CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting: Manchester April 2022
TL;DR: The two-day event was a chance for members of the CompTIA UK&I Community to meet, network, and participate in group sessions and workshops.
The community delivers thought leadership, help and advice, peer-to-peer learning and accreditation. And they support collaboration on a topics of interest to the community.
The event kicked off with one-to-one discussions in the Genius Café, followed by a networking dinner in the evening. The second day featured some great keynote speakers. And these were followed with break-out sessions appealing to vendors and MSPs alike.
The CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting
For only the second time since the pandemic, the CompTIA UK&I Business Technology Community met at a face-to-face in-person event.
The event took place at:
The Lowry Hotel in Salford, Greater Manchester, UK
On the 6th and 7th April 2022
The first day consisted of the Genius Café, with one-to-one tailored business advice sessions. And, there was the Women in Tech meeting and the networking dinner.
Then day two was: community updates, keynote speakers and breakout sessions. And there were plenty of opportunities for networking and group discussions through-out.
CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting – First Day
The opening day of the meeting was a much less formal affair, which allowed the attendees to arrive and network at their own pace.
The Genius Café offered a chance for members to book some one-to-one time with an expert to talk about a specific area of interest. The subject areas included cybersecurity, marketing, sales and financial advice.
These sessions took place in the afternoon. Furthermore, they were completely free to members. And the experts were volunteers from within the community.
Women in Tech Meeting
This meeting was exclusively open to women from the community, in order for them to build a network of their peers and to share best practice.
A chance for the attendees to meet and catch-up in relaxed settings, ahead of the full day of activities to follow.
CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting – Second Day
A full day event, which featured community news, keynote speakers, group activities and breakout sessions.
CompTIA UK Business Technology Community Updates
Then, Deborah Schildkraut took the opportunity to describe how CompTIA was evolving its communities’ network.
The communities are split by region across the globe. They’re in-person and member-led. Whereas in contrast the Technology Interest Groups (TIGs) are online and are open to anyone expressing an interest.
In addition, there are four committees that centre around specific areas of interest. These are: Managed Services, Cybersecurity, Emerging Technologies and Advancing Tech, Talent and Diversity.
In turn, the Communities, TIGs and Committees feed information into one another, and come under the umbrella of a Global Task Force.
And finally, there was a mention for Community Connect – a new system to connect CompTIA members to mentor each other, is now in its beta-testing phase and looking for volunteers.
Hannah revealed the community initiatives for 2022:
- Emerging Technologies: De-mystifying buzz words. Understanding business benefits/opportunities
- Power Skills Training: Nurture new starters and role changers in their new world of technology. Thereby helping people to become more effective in their roles
Keynote: Prepare Now for the Business of the Future
- Culture (Leadership)
One of the biggest trends for businesses in the current climate is sustainability. There’s a push for businesses to lead by example to grow, while remaining sustainable.
By going carbon free, Net Zero or paperless you’re saying to your potential partners that you care about sustainability. And some of the biggest players in business may refuse to work with you if your sustainability policy isn’t up to scratch. Ensure your homepage has a note on sustainability and promote practicing what you preach.
Three years ago, IT businesses were focused 30% on security and 70% on IT support. However today, the split is 80% on security and 20% on IT support. This shift is because of an increase in cybersecurity threats since the pandemic.
With this trend likely to continue, IT solution providers need to build appropriate, fit-for-purpose solutions that fit their client’s risk profile. Loss of data is now the primary concern for a business.
It’s important to engage in the community. As a result, when you give, you often get back.
Moreover, you get the opportunity to learn from other businesses and other industries.
By including a statement on your website about your passion for the community you serve, you’re showing that you’re a go-giving business.
It is an important fact to get our heads around, but not everyone thinks the way we do.
When we only surround ourselves with people who think like us, we create an echo chamber.
However, when we surround ourselves with people who think differently to us, we start to see how others may perceive the things we do in other ways.
In summary; learn to speak the language of others, or they’ll stop speaking to you.
It’s important to become a leader worth following.
“Leaders help others to grow. Build a fire with your team, not under them!”
Tendencies become patterns, which lead to consequences, which in turn become our reality.
To find out what kind of leader you are, compare where you are on the Support Challenge Matrix:
Following the keynote, the audience were invited to take part in an open discussion. The main three key points I took from this session were:
- To retain good staff and help them grow, don’t give them a job. Instead, give them a role with a long-term aim
- Give your best people more to do or they’ll look for a challenge elsewhere
- Encourage engagement with goals. And adopt a mission statement that everyone wants to get behind
User Group Sessions
After a short break, we split into two groups and moved to smaller rooms for the User Group discussions.
The MSP User Group Session
In the MSP User Group session, we were invited to raise topics the topics, which we would then go on to discuss.
Marketing Message – Creating the Hook
- Marketing a product niche versus a vertical niche
- Mentioning your location in your marketing
- Tailoring your language to your client base to show you understand their business needs
- Tools MSPs use could benefit their clients – building a better relationship with technology
- Business Process Optimization – could you provide this as a service too?
- With SaaS on the rise and IT Support diminishing – what is the future for MSPs?
Hybrid Working – Challenges
- Touch points for remote workers and how to develop talent/personal relationships
- What works for both your business and your staff
- Focus on outcomes and stop watching the clock
Trust and Reputation
- The aim is to get to a position where your audience ‘Knows, Likes and Trusts’ you
- Be more active in your community
- Conduct case studies and testimonials, or employ a PR agency to do this for you
If you use a third party to conduct your surveys, you will likely get a more honest response. And even if the responses are not what you’d hope for, you can act on that information to improve your service.
Inspiring the Future
After the lunch break, there were some more updates from the CompTIA UK&I Community.
Marie Cronin reported on the government funded boot-camps. These last 6 months, and are for people who are already in a role looking to upskill and get a certification.
Leanne Johnson talked about a charity called Inspiring the Future. It connects schools and colleges to volunteers looking to make a difference. These volunteers can help in a number of ways:
- Give real-life career advice
- Help break the gender stereotypes children form at primary school age
- Become a school governor
You can find out more about Inspiring the Future here.
A Market Update
He began with a market update. It’s a golden age for MSPs. Despite the pandemic being a horrible experience for human beings, it has been great opportunity for technological advancement.
74% of businesses have said they’ll move to a hybrid working environment.
However, according to Datto’s 2020 State of the Channel Ransomware Report, there has been:
- 300% increase in reported cyber crimes since Covid-19
- 130% increase in ransomware attacks
- 59% MSPs said remote work increased ransomware attacks
- 60% of small businesses who experience a cyberattack go out of business
Cyber-crime is at an all-time high. This is a 23% increase on the previous all-time high.
And in fact, cyber-crime has overtaken crime in the real world!
The cybersecurity market is growing: £156 billion spent in 2020 will become £352 billion by 2026.
Cyber resilience is the biggest opportunity for MSPs in 2022.
What is Cyber Resiliency?
Cyber resiliency is the measure of a business’ ability to prepare for, operate through and recover from a cyber-attack. It relies on the successful ability to identify, protect, detect, response and recover quickly during a cyber event.
The three pillars of cyber resiliency are:
But true cyber resiliency is a shared responsibility between the Vendor, MSP, SMB/SME and the Supply Chain.
The strategy for best practice forms a constantly evolving cycle: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Resolve.
Cybersecurity Questions That All CEOs Need to Ask
- Are my employees properly educated about cybersecurity threats?
- Does our cybersecurity strategy address business risk?
- If we were hit by a major attack, how confident are we that our business could recover quickly?
- How do you determine the appropriate budget for technology risk management?
- What types of risks are currently threatening our network/systems?
CompTIA has some useful cybersecurity resources that can help you:
- CompTIA ISAO (Information Sharing and Analysis Organisation)
- State of Cybersecurity Research
- MSP Trends in Cybersecurity
- Information Risk Assessment Guide
- The Cost of Cybersecurity Breach
- A CEO’s Guide to Addressing Cybersecurity Concerns
- Data Breach Response Planning Guide
The Golden Nugget
In conclusion, the way to find out if your cyber resilience strategy is effective or not is to roleplay a worst-case scenario.
Imagine you are suddenly locked out of your own network; how vulnerable would your business be?
Write down what steps you would take to recover.
As a result of this exercise, you should be able to identify any areas of concern you need to work on.
Afternoon Breakout Sessions
After the keynote, we once again split into two groups for the break-out sessions.
Round Table Discussions and Closing Panel
Following on from the break-out sessions, there were a few subjects for the audience to discuss.
After that, we heard the parting thoughts from the closing panel.
The closing panel was moderated by Tracy Pound, the CompTIA ‘Board of Directors’ Chair. It featured contributions from Jason Kemsley of Uptime Solutions, Warren Pountain of Onebyte and Phylip Morgan of Pax8. The panel discussed the day’s events and commented on their highlights of the day.
Finally, Hannah Lloyd brought the event to a close, with a big ‘thank you’ to the event contributors.
Did You Attend The CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting?
Did you attend the CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting? What was your highlight? We would love to hear your reactions in the comments.
If you’re interested in becoming a member of the CompTIA community, visit their website here.
You Might Also be Interested in
- The 2022 List of Awesome Events for MSPs
- Webinar: How to Get 100 Leads in the Next 90 Days
- TubbTalk 99: The Top Ways to Move Your MSP business to a Cybersecurity Focus