SMEs are increasingly security conscious, and at the same time more inclined to move to the cloud, says IT specialist firm Executive Solutions.

“We see this trend emerging particularly among our mid-sized and enterprise customers,” says co-founder and MD Richard Levine.

Executive Solutions, recently named Silver Partner of the Year in the Fortinet Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Partners of the Year awards, has specialised in IT consulting and management services for local SMEs for 20 years.

Fortinet Silver Partners are committed to delivering superior security solutions to their customers. Silver Partners possess a knowledge of Fortinet’s low- to-mid range multi-threat security solutions and can deliver the solutions that best fit small to medium business security concerns.

Paul Williams, Country Manager – Southern Africa at Fortinet, explains that Executive Solutions was named Silver Partner of the Year because the company not only shows the most growth in the region, but also added new core and enhanced technology deals to the business in 2017. “This includes selling technology like NGX and UTM, Fortinet Wireless, Fortinet Switching products, Web Application firewalls, sandboxing and participating in numerous Fortinet Cyber Threat Assessment Programs (CTAPs) with new customers. Executive Solutions is showing that our Silver partners have the calibre to drive new organic growth in the medium sized market today, and are as important as all our other partners playing in this space.”

Levine says SME IT trends have changed significantly over the years, with cloud and security now emerging as top of mind for many. Where only a few years ago, SMEs were reluctant to move their critical systems and IP to the cloud, mainly due to concerns around the complexity of migration, hidden costs of cloud services and security of core systems and data; many are now moving mission-critical systems and data into the cloud, he says.

“This change can be attributed to several factors,” says Levine. “One is that productivity and continuity are crucial, and cloud-based systems enable these. Also, migration to the cloud is becoming a lot simpler and security management significantly more effective, thanks to advances made by vendors such as Microsoft and Fortinet.”

Executive Solutions co-founder and CTO Gavin Bodill notes that developments such as the Fortinet Security Fabric and SD WAN are giving SME customers peace of mind in cloud migration and security management.

The Fortinet Security Fabric delivers broad protection and visibility to every network segment, device, and appliance, whether virtual, in the cloud, or on-premise. Automatically synchronize your security resources to enforce policies, coordinate automated responses to threats detected anywhere in your network, and easily manage all of your different security solutions and products through a single console.

Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN deployment provides next-generation security and advanced networking capabilities to improve WAN efficiency without compromising on security. It links network and security paths across the world through the internet, 3G/4G, or private WAN links, making it a truly borderless infrastructure for the enterprise.

“With these advances, we are able to offer our customers enhanced security and improved SLAs,” says Bodill. “When customers move to the cloud, their connectivity becomes a massive single point of failure. But with Fortinet we are now able to manage this risk more effectively, and with the refined SD WAN, we can ensure that the link not only functions, but that it delivers the expected levels of performance with automated failover.

“This reassures the customer and gives them confidence in moving to the cloud.”  These new technologies, along with Microsoft 365 and Azure enhancements, are making cloud migration simpler and more viable for local SMEs, he says.

Executive Solutions, with a lengthy history in supporting SMEs across South Africa, is stepping up its focus on cloud and security in line with changing demands from its customer base.

“Not all SMEs have the budget and in-house resources needed to optimise the cloud and effectively mitigate all risks. So, we partner with them to prepare a roadmap of priorities, illustrate ROI, and help align their IT spend according to their needs,” says Levine. “Ensuring that we have a solid understanding of our customer’s technical, operational and commercial aspects of their business, allows us to deliver niche solutions based on each customer’s unique requirements.”

Executive Solutions is a leading IT support provider who has continued to deliver dynamic, cost-effective solutions to a multitude of businesses for 20 years.