When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast shoreline on October 29, 2012, the devastation was immediate and widespread. More than 100 lives were lost and thousands of people were left homeless. The powerful storm wreaked havoc on 24 states, but did the most damage across New Jersey and New York, where Joe Ambrosole, president of Staten Island-based NetConnect and its sister company VISN-IT, serve over 100 small to midsize business (SMB) customers.
In the aftermath, with streets and buildings flooded, and their path to Manhattan blocked, Ambrosole and his team focused on lending their physical support to friends and customers in the nearby area.
“Nobody has power. Cell phones and landlines were down. For our customers, the top priority was safeguarding their valuable server and devices as flood levels rose,” says Ambrosole. “We went from office to office pulling devices out of water-damaged offices, moving them to safety.”
And although months have passed since the storm stuck, the effects of the hurricane continue to linger, says Ambrosole, a SolarWinds N-able Elite managed services provider (MSP) Partner.
“Skyscrapers were still shut down, trains were still not working and downtown Manhattan was still not back to normal – two month after the catastrophe occurred,” he says. “The storm surge hit at high tide on a full moon, setting the stage for the most extensive destruction that a hurricane of this magnitude can generate.”
While his surroundings on Staten Island may never be the same again, Ambrosole has gone out of his way to help customers get their businesses back to normal. His ties to the community are strong, having formed NetConnect in 1992 to meet the IT support and technology needs of companies from New Jersey to Manhattan, in markets ranging from banking and finance to education and insurance.
Always ahead of the curve, NetConnect was a pioneer in the managed services market, adopting remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology from SolarWinds N-able, the global leader in RMM software, as early as 2005 to stay on top of customer demands. Two years later he formed VISN-IT to focus exclusively on managed services while continuing to leverage the power of SolarWinds N-able’s N-central®, the industry’s #1 RMM and MSP service automation platform. Today, with a staff of 25 and growing, managed services make up 55 per cent of Ambrosole’s revenue, and he says it continues to represent a growing part of his business.
“When we first got started as an MSP, I felt we needed to change and move away from being a reseller,” says Ambrosole. “SolarWinds N-able was an easy choice for us. They helped us get the business off the ground and elevate our game with a higher level of support.”
These days, the bulk of that support is performed remotely. VISN-IT uses N-central to remotely manage thousands of customer devices including servers, desktops, networking equipment and firewalls. With SolarWinds N-able’s remote control capabilities, the MSP also has the option to take over customer machines to perform a wide range of maintenance services and more proactively address issues before problems arise.
“Customers like the fact that we don’t always have to come on site – that we can quickly and proactively address issues before they’re apparent,” says Ambrosole. “They know that our service desk is always there for them, and they can see the ROI that they’re getting.”
The valuable services that VISN-IT performs – whether behind the scenes or not – is documented for customers through SolarWinds N-able’s Report Manager solution. Report manager captures metrics on all activities, produces a broad range of custom reports, and allows the firm to instantly demonstrate IT value, providing all the insight and services that an expert, on-staff or virtual CIO would offer.
Looking ahead in 2013, Ambrosole sees a tightening marketplace, but he also sees great opportunity in the area of mobile device management (MDM). The MSp already maintains clients’ phone systems now, but with new MDM features coming out of SolarWinds N-able, technicians will be able to drill down and get more specific – doing everything from stopping mobile device data for customers to remotely turning off phones as needed.
As Ambrosole reflects on the hurricane, he describes how it has ironically fueled new growth for his business.
“Customers are now more aware than ever before of the value of replication and building multiple replication sites,” he says. “They are already coming to us for more replication servers and related applications, which means more to monitor with N-central. It’s the nature of the business, but we are fortunate to have gotten through the hurricane unscathed, and t be in a position to help our customers at a time when our community will be rebuilding for years to come.
SolarWinds N-able is a leading global provider of complete IT management, automation and MSP business transformation solutions. The SolarWinds® N-able N-central® product is an award-winning RMM and MSP Service Automation Platform. Solarwinds N-able has a proven track record of helping MSPs standardize and automate the setup and delivery of IT services in order to achieve true scalability. The N-central platform is backed by comprehensive business enablement support services. Thousands of MSPs use SolarWinds N-able solutions to deliver scalable, flexible, profitable managed services to over 100,000 SMBs worldwide. With offices in North America, the Netherlands and Australia, SolarWinds N-able is 100% channel-friendly and maintains strategic partnerships with Microsoft®, Intel®, IBM®, and Cisco® among others. www.n-able.com
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