CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting: June 2023 - Powerful Leadership and Industry Insights - Tubblog: The Hub for MSPs

CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting: June 2023 – Powerful Leadership and Industry Insights

CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting: June 2023 – Powerful Leadership and Industry Insights image

The CompTIA UK&I Community meeting took place on 15th June 2023 at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham.

The focus of the meeting this time was mainly on cybersecurity and lead generation. Although there were also discussions around artificial intelligence, customer retention, flexible working and empowering more girls into tech careers.

And in the evening, we celebrated the contributions of our fellow peers at the Spotlight Awards Dinner.

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CompTIA UK&I Community Updates

Estelle Johannes, Senior Director Member Communities, opened the event with a community update, which also included a run-through of the day’s itinerary.

There are presently six CompTIA Communities across the globe. North America, UK&I, Benelux, DACH, ANZ and ASEAN.

Alongside the communities, there are a number of Industry Advisory Councils and Technology Interest Groups focusing on particular areas of interest.

CompTIA currently have over 75,000 employees and have over 260,000 registered users.

MJ Shoer, Chief Community Officer, gave us a brief update on the ISAO cybersecurity community.

He said the key areas of focus in 2023 for cybersecurity were:

  • Workforce
  • Certification
  • Cybersecurity Leadership
  • Global Expansion
  • Future Gap and Furthering the Adoption of Technology
‘CompTIA Communities: Leave your logo and ego at the door!’ @estellejohannes Click to Tweet

CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting_June 2023_Blog Graphics

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Introductions from the Chair and Vice Chair of the UK & Ireland Community

Chair Hannah Lloyd of InSOC and Vice Chair Dan Scott of Connectwise introduced themselves with four questions they answered about themselves.

My why?

Hannah explained how she got into IT by accident, following graduating from university with an English degree. She joined CompTIA a year later, and contributes to the community in advocating for women and the neurodiverse.

Dan’s said he felt he needed communities like this. The shares, contributions, events and peer groups like this one are what makes this job so rewarding.

What’s your superpower?

After a late diagnosis, Hannah regards her ADHD a bit of a superpower. It allows her to look at the world a little bit differently. Plus, she has a photographic memory.

Dan’s superpower is being quite good in a crisis, as long as it’s someone else’s and not his own!

What’s the best advice your ever received?

Hannah said taking risks and avoiding regret as the best advice she’d ever received, whereas Dan’s best advice was to focus on your team first, and the pounds will take care of themselves.

What’s your favourite tech innovation?

For Hannah the technology that helped her Dad to write a book despite his blindness was her favourite tech innovation. Dan loved the original IBM PC, the computer that changed the landscape of commercial and home computing.

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Keynote: Mastering Lead Generation: Strategies to Convert Prospects

Tara-Jane Sloane, Managing Director of Telev8 Ltd, gave a fascinating insight into how telemarketing and SEO have become a match made in heaven.

Digital marketing has replaced paper advertising, but marketers still advocate a mix of strategies, because touchpoints with potential customers has increased by 300% since the introduction of social media.

Before you start making calls there’s a few things to consider in preparation.

  • Data – know the facts you need before calling
  • Brand persona – stand out on a unique emotional level
  • Script/structure – how your call should flow and what to ask
  • Soft skills to succeed – pitch, tone and pace – listen and understand
  • The right coaching approach – isolate, demonstrate, consolidate

Tara-Jane said not to be disheartened by cold calling. While it might take a long time to get through to your prospects on the phone, it’s worth it in the end.

It might take 400 calls before you successfully make a sales appointment. 80% of calls go straight to voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails are never returned.

75% of prospects were motivated to join a meeting following a cold call. So, perseverance pays off!

Finally, some of the key takeaways from this keynote were:

  • Make sure you have a ‘lead magnet’
  • Follow-up on your emails with a call
  • You’ll need to make at least 100-120 calls per day to get to speak to 4.8 people!
  • Nurture leads and always have a call to actionCompTIA UK&I Community Meeting_June 2023_Blog Graphics
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MSP Discussion – Lead Generation and Cybersecurity

For the mid-morning discussions, the attendees were split into two groups.

CompTIA MSP Vendor Discussions

One which favoured vendors, distributors and value-added resellers, which was led by Kyle Torres of Sophos, and one for managed service providers (MSPs).

18iT’s Paul Croker led an interactive discussion for the MSPs on the subjects of lead generation and cybersecurity.

Here are just some of the points that were discussed…

Lead Generation Takeaways

A decent website was seen as a necessity for lead generation.

Social networking: LinkedIn seen as the best for business-to-business (B2B) sales.

Instagram, Facebook and TikTok better for business-to-customer (B2C) sales.

Using referral partners to split costs and share success.

Holding in-person and online events to showcase your services.

Mixed success for those who have paid for data.

Paid advertising seen as too costly.

Cybersecurity Takeaways

Partnering with vendors or MSSPs to deliver better cybersecurity services.

Helpful to identify the risk positions of your clients before selling them a service or product.

60% less likely to sustain a cyber attack if you’re cyber essentials compliant.

USA is much more litigious than the UK.

CompTIA ISAO has lots of useful resources that are free to members.

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CompTIA UK&I Community Afternoon Session

Sameera Deen, Senior Specialist, Member Relations, gave us a demonstration of CompTIA’s learning portal at the start of the afternoon session.

Then Patrick Burgess of Nutbourne Ltd talked about demonstrating your cybersecurity value.

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Keynote: Demonstrating Your Cybersecurity Value

Patrick talked about moving from being a cybersecurity seller to a business risk consultant model.

And how to raise cybersecurity to the strategic C-suite level.

The right people are in the room for these conversations when they care about risk analysis, strategy and trends, and their competitive advantage in the market.

The Business Risk Consultant Model

You must understand the risk landscape and identify the key stakeholders or decision makers.

Then frame pillars into the client lifecycle, such as:

  • Business Outcome Orientation
  • Effective, Consistent & Proactive Communication
  • Workflows, Measures & Action Plans
  • Formal & Informal Education

By demonstrating cybersecurity value, you move away from a seller to a consultant.

Onboarding

To be effective, you must understand your client’s business, their culture and their risk position.

Do a risk report for your clients to help them understand what their risk position is using a colour-coded system. This is something you can build upon, going forward.

What is it you’re protecting? Do you know all of their systems and end-points?

Organise company wide security training for end users, using day-to-day examples:

  • Phishing
  • Infected Attachments
  • Using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Gamify end-user education, and ask for more help from us, as MSPs.

Risk meetings should be held frequently and consistently.

And don’t forget to market your expertise!

CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting_June 2023_Blog Graphics

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Improving Cybersecurity Resilience Panel: Strategies for a Stronger Defence

Practical advice from a panel of industry experts, from across the UK and Ireland community, which made for an engaging and informative session.

Patrick Burgess moderated the panel, which included: Hannah Lloyd of InSOC, Trevor Cornbill from Clear Insurance Management Ltd, and Chris Ward from Vermont Systems Ltd.

It was a lively discussion, but here are some of the key points raised:

Chris said a good starting point is in shoring up our own defences before offering cybersecurity to our clients.

Hannah said vendors need to be flexible and be part of the conversation which enables MSPs to become that trusted advisor their clients need them to be.

Trevor said that insurance providers are working with MSPs to ask the right questions of their clients when it comes to cover.

When it came to security frameworks, the panel agreed that they were a good idea as a baseline, but they need to be proactive in aligning their cybersecurity to meet their day-to-day requirements.

Chris added that if cybersecurity is a function that you’re not comfortable delivering yourself, you can always outsource it.

Hannah also suggested that as a community, we are in the best position to put together a best practice guide for MSPs, so that they cover the basics and know where to go next.

Finally, Trevor said it’s down to us as the trusted advisors to make sure our clients have the best advice and best cover when it comes to insurance.

MJ Shoer followed up this panel with a reminder that CompTIA ISAO provides cybersecurity research that members can co-brand for free.

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Empowering Girls in Tech: Breaking Barriers & Inspiring Success

Amanda Stewart, MD of Illuminate Technology, gave a compelling talk on the need to encourage more women into STEM careers.

She said it would be worth £2.6bn to the UK economy if we encouraged more women into the tech sector to fill the skills gap.

Women are effective communicators, and they’re much less likely to say that they can do something that they can’t.

According to statistics, only 14% of women work in IT in the UK. Whereas Bulgaria has 30%, due in part to balanced pay and a promotion of STEM careers in schools.

There’s a perception in the UK that girls don’t study for STEM careers. Only 35% of girls study STEM, compared with 80% of boys.

What Can We Do to Redress the Balance?

We certainly need to challenge the perception that tech jobs involve being stuck in basements.

We should talk more about the chance to play with shiny new technologies, better pay, fabulous peer groups and getting to travel the world.

How we can help to change perceptions and break down the barriers:

  • Create strong female role models
  • Make STEM more colourful
  • Inspire at a young age
  • Get into schools
  • Challenge the stereotypes
We need to create strong female role models and make STEM more 'colourful'. Challenge stereotypes and inspire at a young age - Amanda Stewart, Illuminate Technology Click to Tweet

CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting_June 2023_Blog Graphics

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CompTIA UK&I Community World Café Sessions

After the mid-afternoon break, the attendees were invited to take part in a series of interactive sessions based on the three topics that were voted on at the start of the day.

The three sessions were on the subject of uses of AI chatbots, flexible working and customer retention strategies.CompTIA UK&I

It was a lively session, with a lot of discussion, followed up by the closing remarks for the day.

Greg Jones of Kaseya Datto finished the event with a couple of great takeaways:

  1. “Take action around education for yourself and your customers.”
  2. “No matter if your clients are an enterprise level business or an SMB, cyber risk is the same.”

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CompTIA UK&I Community Spotlight Awards Dinner

Comedian Hal Cruttenden was the compere for the evening for the Spotlight Awards, celebrating the best in the community.

And there were some very worthy winners on the night.

The full list of winners can be found below:

Spotlight Award Winners

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CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting: In Conclusion

The community once again delivered a great event, with lots of useful insights and discussions.

The chance to network with fellow peers and reconnect with members is always time well spent.

The themes of lead generation and cybersecurity are always passionate subjects for people in the room, and it was nice to see lively discussions on both subjects.

Did you attend the CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting? If so, what was your key takeaway from the day?

Please let us know about it in the comments.

If you’re interested in becoming a CompTIA community member, visit their website here.

CompTIA UK&I Community Meeting_June 2023_Blog Graphics

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STEPHEN MCCORMICK

I'm the MSP Community Manager for Tubblog. A small business owner, technical writer and blogger, with 15 years experience in corporate IT. I frequently attend MSP peer groups and create content relevant to IT service providers and business owners.

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