Six of our EMEA 501ers talk challenges they’re facing, top focuses amid “new normals” and looking ahead.

Allison Francis

April 22, 2020

8 Min Read
COVID-19 across EMEA

The impact of the pandemic is being felt everywhere, so we thought it’d be a good idea to check in with our 501ers across the pond and beyond to see how COVID-19 is impacting our partners in EMEA. 

Be counted among your peers as one of the top managed service providers in the world. Click here for the 2020 MSP 501 application.

MSPs need to be poised and prepared to help their customers weather any disaster. But, this being a rather unique one with so many different factors at play, we wanted to pull in some perspectives from different geographies.

So, we decided to solicit some commentary from a few of our 501er folks in the EMEA region, from the U.K. to South Africa. How are they navigating the pandemic and its fallout on their businesses?

Sign up for Channel Futures’ new EMEA newsletter, where we feature news and analysis involving companies based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as those doing business in that region.

Below are insights from several of our partners in EMEA: Dennis Moore, sales analyst and reporting, Netsurit, Matt Torrens, chief operating officer, Sprout IT, Marco Caselli, brand marketing manager, CYBEROO , Mit Patel, managing director at Netstar, Jessica Symondson, marketing director, Complete I.T. and Des Lekerman, CEO, TiG Data Intelligence

What are your top focuses right now?


Sprout IT’s Matt Torrens

Matt Torrens: Our initial focus was to mobilize our clients’ business continuity plans — we had huge successes here, with customers using cloud telephony and our hosted VDI and hybrid cloud solutions.

Now that customers are established in the “new normal” of remote working, it is important to review exactly how they have achieved it. Whilst speed was of the essence in the early days of the lockdown, it is imperative that the security of any remote working is reviewed. This extends to shared home computers, encryption of data in transit and at rest, antivirus, etc. 

But I believe that there should be a particular focus on the human element. When humans are stressed, under pressure and working in unfamiliar circumstances, mistakes are likely to occur. Clearly we all find ourselves in this circumstance and so I would advise the implementation of a truly intelligent security awareness, behavior and culture solution that demonstrably reduces human cyberrisk. 

We have also made our ’Sprout Academy’ product free to all U.K. law firms and barristers’ chambers for six months. Sprout Academy is a training platform which enables you to learn precisely what you need, exactly when you need it. We have very relevant sections on remote working, remote team management, mental health, stress and so on.


CYBEROO’s Marco Caselli

Marco Caselli: Right now our main focus is cybersecurity. At the moment, the only crowded squares are digital ones. In this context, we are witnessing an increasing number of cyberattacks that bring harm to data security and privacy.

We’ve seen many different types of attacks, but they seem to be mainly surrounding phishing and stolen information. 

For companies, the current increased use of remote working implies an acceleration of investments in data protection systems. For basic protection, it is obviously necessary to use antivirus, antispam, web filter, firewall. But, for more sophisticated attacks, it is necessary to have more advanced tools such as XDR and Threat Intelligence. These are tasks that we carry out with our cybersecurity division (CYBEROO s.p.a. branch of Sedoc Digital Group).

We focus on an MDR service, managed detection and response. We manage everything through our SOC 24/7 so that the customer can focus on their business without having to worry about anything else.


Complete I.T.’s Jessica Symondson

Jessica Symondson: For starters, we are ensuring that our clients can work safely, productively and collaboratively from home. We have just launched a new solution called Complete Virtual Workplace that can be set up remotely. This is for SMEs needing to move to the cloud.

We are also doing all we can to make sure that our clients can continue to stay open. That may mean remote technical consultancy, regular virtual review meetings, reducing costs for those that need it, etc.

Finally, we’re ensuring that our teams are working in a safe environment, and that their mental health is forefront. To ensure this, we are in constant contact with all team members and are setting up twice-daily ‘drop ins’. We are also doing weekly webinars and Friday virtual pubs. In addition, we’re putting on weekly virtual yoga classes and sending out…

…daily emails with tips on keeping happy and healthy. This, above all else, is our number one concern.


Netstar’s Mit Patel

Mit Patel: Our top focus right now is to ensure that our clients get the support they need during this difficult time. Our mission is ‘Helping People Succeed Through Technology’ and right now we are truly living that. We are making sure that our clients get the best service possible, and that things are as close to “business as usual” as possible.

Our second focus is ensuring we stay connected as a team. We do our daily team “huddle” and we regularly check in with each other using video conferencing tools. We also have virtual after work Friday drinks to keep up the social aspect that we love so much about our company.

Finally, we are thinking ahead and planning for our company and clients’ needs in the long term. 

Dennis Moore: Netsurit is currently focusing on building a stronger core financial foundation during this time in order to protect our number one asset; our employees. It is in our best interest to listen to our employees. With this in mind, we have created a forum in which they can discuss and address their concerns. 

The management team has always been available for employees, but during this lockdown, there are uncertainties that are hard to discuss openly. For this, we have created an anonymous portal called Have Your Say. In this portal, we invite any employee to ask questions that we then tackle in our international meetings. Netsurit maintains the importance of employee wellbeing during this time and strongly focuses all efforts on keeping our values strong.


TIG’s Des Lekerman

Des Lekerman: We are ensuring that the business is maintaining liquidity via managing debtors and cutting any discretionary expenditure.

We are also making sure that our clients are receiving top quality service, and are proactively implementing solutions to enable them to protect their businesses. We’ve had great feedback from clients saying our staff have gone over and above to help them during this difficult time.

Lastly, we are making sure that what we do is relevant, and are planning for the future. We want to come out of this stronger and able to adapt to the new normal. 

What, if any, part of any coronavirus help from the government are you finding most useful?

MP: The government’s support for small and medium-sized businesses has been great. We are lucky to be in a position that the majority of our team can continue to work remotely. For a minor few who cannot do so, we have been able to make use of the government furlough scheme. This allows us to retain these valuable members of staff.

JS: We have had to furlough some team members who are not able to work productively at present (client-facing roles) and the help from the government has been instrumental in ensuring they are still being paid 100% of their wage (we are covering the 20%).

DL: HMRC payment deferments such as VAT and PAYE have helped with cash flow. We are also incredibly grateful for our National Health Service and the people working there to protect us.

DM: The South African government has made some radical decisions in order to assist the country’s SMB sector to keep up businesses during this time. It is creating a solidarity fund which government officials have taken salary cuts to contribute to. South African billionaires area also contributing toward this fund. The fund is also open to the general public to contribute toward. Netsurit has not, at this point, had to make use of this assistance. We are truly grateful to our team and staff for having this capability during this time.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like