Alternative Solutions partners with Censornet to help protect customers’ data privacy and meet their stringent regulatory requirements

Alternative Solutions is a leading IT services company providing innovative solutions across the Channel Islands and other jurisdictions worldwide. It provides customers with a full suite of IT services, ranging from infrastructure in the cloud or on-premises, to business transformation solutions.

Almost all of its 200+ customer base is in the finance industry or provide professional services, which means that they are heavily regulated and at high risk of a cyber attack. As part of its services, Alternative Solutions provides cyber security solutions and advice to organisations especially around the Cyber Essentials certification, which is vital for the majority of Alternative Solutions’ customers.

“Our customers are highly regulated and extremely conscious of protecting the data privacy of their clients,” explained Neil Jordan, Managing Director at Alternative Solutions. “As their advisor, it is our role to ensure that they have    the best products and information so that they can achieve the certifications   they need and are assured that they are safe from cyber attacks.”

Alternative Solutions was looking to streamline their product portfolio and displace legacy solutions with one cyber security platform that has the functionality to deliver full-service cyber security across all core threat vectors for its customers and help them meet their regulatory requirements. It also wanted to find a security vendor who could help them move away from perpetual license-based products due to demand from customers for consumption-based billing.

Alternative Solutions and its customers benefit from a single platform in the cloud

Alternative Solutions had previously resold separate security products for email, web and cloud security from multiple vendors. The ideal scenario for them was a cloud product that provided integrated security across these channels for their customers. However, until Neil found Censornet he couldn’t find a platform that was sophisticated enough to fit the bill.

“Before we came across Censornet we thought our options were comprehensive, but either consisted of separate products or partially integrated solutions where the component parts were sub-standard,” said Neil. “When I saw a demo of Censornet’s combined web, email and cloud (CASB) security platform at a trade show, I felt like I had stumbled across something that didn’t exist.

“The difference between Censornet and other security offerings is that, where other vendors have shoehorned products that originated on-premises into a SaaS solution, the Censornet Platform was built from the ground up on modern cloud infrastructure. This means the solutions are tightly integrated and still individually stronger than what else is available on the market.”

Censornet’s cloud approach benefits Alternative Solutions, as it is highly flexible and is regularly and automatically updated to keep pace with evolving threats. Using one platform rather than several separate products also makes deployment easier and reduces the need for multiple training sessions. For Alternative Solutions’ customers, having one consolidated window into their security services through Censornet’s intuitive user interface has made security simpler and more accessible.

“We have seen much better user acceptance with Censornet, which is down to the usability, accessibility and sleekness of the product,” said Neil. “Overcomplication is a common pitfall in security – our customers are not security experts but they do want to know they are safe. Censornet has got the balance right – customers have visibility into their security posture through the analytics provided but the platform is practical and simple to use. It has also meant that our customers could move to a monthly billing model, which was in high demand.”

Alternative Solutions increases margins, enjoys excellent technical support, and has unexpected sales boost from CASB

Alternative Solutions has moved over one thousand users onto the Censornet platform and is phasing out legacy security point products in its portfolio. It actively sells Censornet to new customers, especially those looking to meet the Cyber Essentials certification. As a result of the transition, Alternative Solutions has seen its margins increase and has also benefited from the help of Censornet’s support team.

“The experience of working with Censornet has been great,” said Neil. “The strength of Censornet’s support team has also been a fantastic benefit to us as a partner. Nothing is ever too much trouble for them and their technical team has really strong expertise, which is extremely important in security. On the whole, Censornet provides well-priced products that our entire client base can afford and as a result, we have seen a great uptake.”

While most of Alternative Solutions’ client base favour on-premises solutions for data security and sovereignty reasons, the move to remote working due to COVID-19 has also seen an unexpected and unprecedented increase in the use of cloud services, including Microsoft Teams and Office 365. This has, in turn,  led to increased uptake of the Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) service from Censornet to implement and realise best practice cloud security advice for Alternative Solutions’ customers by providing visibility and facilitating policies to control activity in cloud applications.

“The overnight change in working practices has led to an increased interest in cloud collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams among our customer base. The shift to cloud services means that cloud security advice and solutions need to be readily available, and thankfully using Censornet we can provide that.

Censornet’s security platform goes far beyond what is provided by Microsoft, consequently, we have been able to safely transition our customers from on-premises environments to Office 365, and we have seen significant growth in CASB license sales as a result.” concluded Neil.