After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, in-person IT conferences are finally back in 2022. And while we are looking forward to attending many events this year, there is one in particular that we are especially excited about: MSP Expo.
MSP Expo is the premiere annual conference and networking summit for MSPs, channel executives, partners, and solutions providers. This year’s event will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from June 21-24, and around 5,000 attendees are expected. We are proud to be a “Silver Sponsor,” and our Event Team will be led by our VP of Business Solutions, Maurice Cote (meet him and the team at booth #734!).
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Maurice to learn more about the vision for MSP Expo 2022. Below is a look at our discussion. My questions are bolded, followed by Maurice’s answers.
Why is it important for Devolutions to attend MSP Expo 2022?
MSPs are an important target market for us, and exhibiting at MSP Expo is a valuable opportunity to get closer to them and build relationships.
MSPs have multi-faceted objectives, because they need to solve their own IT security issues, and they must also address the security concerns of their customers. Adding to the complexity is that most MSPs are relatively small businesses, and as such they do not have an experienced CSO on staff who can provide them with advice on how to elevate their security posture.
We fill this gap, and this is one of the main reasons why many MSPs view us as trustworthy and credible. They are really quite impressed by our approach.
Can you talk a little bit more about your approach, and why it impresses MSPs?
Basically, MSPs that go to an event like MSP Expo get inundated with sales tactics. This isn’t surprising, because most vendors send their salespeople to these events instead of their IT people. Now, I have absolutely nothing against salespeople, and I know that our sales team at Devolutions is extremely hard working and very knowledgeable — they have to be, because our products have so many features and functions, and each potential customer has unique needs and goals.
However, my point here is that most MSPs that attend an event like MSP Expo are not necessarily looking to buy a solution; at least, not immediately. Rather, they are looking to learn and discover. They want to know what’s out there on the market, and they want to meet vendors who they can build strong, long-term relationships with. And that’s where we enter the picture.
When you meet MSPs, what is the engagement like?
To start with, MSPs are very surprised that the person they are speaking to — which usually happens to be me — is a fellow IT professional who understands what things are really like in the real world. It’s pretty cool to see them relax once they realize that the dialogue is going to be expert-to-expert, and I’m not trying to sell them anything.
After that, MSPs are further impressed that we take the time to provide them with a one-on-one demo, during which we show them how we can be part of the solution for their own needs, and if applicable for their customers’ needs. Many other exhibitors really don’t provide a demo. Usually, they just have a presentation on an ongoing loop, and are willing to stand beside an MSP and watch it with them. We go much deeper and actually demonstrate our solutions. We don’t just tell MSPs how we can help, but we actually show them in a practical way.
And so overall, I would say that the combination of having an experienced IT professional represent Devolutions, while also providing a one-on-one demo for each MSP that we meet, sets us apart and typically makes our booth one of the busiest.
I’ve heard that the way Devolutions has designed its tradeshow booth is a bit different. Can you talk a bit about this?
I think our booth design says a lot about our philosophy. Most other booths are pretty conventional. Basically, there is a table and chairs around it. Attendees sit on one side, and exhibitors sit on the other side. It’s pretty old school, and it kind of establishes an us vs. them dynamic.
But at our booth, we don’t have a table surrounded by chairs. We invite attendees to come into our space and walk around. We want them to feel like they are on the inside and meeting friends, and not on the outside encountering strangers.
Believe it or not, this setup really has a positive impact. I have never understood why more companies don’t adopt — by which I mean steal — our approach, but so far we are pretty unique in this regard. And of course, our mascot Waykee is always good for grabbing attention!
What would you say is the core message that you want to share at MSP Expo?
The essential message that we want to share is that Devolutions offers a suite of proven solutions to support all three IT security tiers. Let me summarize these for you.
Tier three is for MSPs that need basic – but of course robust and reliable — connection management. These are MSPs that work in smaller teams, and the passwords that they manage are not for privileged accounts. For MSPs at the tier three level, Remote Desktop Manager is an excellent fit.
Tier two is for MSPs that need a good remote connection management solution, but also need to pair it with another solution that protects the database from direct access, and which has built-in business logic and security. For MSPs at the tier two level, the best-fit approach is Remote Desktop Manager paired with Password Hub Business – if they want SaaS – or Remote Desktop Manager paired with Devolutions Server – if they are self-hosted. Devolutions Server also has alerts, notifications, and syslog integration, which is valuable to some MSPs.
Tier one is for MSPs that face stringent privilege access management obligations. For example, their customers include hospitals, and therefore they must follow all HIPAA Security Rules. The right package for MSPs here is Remote Desktop Manager paired with Devolutions Server, which is enhanced with the PAM module. Basically, with secure credential injection, MSPs can confidently tell their customers: No human being will ever see these passwords. This is a very big deal.
When you share this information with MSPs, what are some of the so-called “aha” moments for them? What really captures their attention and gets them excited about what you are saying?
I have spoken with many MSPs over the years, and I have experienced a lot of “aha” moments. Generally, there are two things that seem to really land well with MSPs and get them quite interested in who we are and how we can help.
The first thing — and I mentioned it already in an earlier answer — is that we can support MSPs at any and every level of their IT security maturity. If they just need solid remote connection management, then we do that. And if they have comprehensive identity and access management needs, we do that as well.
This also means that as MSPs grow and evolve, our solutions grow and evolve with them. For example, maybe today all they need is remote connection management, which is great. And then next year when they have more sophisticated needs, we augment their infrastructure with Password Hub Business, or Devolutions Server with PAM Module. MSPs already know and trust us, and so adding more of our products to their ecosystem is seen as very safe.
The second thing — and I may have mentioned this, but I should drill a little deeper — is that we can open the door to help MSPs generate new and profitable customers, and in a manner that is much easier than they imagined possible. For example, let’s say you’re an MSP and you want to add a hospital to your roster of customers. As you would expect, the hospital won’t even consider the partnership unless the MSP meets HIPAA Security Rules, and has measures like secure credential injection. Unfortunately, the MSP doesn’t have the infrastructure or tools to meet this requirement — which means they cannot win the business. But guess what? We quickly and easily give them this infrastructure.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “their eyes lit up.” Well, trust me when I say that when I share with MSPs that we can help them add more customers — and we are talking profitable, high-quality engagements with hospitals, health networks, law firms, insurance companies, and so on — their eyes really do light up! They are amazed that we literally increase their capacity to do more. This makes them more competitive, more profitable, and more successful.
Is there anything else you would like to add for the MSPs out there?
I think I’ve covered a lot of territory here already. I suppose if there is one thing I’d like to emphasize it is that our goal at MSP Expo is to build quality relationships. We want to make MSPs stronger and more successful because right now coming out of the pandemic they have tremendous opportunities — but they also face some difficult challenges. We are here to help them seize their opportunities and overcome their challenges. We are not just a regular vendor. Instead, we are a long-term partner.