Archives For event

2016-06-14_15-12-33How is Your MSP Retention?

If you’re losing customers over the year, you’re losing money – big money.

The average stay for a client on an MSP contract is a few years, but if you look at a single year’s profit for your average customer (12 months of payments), losing adds up quickly.

Tomorrow Ingram Micro will be hosting a Livecast where I will be addressing this issue. Of course, I will be pointing back to security, and how to leverage security to increase retention. But not just security – there are some great strategies that you can put to work right now to increase retention and keep your value proposition strong. Hope to see you there.

Sign up right here (CLICK)  <<< Click to grab your free seat on tomorrow’s Ingram Micro Livecast.

 

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TALC100% Signed Up To See If Their Data Is Safe!

Yesterday’s event in Las Vegas was a great success. We had representatives from the local cybercrime enforcement unit of the Las Vegas Police Department, as well as Fire Department, along with just over 20 business leaders.  Delon Lukow, President of ProStar offered an assessment to each attendee as a thanks for attending.  This initial assessment will help business leaders determine if there are in fact symptoms of data theft, or major holes in their security strategy. Every person there agreed to take this first step.

After the meeting I had the opportunity to meet with Lukow to review the most important elements of small business risk, and what risks small businesses are most likely to face. It is ProStar’s mission to help educate business leaders in this region, to take a more proactive stance against cybercrime.  My hope is that more SMB focused technology companies will sponsor these types of events.

© 2015, David Stelzl

Thanks again to our sponsors including Cox Communications and Nuvestack!

Irvine CA. Sunrise

Irvine CA. Sunrise

Irvine CA….

Are Your Secrets Still Secret?

Hackers target startups that secure early-stage funding. Some startups are detecting heightened cyberattacks just after they raise Series A funding.” According to recent reports from the Wall Street Journal.

Business leaders tend to disregard this kind of news because their IT people are telling them, “We’ve got it covered.”  This afternoon I will be speaking to a group of CIOs in Irvine California, hosted by Accuvant and sponsored by McAfee.  This is a message every business leader needs to hear – before it’s too late.

The criminals aren’t sitting around worrying about new technologies that thwart their mischievous deeds.  They’re researching, testing, and collaborating.  The amount of money that goes into R&D on the enemy’s side hasn’t been published like it often is with security technology companies.  For instance, Cisco is proud of the fact that they spend around 300 million on security R&D annually (last I heard).  But innovation is happening on both sides, and the attacker is usually ahead (if not always ahead.)  There is no telling how much effort goes into their side, but based on the attacks we’ve seen, it’s significant, and should be scary.

A New Target: Start Up companies

“In March 2012, when cybersecurity startup Skyhigh Networks received $6.5 million in funding, the company noticed a marked increase in outsiders looking for vulnerabilities in its network.”  Nation State sponsored attacks, as well as competition, may be the instigators here.  Recent Patent Law changes encourage the theft of intellectual property when it deals with innovation.  The person who files first has an advantage over the patent rights…that means that as your clients are inventing, others are watching online to see when a development is ready, but not yet filed in the patent office.  This would be a good time to strike.  Notice that the security risks are suddenly higher at this point.  The measurement of impact goes up, but so does the likelihood of attack (an important model covered in my book, The House & the Cloud).  Understanding this is key to building a solid security architecture – it is also critical for the security provider if you want to better understand the sales cycle and how to justify a change in security spending.

Chinese Government – Are They Really Hacking?

There have been numerous hacker reports about Chinese Government over the past year.  Are they really hacking into US companies?  I have not personally experienced this – however the news is certainly saying, “Yes”.

“The disclosure early this year of a secretive Chinese military unit believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks has failed to halt the cyber intrusions,” according to Reuters’s Deborah Charles and Paul Eckert report.  Wall Street published this earlier in November, pointing to the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based Unit 61398 – the primary suspect. This sounds pretty specific.  What are they after?

According to the above mentioned article, this effort involves “cyber espionage to steal proprietary economic and trade information,” from the US.  In other words, they are after US innovation – taking what has taken years to develop, with a plan to develop the same innovations without the cost of R&D. Expect these new products to come on the market for much less, competing with the inventor on price.  This is called a copycat product, and often puts the inventor out of business.

If your clients are still thinking they are safe, have avoided attacks, and have it covered when it comes to keeping their innovation secrets under cover, they’re likely out of touch with the real world.  IT has often said, “We have it covered,” only to later find out that hackers have been inside for years.  The FBI says it takes 14 months, on average, to realize you’re under attack, but many companies will never figure it out – soon it will be too late.

© 2013, David Stelzl

 

Blog QR AdMarketing!  I just left a meeting early last week, talking with the president of a growing technology consulting firm – their number one issue: Marketing.  They have great people, strong sales, certifications, and great partner relationships, but no real marketing.  They have access to joint marketing funds like most resellers – but without a strong understanding of what makes a marketing program or event successful, it’s hard to move forward.  Without a plan, the sponsoring vendors tend to take control and the average lunch & learn program is doomed to failure.

Later this month I will be speaking on this very topic – Event Marketing (Sponsored by Ingram Micro).  This event is free – online through webex, all you need to do is sign up.  You can also get my new quick start guide at www.davidstelzl.com – side bar, right at the top.  It will take you through 7 key steps to setting up a successful event…I hope to see you there.

Here is the link:  CLICK.

Tomorrow I have the honor of speaking with CIOs in a meeting to discuss how business leaders will need to engage in cyber defense over the next 12 months.  Thanks to sponsors  HP, FireEye, McAfee, and Paragon Micro – a value added reseller of security, networking, and data center products. As I prepare, there are a number of things happening out there that make this an interesting time to be attending such an event.  Phyllis Schneck, a vice president and chief technology officer for the public sector at McAfee, was just named deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, working along with DHS on how to tackle the rising concerns of cybercrime.

This is especially a concern in the private sector where innovation tends to be a primary focus and the target of those governments looking to cash in on American innovation.  “Washington has struggled of late to determine how heavy a hand it will take in dealing with the private sector,” writes Danny Yadron of The Wall Street Journal.  “One contentious issue is whether the government should set minimum standards that companies in key industries like banking and energy should meet in order to protect their networks from cyberattacks. Companies generally want to set up their own criteria.”

The more mid market companies ignore these threats, the more government is going to insist on imposing new rules.  From what I can tell, this won’t stop with banking and energy – but will likely expand over time into mid-market manufacturing, service providers, transportation, and more.  The problem is, when government gets involved, the regulations are usually costly but not well thought out. We end up with rules that don’t actually make sense.  For instance, it’s illegal to bathe a horse in your bathtub in North Carolina where I live.  It’s also against the law to plow your field with an elephant.  Why?  Because the lawmakers reacted to something rather than thinking through to the best way to address the root issue.

Cybercrime is far more than a technical issue.  Tomorrow afternoon I will be addressing some of the most important trends, along with mindsets and culture that must be developed inside an organization to better protect against this impending doom of bureaucracy driven by growing surreptitious cyber threats.  Security must be addressed first, at the top, where the digital assets are created and assigned value.  From there IT and security groups will gain the support they need to get the job done.

© 2013, David Stelzl

When I say “event” or “Lunch & Learn”, the first question is, “How do we get people to come?  Tomorrow I am conducting a conference on entrepreneurial thinking and we have over 130 people signed up – how did that happen?  Well, there are many factors, but one factor should be the use of social media.  If you are not leveraging social media tools in your business to build a following, you should be.  If you are, check to make sure you are actually building, and not wasting your time.

Understanding How it Works

First, I think it’s important to say, social media is not a quick, over night kind of thing.  People who use social media as another avenue for spam are not going to be successful.  No one is going to buy a magazine full of advertisements.  I remember watching one of my friends open his Car & Driver Magazine in high school. The first thing he would do is flip through to find the ad pages and rip them out.  Then he would hold up the remaining magazine – it would be half the thickness of the original.

Social media is about content and creating value.  What do your readers want?  What will help them with the business they are trying to build?  You can’t just guess on this, you need input.  I recommend asking your best clients what to put out there.  It also has to be something you are passionate about.  If you don’t have  a passion for the things your clients need, you might be in the wrong business.  When the two come together, something happens – people start following.

Gary Vaynerchuck, author of Crush It, gives us a sense of that passion – check out his blog. Of course, if you know Gary, you don’t read his blog, rather you watch it.  On the other hand, David Meerman Scott does a great job explaining how content should work and how to build, what he calls personas of the people you aim to reach – check out his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

Talking Strategy

Yesterday I was on a coaching call with a marketing VP talking strategy and social media.  His company has content, but as we read through it, we both saw the same problem – the content is to technical and too generic.  His market is pretty specific, yet his content is not.  If I ask him to describe his target prospect, he can do it, but when I read the headlines on his blog, they don’t tend to attract the right target – or any specific target.

Social media is a process – its a set of tools that allow me to address a people group.  The group already exists out there.  My job is to write compelling content to the group as if I am the newspaper serving a local town.  My content has to be great – it has to compete with a million other people.  This is where Simon Sinek’s video, which I posted a few weeks ago, comes inStarting with the Why.  When I think about my own business and why it has been successful over the past 8 years, I know it is because I am doing exactly what Simon is describing – I am selling my Why.  In my words, I am working to meet the needs of my people group.  A concept I describe in detail in my book, From Vendor to Adviser.

When a business owner or VP, of a large company division, wakes up in the morning, I doubt they are thinking about your products and they probably won’t tune into your blog post if it’s all about you.  Yet they will probably read their email first.  For some reason, even the busiest people go to email first.  What are they looking for?  If something is going on in their business, it’s likely somewhere in email and like most professionals, they head there first.  The question is, will they subscribe to your media, making it part of the morning routine?

So How Did We Get the 130 People?

Building an audience happens through social media – making contacts, building trust, and building interest.  It won’t happen overnight, in fact the first year of my blog, I struggled reach more than 10 to 15 readers in a day; sometimes less.  Some people continue to buy lists and make calls, and there is a place for this, but calling people you don’t know, and more importantly, who don’t know you, is a tough way to build an audience for your upcoming event.

© 2012, David Stelzl

(You might have to turn up your volume on this – the audio is weak)…Why do some deals look good, then stall out?  In this short clip I explain what it is that makes deal justification strong, and where things fall apart.  I invite you to share your comments and experiences.

© 2011, David Stelzl