Advantage reaches out to the regions

Advantage reaches out to the regions

Advantage has seen “huge” demand for its cloud-based security services throughout New Zealand.

Credit: Jeremy Perkins

Palmerston North-headquartered IT services provider Advantage is working its reach further into the country’s regions as it meets surging demand from a disrupted market.

To date, the company has been focused mostly on the central and lower North Island. However, Advantage has seen “huge” demand for its cloud-based security services throughout New Zealand.

It’s probably fortunate, then, that the company put plans in motion late last year to ramp up its presence in Auckland.

Beyond this, though, the company is focusing on expanding its footprint across the country’s regions as one of its key priorities in the coming months. 

With this drive will come more partnerships with other managed services providers (MSPs) to ensure Advantage can fully service its customers at any location.

This initiative serves a somewhat pragmatic purpose, as part of a broader effort to adapt to some of the changes in customer requirements prompted by the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“With staff working remotely, management needs to ensure they are secure and have the tools to work efficiently,” Advantage managing director Brad Pearpoint told Reseller News. “As they will be spread across regions, having a services company to manage the fleet across the country will be the top requirement moving forward.”

Brad Pearpoint (Advantage)Credit: Advantage
Brad Pearpoint (Advantage)

Founded in the mid-1980s, Advantage began its life with a focus on building hardware for the local market.  With the arrival of larger brands in the hardware space, however, the focus shifted to the hosting market, which saw the company design and build a then-state-of-the-art Tier 3 data centre to house primary and disaster recovery infrastructure for local government.  

As Advantage’s client base grew, it invested heavily in security to protect its customers’ data, a move that involved the company’s current managed security services offering.

Today, the company’s engineers are fully qualified in a toolset that allows the company to specialise in virtualisation, endpoint security, SIEM and SOC services and high-end servers and storage.

Serving up a valuable specialisation

While Advantage’s current efforts to move further into the regions represents a natural response to the needs in the market at present, the company is also continuing its efforts to stay on the front foot when it comes to its area of specialisation, cyber security — a particularly important offering in the market right now.

“We are constantly researching new technologies as they come onto the market, we need to move faster than the hackers to ensure we have the right tools to protect our customers from new age attacks,” Pearpoint said. 

“The hacking tools that are appearing on the web are at a scale never seen before and traditional firewalls and antivirus are no longer the first and last line of defence.  Smarter attackers require smarter tools,” he added. 

Although the company's overall strategy has remained the same in the wake of the coronavirus, the environments it needs to secure and protect for its clients have expanded into the remote working office.

Clearly, Advantage’s pre-existing cyber security specialisation and capabilities have positioned the company well to move with the market and meet a surging need among enterprises throughout the country as it moved to a distributed workforce model. 

Moreover, the string of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks recently thrown at various New Zealand organisations — perhaps most notably those affecting New Zealand’s stock exchange, NZX, in August — have also resulted in fresh opportunities for Pearpoint and his team.

“Since the DDoS attacks started, we have seen a drive for network and website DDoS protection and higher visibility of what is happening on the network,” Pearpoint said. 

At the same time, Pearpoint noted that funding budgets to expand customers’ security tools and putting policies and procedures in place for the country’s new Privacy Act, which is going live in December, also represent new areas of opportunity for the company.

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