Jolera poised to transcend anonymous IT service success

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. 

SECaaS Introduction

Maximize Appliance Utilization

At Jolera we are heavily invested in pushing our carefully chosen security appliances to their full potential. This month we worked extensively with our system engineers and Managed Services team to thoroughly review our Managed Security as a Service (SECaaS) offering.  We believe our efforts have now resulted in a service that provides unparalleled security on a budget. The focus of this service is to provide our channel partners with a cost-effective solution they can trust and improve their time in the market.

Purpose of Firewalls

Firewalls are devices that sit at the edge of every IT infrastructure, protecting it from any sort of malicious activity.  Firewalls are a necessary part of every IT infrastructure. They assure that both the network and its users are secure. The firewalls do this by ensuring that only trusted data packets are allowed to enter into the environment.

 Next Generation Firewalls

Jolera manages and supports all types of NG firewalls that are available in the market today. The latest breed of firewalls are called the Next Generation (NG) firewalls. These firewalls provide deep packet inspection at a layer 7 level in the OSI model.  Layer 7 is also known as the application layer, this is the layer at which the data that has crossed across your network (through the cables, routers and switches) to your computer and is being read by the software on your computer. However even before the data gets within your network, the NG firewall inspects the data by pretending to be a computer software/application, and tests to see if the data is safe or malicious. Only after the inspection is successfully completed does the firewall allow this data into the network it is protecting.

This inspection process could be visualized as a series of labeled cargo containers being transmitted over the network.  In the past firewalls would only look at the container labels, read the labels and pass on the boxes. The NG firewalls open the containers and examine the contents before passing it along into the network, hence the term deep packet inspection.

Utilizing the SECaaS “Human Layer”

Firewalls are always communicating how they are interacting with incoming traffic and display this information using “log files”. The log files are always being populated and can get pretty big and complicated, but they contain valuable analytical data. Logs are kept of all the different type of traffic going through the firewall – both inbound and outbound. This is the granular level at which we attach our SECaaS offering to ensure proper management of your firewall. This is also the point at which our Human Layer intervention comes into play. By constantly monitoring what the firewall is doing, based on the log files; our Network Operations Center (NOC) team technicians perform maintenance and remediation of a given IT infrastructure. This service may also be referred to as performing Live Security Event Management.

Preconfiguration vs. Live Security Event Management

Cost

An out of the box firewall comes configured with basic, default configurations which are not customized for a unique  IT infrastructure. Most firewalls come with a configuration console that can only be managed by a seasoned security expert. Obtaining such expertise and working to perfect the firewall setup configuration based on your unique IT infrastructure needs can be a challenge and costly. Jolera’s SECaaS offering provides you with Live Security Event Management on a monthly subscription base, allowing you to fill security holes as they happen – in real time.

With our Live Security Event Management, specializing in zero-day threats – clients pay per use, rather than paying a large amount upfront, and hoping that you covered all your bases.  We use analytics and statistics to determine facts, and take remediation actions – all in real time.

Consistency

Once the configuration is completed by a security expert – that is it. Another individual within the company is required to monitor and maintain the device for software and firmware upgrades, to make sure the device is online all the time, and to create new policies for new types of vulnerabilities. With Live Security Event Management you can rest assured that all of the security vulnerabilities are being monitored, maintained and patched – 24/7/365.

Everything is in real-time, protecting you against threats as they happen, keeping you one step ahead of the threats at all times. This is possible due to our 24/7/365 Network Operations Center constantly monitoring, maintaining and patching your firewall.

Dynamic

A preconfiguration is based on plans, theories and expectations – it stops at the preventative stage. Live Security Event Management adds another layer of protection as it is dynamic – it constantly evolves against the threats. Viruses constantly evolve, allowing new vulnerabilities to appear; sometimes so vast that when not acted upon in real time, no amount of planning and pre-configurations can stop them from causing serious harm. By having a team of trained security experts these vulnerabilities can be identified ahead of time, and acted upon in real-time.

You don’t see the damage an intrusion has done until somebody is unable to do their work, in a typical IT infrastructure. Usually it is somebody calling in at a help desk line saying their credentials don’t work, something very minor. But upon deeper inspection these minor events turn out to be something as critical as a cryptolocker or a ransomware, which for any organization can be disastrous.

Reseller Options

Jolera’s SECaaS is a part of our Secure-I.T. product offering. VARs and channel partners are encouraged to recommend both services as a bundle to their clients to ensure complete security. More information about our security product and service can be found on the Secure-I.T.™ products page.