Panel discussion rounds off day one of GFI MAX EU Customer Conference

Debbie Thomson

The first day of the GFI MAX EU Customer Conference finished on a high yesterday with a thought provoking panel discussion on the key opportunities and threats for the MSP market, led by Lee Evans. Lee was joined on stage by Scott Thorpe of ACUTEC, Damian Gunner of Damian Gunner Ltd and David Hewett of iTeam Solutions Ltd.

The panel discussed a number of topics including:

  • Cloud based services as a revenue opportunity
  • BYOD policies and the legal implications
  • Per user vs per device pricing models

Cloud Services:

Discussions began around cloud based services as Lee Evans stated that a recent survey conducted by GFI MAX indicated that 10% of respondents were not yet selling a cloud services offering. The same survey also suggested that 49% respondents view cloud services as a revenue opportunity.

When asked, each panel member said they were already offering these services themselves and this mostly included managing office 365. Reasons given for this were for the simplicity and low cost benefits of offering these services and David Hewett suggested that what he offers his clients “has always been the support of their services” implying that supporting their cloud services is simply another branch of his existing offering.

Mobile Device Management:

The next topic for discussion was Mobile Device Management which caused some debate among the MSPs attending with many asking the difficult question of who would legally be responsible for the destruction of data on a personal device regardless of whether or not a disclaimer has been signed?

Scott Thorpe’s response to this question was simple, stating “a disclaimer, is a disclaimer” suggesting if the right policies are in place there should be no concern over wiping data from a device, a view which was echo by some others in the room.

It was suggested that creating a sandbox for corporate data held on personal devices therefore enabling only corporate data to be wiped if necessary could be the answer to the question of responsibility.

The debate showed that legal responsibility is a great concern for many when considering mobile device management.

Pricing Models in the Industry:

When the discussion moved towards pricing models in the industry it quickly became clear that in the per user vs per device debate, per user is emerging as the preferred model with each panel member suggesting they were either already working in such a way or would be moving in that direction.

Damian Gunner stated “I’m not quite at that stage just yet”...“I can see quite clearly that the per user model at least in my case is the way to go” this opinion was backed up by Scott Thorpe when he succinctly stated “It works, it’s the best way and it’s easier”.

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