Case Study

MSP Helion Automotive Technologies Delivers Best-Of-Breed Protection

Helion Automotive Technologies

BACKGROUND

Founded in 1997 by Erik Nachbahr in his Baltimore basement, Helion Automotive Technologies has quickly grown to be America’s largest outsourced technology provider for auto dealerships. Helion brings considerable brainpower and experience to bear on all things relating to automotive technology. With over 650 dealerships and body shops under management, Helion’s staff is keenly in tune with the unique challenges faced by auto dealers, both technical and operational.

“There’s real ROI here. Before Webroot, we had a tech literally remediating viruses all day long. After implementing Webroot, we saved a whole employee’s worth of time, or 50 hours a week. We’re saving 40 hours by not remediating all day and another two hours a day not messing around with rolling out agents. So there’s an $80,000 a year savings.”

THE CHALLENGE

When Nachbahr founded Helion almost two decades ago, he was driven by two key factors: his abiding love of technology and a deep respect for the customer service ethos he learned while an employee of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. Embracing that company’s motto, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” Helion strives to bring an amiable, “un-computer-guy” service experience to the auto dealership staffs that it serves.

As an MSP, Nachbahr is also committed to applying a thoroughly disciplined approach to selecting the solutions it supports. Nachbahr recalls, “I learned that you’ve got to figure out what your core competencies are. What are those few products that you know are going to work, that you have running in your own business, and that you’ve gained a lot of expertise with? That’s what you need before you can go out and confidently say to people, ‘We know how this product works, and we know it’s going to work for you.’”

Nachbahr emphasizes, “That’s where being an industry-specific MSP is advantageous. Because then you can take it a step further and say, ‘We can tell you how this product will work in your business because we know your industry, and we’ll make it better for you specifically.’ That’s where you can bring the value add. So that’s what we started doing, and that’s how the business has grown.”

The flip side of his standardized approach, of course, is that each solution must work effectively. Helion had been using AVG as its antivirus solution for years, believing there was little to differentiate one antivirus product from another. But that belief was disrupted with the arrival of CryptoLocker ransomware. Nachbahr recalls, “With AVG, CryptoLocker just got through, flat out. It got to be like a joke – but not a funny one. We had a full-time senior level guy. All he did was mess around with CryptoLocker all day. You’re talking about a $70K-year-plus-benefits guy whose full-time job literally became only that.”

THE SOLUTION

Helion knew it needed to make a change, and quickly became intrigued by Webroot SecureAnywhere® Business Endpoint Protection and its proven ability to prevent CrytoLocker infections. “That one fact alone got our attention,” Nachbahr explains. “We thought, ‘OK. We’ll try anything at this point. You’re saying this is awesome, but that sounds a little bit far fetched.’ It was true. That was kind of mind blowing.”

Before rolling out Webroot, Helion had been averaging around one CryptoLocker infection per day. Now Helion seldom sees one infection per month, and those instances are attributable to the Webroot agent not being installed on the infected machine, according to Nachbahr. After installing Webroot on 25,000 machines, Nachbahr was stunned to see that Webroot found thousands of viruses on computers that were running another antivirus solution.

Beyond its superior protection, Nachbar was also impressed by Webroot’s MSP- centric deployment and management features. He notes, “Everything about the way the Webroot solution is structured shows that they clearly studied the challenges for MSPs, and they fixed them. The CryptoLocker protection is what made us start looking at Webroot, but I also think their practices are very MSP-friendly. Their Global Site Manager (GSM) console shows Webroot really understands the needs of MSPs.”

Centralizing an MSP’s multiple client accounts in a single web-based console, the GSM enables MSPs to quickly add or delete licenses as needed. According to Nachbahr, “You don’t have to worry about things like ‘How am I going to uninstall this? How am I going to deal with this?’ It makes it so easy knowing that all your clients are in one central location and that each client is mapped to their endpoints. The GSM is literally set up to be so simple. It’s perfect.”

As many MSPs have found, it’s important that the solutions they deploy have credibility and buy in from their technical staff. Nachbahr recalls, “AVG was frustrating for all the tech people: ‘Why are we putting this product out that doesn’t work? It’s difficult to manage.’ We looked at Kaspersky and all the tech folks said, ‘This thing is really bloated. It makes the PC slower.’ With Webroot they’re all just amazed: ‘Wow. The Webroot client is only 700K, it runs fast on the machines, they don’t get any viruses, and it all checks in centrally.’ There’s a value in having your tech be bought-in and having your staff feel like it’s a product they can be proud of.”

RESULTS

When asked to discuss how Webroot had impacted the operational efficiencies of Helion, Nachbahr immediately responded:

“There’s real ROI here. Before Webroot, we had a tech literally remediating viruses all day long. After implementing Webroot, we saved a whole employee’s worth of time, or 50 hours a week. We’re saving 40 hours by not remediating all day and another two hours a day not messing around with rolling out agents. So there’s an $80,000 a year savings.”

He went on to note that Webroot was actually more expensive than AVG. As with most MSPs, Helion’s antivirus revenue comes from a fixed fee that’s charged per seat. The increased cost of Webroot would have reduced Helion’s net revenue unless it helped Helion decrease antivirus-related expenses. “Webroot has done that big time,” said Nachbahr. “I’d say we’ve had a 95 percent decrease in virus- related tickets. Their stuff just works. There’s no aggravation.”

Beyond the clear financial advantages of deploying Webroot, Nachbahr cites the greater customer satisfaction that comes from effective protection: “There’s also the intangible benefit of clients not getting CryptoLocker every couple days and other viruses too. Every time your clients get CryptoLocker, they think you’re an idiot. You’ve got to explain yourself to them. Then if you don’t have all the files in the backup, plus the things they lost that day... it can be miserable. A single infection can be really damaging to your credibility and the confidence your clients have in you.”

Every MSP obviously wants to provide maximum protection for its clients, but that protection must not come at the expense of time-consuming administration and management tasks that drag down efficiency. Underscoring this point, Nachbahr concludes by citing Webroot’s exceptional usability:

“From a management standpoint, it’s so user-friendly and simple. We get a new client, load them up in the GSM console, and they get a license key. We plug everything into our Kaseya script and it gets pushed out via policy to all our endpoints. Bingo! All our clients are on Webroot. It’s that easy.”