How do you grow your MSP to double in size in 12 months? BEW Global did it by exploiting a niche in the market not covered by giant competitors or smaller rivals. BEW Global offers managed data loss prevention (DLP) technology and services to its end-user companies which include big names such as Steinmart Stores and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Here are some of the secrets to its success.
First, the company has indeed found a niche. It takes an intelligent approach to monitoring security, looking at how data flows in and out of a company. That’s a distinct difference from the edge-based security – focused on keeping intruders out -- offered by big players such as Dell SecureWorks and telecom companies offering packaged managed security. BEW monitors “data at rest” and “data in motion” looking at both where files reside and how they move through the system. Are employees moving information onto USB drives? Is information being emailed to personal employee accounts? Is information accessed on non-secure machines from home offices?
“Data loss prevention looks at the context and content of behavior,” BEW Global CEO Rob Eggebrecht, told me. By watching how information flows in and out of the network BEW can identify malicious activity -- for instance, an employee who is downloading all customer names, orders and invoices. The employee’s actions trigger a closer watch on a Monday and information about that employee’s actions can be gathered for the rest of the week to assist in future litigation.
Growing DemandAnother reason for BEW Global’s success comes from a growing need in the market. Sure, a few years back several new regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Sarbanes Oxley, PCI and others increased the need for security by some companies and industries.
More recently, the economic downturn of 2008 and beyond has increased the incidence of intellectual property theft, Eggebrecht told me.
“Since the economic downturn, the amount of this type of fraud is skyrocketing,” he said. “People are desperate. They are out of work for long periods of time, they have mortgages to pay. Combine that with moving to the digital age.” BEW Global has already been involved in about four cases of litigation surrounding intellectual property theft. The stakes are high. For instance, a pharmaceutical company could spend well over $50 million over five years to develop a drug and get it through years of testing. Then all that development and testing information can be downloaded onto a 1G USB drive.
“IP theft is what is making our business explode right now,” Eggebrecht said. And so the company has formalized its service into an offering called Intelisecure -- a bundle of five services that are also available on an a la carte basis. They include the following:
- Application services
- Data Loss Prevention
- Managing Web Security Gateways
- Security Information Event Management
“You cannot automate that process and take human beings out of the equation,” Eggebrecht said. “That’s why the big managed security service providers have not been able to get into that.”
High-Touch Customer ContactAnd rather than the standard three-tier help desk, BEW employees operate in six-person “Pods” that include two security information engineers, two information security analysts, one business analyst and one manager. Each customer company is assigned to a Pod, and members of the Pod spend time getting to know the customer’s business and industry. They then assess a customer’s risks and translate requirements into rule sets and detection capabilities within the DLP system.
BEW’s largest customer, which has about 200,000 employees, has a dedicated Pod. Other customers, depending on their size, share pods with one or more other companies. Pods will never have more than six customers assigned to them. BEW has increased its workforce from 25 to 50 members since last year, and Eggebrecht says that he expects to grow to 60 to 80 by next year.
The company’s biggest challenge: finding and hiring the right employees. BEW will go outside IT into loss prevention and law enforcement to find some of its workers, and then train them on the IT side.
Apparently, BEW Global’s strategy is working. The company’s employee turnover rate is less than 6 percent, and it has never lost a customer.
MSPmentor will keep an eye on BEW as it expands to Hong Kong and EMEA (with an Amsterdam office). Stay tuned.