Alex Shan says he sometimes thinks of Jolera Inc. as the largest Canadian IT solutions provider nobody’s ever heard of. The company’s CEO may be partially right.

The Toronto-based company has carved out a niche for itself as a white label IT service provider specializing in business-to-business partnerships with other IT providers and hardware resellers.

Jolera was founded in 2001 as a managed IT service provider. About three years ago, the company took a hard look at itself and realized that its greatest strength was providing the nuts and bolts of IT service delivery. That dovetailed with a “democratization” of cyber security threats.

“Hackers weren’t just hitting the big guys any longer,” says Shan. “Their targets were smaller and medium-sized businesses. For the first time, a dentist was getting hit with ransomware. However, they couldn’t afford enterprise grade security solutions. Instead, they relied on smaller consulting firms who might set up a firewall and do some things that might help fend off security threats. While they couldn’t afford thousands of dollars per month, many of these businesses could see their way to paying, say, $100 per month for enterprise-level security.”

Jolera’s strategy involved transitioning to a security-as-a-service model. The company would concentrate most of its efforts on developing and delivering cloud-based IT services available by subscription. Shared cost among clients would drive prices down.

While security is the central plank of the suite, Jolera also offers other services, including a global service desk, cloud-based backup and recovery, network and performance monitoring, and antivirus and anti-malware management. These products are, in turn, offered as white-label products to resellers.

“Resellers select the products they want to represent and deal with the end user, providing a human face for the technology,” says Shan. “We make it easy for them to brand the products, so they can present our service as their service.”

As part of a typical network security contract, Jolera remains largely invisible, providing reports to resellers on security interventions or unusual threats.

Among clients that include Microsoft, Dell and Lenovo, the company is currently partnering with IT security company Barracuda Networks Inc. Barracuda’s core product is a hardware platform paired with subscription based network security services.

“Our value proposition was that we would provide Barracuda with security services, allowing them to concentrate on their core business, delivering best-in-class technology,” says Shan.

Each contract offers a unique service menu. For example, Jolera works with SERCO, which operates as DriveTest, a public corporation licensed by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario to operate 55 driver examination centres in the province. The company assisted SERCO in rolling out a new digital testing platform, monitoring equipment, and securely managing digital data on hundreds of thousands of road tests, written tests, and driver’s license applications annually.

Jolera currently employs 250 people globally, primarily at its Toronto headquarters. It also fields offices across Canada, and in the U.S., U.K., Portugal and Brazil.

“However, our white label business model means that we remain anonymous when we’re doing our best work,” Shan says. “That’s a challenge. As a relatively small company, one of our struggles is that 98 per cent of our workforce is doing something technical and we need to devote more resources to promoting and establishing our brand before other channel-based IT solutions try to replicate our success. There’s a lot more global business that we want to grab.”


Original Article written by Financial Post.