in its partners,” Liong says.
“The WatchGuard leadership team believes channel partners are key to the company’s success and because of that they’ve rewarded those partners that are successful extremely well. We’re one of those beneficiaries and for that reason I can only say good things about the company,” Liong notes.
As a WatchGuard Gold Partner, Silverfern IT has access to marketing funds that are used to host customer lunches and other business development events. Additionally, Liong is a regular attendee of the vendor’s annual Asia-Pacific partner conference and makes use of the sales and marketing collateral available online for partners to use.
Liong comments: “It’s easy to enjoy success with a product when you’re dealing with a vendor that has your back. The pre-sales and after-sales support have always been excellent and if we encounter a major challenge, we’re able to access specialized resources in the US immediately.”
Resellers also enjoy unprecedented access to WatchGuard’s leadership team, all the way up to the C Suite. “I’ve spoken directly to the WatchGuard CEO a number of times and we’re in contact with their vice president for the region,” Liong adds. “No other vendor I’ve come across has given that sort of access and it’s a big reason why WatchGuard has managed to foster such a collaborative, cooperative relationship with its channel,” Liong concludes.