Talking to clients about cybersecurity helped the MSP differentiate itself from other MSPs.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

November 18, 2020

5 Min Read
COVID-19 pandemic

Company Name: RCS Professional Services
Company MSP 501 Rank: 369
President and CEO: Jeffrey Tebele
Headquartered: New York, New York
Primary Services:

  • Outsourced IT support

  • Project scoping, planning and implementation

  • Cybersecurity and data protection

  • Cloud computing

  • Communications solutions

  • Hardware purchasing

  • PCI compliance

Twitter: @RCSProServices

RCS Professional Services answered the call when a company’s IT manager suddenly fell ill and died from COVID-19.

It has also doubled down on its cybersecurity practice, opening up opportunities for new client acquisitions.

The MSP acts as an outsourced IT department. It responds to issues often before customers even know about them. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, it helped a client rebuild its infrastructure after its IT guy died from the virus.

And as president and CEO Jeffrey Tebele points out, the pandemic has made cybersecurity a must-have for all businesses.


RCS’ Jeffrey Tebele

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Tebele talks about his company’s increased focus on cybersecurity. He also shares how a nightmare client became a dream one.

Channel Futures: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?

Jeffrey Tebele: One thing we wish more vendors would do is allow for month-to-month agreements rather than offering only annual agreements. Offering financial flexibility and month-to-month payment plans to our clients and partners is something we have always prided ourselves on and hope to never stop doing. We appreciate when our vendors can mirror that option for us, too. That is one of the things we like about selling Microsoft. All of their agreements have opportunities for month-to-month membership plans.

The reason that we do not like to be locked into an annual agreement is not because we don’t intend to stick with a particular vendor long term. Rather, it is because of the fact that our clients’ needs and environments are constantly changing. COVID-19 in particular proved that. We always want to be able to give our clients the flexibility that they need as they scale up or down. And having our vendor agreements align with those of our clients helps us be able to do that.

CF: What was the single biggest technology or business decision that drove your company’s growth in 2019? How did it do so?

JT: Last year was the year that we really started to put an immense amount of focus into our cybersecurity practice. We did this by adding dedicated staff tasked with focusing specifically on developing and expanding our cybersecurity offerings. We also spent extraordinary amounts of time learning, researching and educating ourselves. This allowed us to pass this knowledge on to our employees, our partners and our clients on the emerging threats in the security landscape.

The 2020 MSP 501 recognizes the top managed service providers in the world. See the full list. Then check out our brand-new Hot 101.

Another way in which we accelerated our growth in 2019 through the practice of selling security was by having more regular conversations with our clients about potential vulnerabilities and becoming more proactive about helping them avoid pitfalls. This was also one way in which we began to better differentiate ourselves in the MSP space. Now, we often speak with businesses who come to us for help after experiencing …

… a breach while under the guidance of another MSP or IT company. And that has lent itself to many opportunities for new client acquisitions.

CF: If you could go back to one technological point in time, what would it be and why?

JT: It would probably be the late ’90s, when broadband, internet access and implementing corporate email systems became a requirement for every business owner. The reason for this is that this era created a lot of opportunities for us as a company and helped establish us as an MSP. Prior to that we were a hardware store and did no recurring service delivery.

That being said, this year and last year, with the rise of threats and increased opportunities around security and with so many companies being exposed, cloud security is the new must-have. In many ways, it seems like we’re here again in a similar era. With all that is going on now with cybersecurity and remote work in particular, it seems like a parallel scenario to the late ’90s. Perhaps that is one positive that will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CF: Have you ever turned a nightmare client into a dream client? Tell us how.

JT: Right when COVID-19 began, my friend from elementary school whom I hadn’t spoken to in years reached out to me and said “Jeff, my IT guy for 20 years just went to the hospital with COVID-19. Can you help us please?” I went over there that day and it was a mess. The IT guy was a single point of failure. Nothing was backed up. He had all the passwords stored in his head. Needless to say, it was an IT nightmare. I took inventory. I did everything I could to get them back up and running at least for the time being, and [planned to] speak again a few days later to try and continue the remediation process.

The next morning, I got another call from this friend. He says “Jeff, you won’t believe this, but my IT guy unfortunately died. I need you now.” So we went back in there that very same day and began to rebuild all of his infrastructure. My team was there with masks and gloves, and endless supplies of hand sanitizer, and put in hours and hours of work to get the company to where they needed to be technologically.

Fast-forward to today, several months later. Our marketing manager recently sat down with my friend to capture his feedback on how things are doing there today. Here is some of the feedback he provided to us:

“RCS got us stable servers and better workstations. Before RCS, we had six or seven servers with no information on what they did or even the passwords to get into them. And your engineer, Ralph, eliminated that. He is gold.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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