B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 2 years ago

The Future of Visionary Leadership & Small Businesses

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

One definition of a visionary leader is someone who has...  

“... a compelling vision for their business. They can see beyond the ambiguity and challenges of today to an empowering picture of tomorrow.” 

Visionary leadership is a concept Steve Meek, founder and CEO of the Fulcrum Group, puts a great amount of value into.  

Steve sits down with us to discuss how he implements visionary leadership and what that means for small businesses and the future of technology. In this episode, we cover security threats, IT industry trends, and more. 

Follow Steve Meek on LinkedIn.

That's been so important to us just tostay aware of their economies. They have breast of things that are going onand and try and keep up with th. You know the rapid pace of H, business andlife and tools and and so forth. I in our industry, you're listening to Bto, be tectopedwith ingro micro. The police will learn about new technology and technologicaladvances before they become mainstream. This pied Gast disponsored by dealingtechnology, make your home smarter, safer and truly seemless. Let's getinto it, welcome to be to be tectop with anger,micro, I'm your host carry Robert and our guests. Today is the founder andCEO of the Falkram Group, Steve Meek, Steve as a twenty plus year technologyveteran and has served as the VP level or higher in his past three roles andhas earned multiple technical certifications. He founded the folkrumgroup in two thousand and two: a Fortworth Texas, based managed serviceprovider and managed security service provider where he uses his degree inbusiness to focus on company vision, the quient experience and theirmanagement framework welcome Steve. Thank you for being here today. Well,thank so much care appreciate it. So today we are talking about the roletechnology plays and small businesses and how it has evolved over time, butbefore we start withthat, I want to talk about something that you wroteSteve. You said that early in your career, you got frustrated with theanswer. It depends which led you to starting your company. Can you talkabout what that answer was referring to and why you set out to change it sure?So, at the time I was managing some technical people and I it was before Ihad turned to the dark side and become more technical, myself, so being anoperations manager at the time, I'd asked about the best way to proceed onbelieve it was a network upgrade and h.

You know this is back in the novel days,but I'd ask a very pointed question and I got it the pends answer, and that wasit. I was just kindo talking as a manager. I'm thinking you know I I Idon't need to know the technical details, but I just need to know theimplication. If I go left what happens? You know w what are the cost? What arethe benefits? You know what what happened or if I go right. You know thesame thing and I just felt like I was really held hostage by the answer if itdepends and they'll follow up information, and so out of that, I justand even that's th the source behind the fulkan group name, there's a lot ofdifferent ways that you can develop, implement, deploy what you select fortechnology, but where the value comes, is how people go about that implemenimplementation, how they, how they choose to do things, and so that thatjust kindof became one of those lifelong lessons for me and my careerin technology that that don't leave the other party hanging be very clear aboutthe implications of doing one thing or the implication of doing. You know theopposite, because there's pactially different possibilities and the wholepoint is to arm the the person, the casual listener and, what's the bestway to proceed. Yeah, I mean that's something I think we all need, and Ilove that you brought that to our attention and when you think about youknow the last twenty even ten years, can you tell us how technology haschanged for small businesses? In your opinion, I think one of the biggestchanges that even the the smallest organization can appear to be anextremely large organization. You know we've got smaller. Firms have access tomuch better told than a long time ago, used to every small organization wouldhave to make a lot of investments and servers and equipment infrastructure,and it took it took a long time. Originally, the fulking group was justme because I was tryo trying to hide...

...the fact or, as the one mans show,trying to service these organizations. So I was the group wh when the companyfirst started, but now companies don't have to go through such links to dothat with h cloud based technologies and share to everything. It's easy fora single organization in this GIG economy to appear like they're, a muchlarger organization or at least provide an extremely quality client experience.Without a significant investment than in their business, just to get goingand as most businesses know, security is an important issue and it's agrowing topic of concern- and you know we hear all the time about big firnsgetting breached, but it can happen to small businesses as well. Can you speakto this and give maybe some suggestions on how a spall business can have bettersecurity? Sure there's a lot of different toll sets out there that canhelp the organization. Some of them are generic H, like the the governmententity, the the National Institute Standards and Technologies They'reassociated with the Department of Commerce, but they were created byfederal, executive order to kind of help organizations protect criticalinfrastructure, but the great thing is they're generally applicable to allorganization. So then, Tiss Sivrar security, frameworker, sometimes calledin CSF. It associated with five different pillars: identify protect,detect, um or respond and recover, but out of those five pillars, you'reprovided kind of different strategies and and how to protect yourorganization and Soan to protect phase. When I first tarted go when I first gotstarted in technology was all about firewalls and antivirus, and so in theprotecte phase. You have firewalls and antivirus, but around that now, there's more effort and energy puttowards things like in the identify phase, focussing on things like riskassessments, h vulnerability, scans or in the detect phase. Things like havinga SIM device, a network device that...

...collects logs from all your equipmentso that you're able to instantly report on things. But you know wor working allfive tellors of the Ness C S F. An organization is better able betterequipped to protect themselves and H, even within specific industries,there's other tool that that help within H, if an organization's bound byH, hippa compliance, the organization that Runhipa actually came out with ascale down version held hick up HICP but basically they've scaled down,sibar security into a smaller number of areas. Like a cookbook to help you workthrough and just pick up the things that you'd like to do first or that youfind ease and just keep working your way down, there's a anotherorganization. Tha a center for Internet security also has what they call theirCS: Twenty, the most common twenty most common threats and which ones have thehighest impact. And basically, I think there, as an n estimate that if youwork the first five, it eliminates something like fifty eight percent ofrisk for a small business. So so for a small business. Just trying to F figureout where to start is very difficult, and you know the guidelines provided bythese organizations kind of Hele to get there a little bit quicker or a littlebit easier. And when you say small business, I mean, when should abusiness be thinking about this type of security when they're a business of oneor twenty or five hundred? What are your thoughts on that? I think thatthere's threats to every organization, if you're, if you're a small businessand you only have two clients and one of those clients gets breached becauseof you, then all of a sudden you've lost all of your business and h. Youknow if you think about the the target threat or the the target briefs. Ithappened recently. That was all that organization was compromised throughtheir HBA C vendor and mist recently came out with guidance targeting thirdparties as a threat. So if you're a small company trying to grow, I thinkyou have to have some sense of security...

...from day one. I'm not saying you spendthe bulk of your budget on security, but I think you can take a basic levelof security just with how you do credentials, and you know how you keepup with permissions and how you enable and disable users. You know, there's alot of low cost things that you can do that are more process orndid. That canhelp you protect yourself, which in turn helps protect your clients fromthreats against you in in our own world, O guess in Twenty Seventeen Sert, anorganisation associat with the government, came out and warned us thatthe Chinese are actively targeting MSPs. So the past couple of years, the Fulrangroup has taken a lot of extra measures to to help make sure that we've gotadditional security levels in PLAC. You know reviewing our information and andjust making sure that, in addition to all the the great things that we do forour clients that we're following the same strategies for ourselves thatwe're conducting riskof sesones doing vulnerability scans, that we've gotmonitoring in place. Twenty four seven to kind of help us know if somebody istrying to get into the network or attacking the network t's atscaverything. You know, five hundred of to five hundred organizations have beenbreached. So if they've got all this budget resources in time and expertsand they're still getting breached, then you know small organizations likemyself and others need to make sure that they're paying at least a littlebit of effort towards t protecting themselves yeah. I know for me the more I learnabout it. You know there's just so much out there. We had another guest on thisshow that even talked about you know things within your office. You know thefront desk person how that can be a security issue. You know if they giveout information over the Phole, and so I think the more we talk about this.You know just the the more we become aware and the more we need people likeyourselve to help us stay educated and have the right tools as well yeah, Ithink, for a small business owner if...

...they, if they want an idea of how easyit is to reach an organization or or to get access to information in one of thethings I would recommend is h, there's a SSIBER security expert. You know hewas a former black cat hacker. If he will hat Kevin, Mitnick had written acouple of books, but in a reading ghost in the wires, which is kind of it,talks a little bit about his life and in more detail about what happened. Youknow back when he was the world's most wanted hacker, but it just gives you asense of. U Know He really wasn't trying to attack or get he wasn'ttrying to make money off of being a hacker, but just his ability tointeract with people socially. He was able to bypast some of the the bestsecurity tools and best security practices and compromise federalorganization and large companies, and it was just a well h if you think aboutit. What I came away from the book after reading it was just that withtime and the right people on the other end of the phone, you can get access topretty much anything, and I've tried to use some of the lessons from this inour in our own organization to protect ourselves against a social engineeringefforts beyond what comes Invia, email or or other technical systems. Yeah,that's definitely a book. I will be checking out because I think you'reright, just the better we're educated, the more we know, the better. We cankind of protect ourselves from all of thit, hey everyone. We hope Youareenjoying this episode of Bto B Tac Talk with Ingram migro. Let's pause for amoment to recognize our sponsor dealing systems are network speeds fowling, youdown or security rest top of mind talk with dealing systems, leverage, t award,winning produt and deployd networks that are second to none with D link,wireless surveillance and switching solutions, contact Ashley Rugerio atIngram Micro. Today, that's Ashley,...

...ashlb Y Donugerio, Oru, gger io atIngra micro com. Also, before we jumpd street back to today's episode. We wantto share with you another resource you're going to want to check out. Didyou know that you could start your guiden journey through partner tracktoday? It' be tool that eliminates uncertainty in the IT channel. You canaccess meaningful content yet trained on nuwtack and Hatten networking eventsall while getting rewarded register now at Ingram micro partner track dotcom Arlet's get back to the show. I want to move forward. Just a little bit because,besides technology, there are some other important things that youvesuggested a business should do to keep evolving and you're a huge fan ofstructure and process and an organization which a structure andprocess look like for you. Well for the for the folkrim group. We it might my degree's in business and h.So I thought I knew a lot thut as h. You know when you, when you firstchallenge yourself with starting a business. You you realize how welefullyunderprepared things like schools and programs can actually get you ready forbeing an notfernoer and one of the things that we became associated withVern Harnish wrote a book called mastering the Rocketfeller Habits and Ithink he he released an update to it called scaling up w, which I also read,but he goes threrge and just talks about how to run a small business andwhat he did. He h. He got a lot of his experience from being associated with awith a small business development center and he noticesome commonalitiesbetween those organizations. You know, organizations that are growing strugglewith some different areas, and you know he talked about people and strategy,and cash and execution is kind of the the four key areas we also...

...created similar like we talked aboutwith toper security that it helps o Kindof have things to start with. Hebasically create a whole bunch of tactics, and I I love reading businessbooks. I prefer history, but I I do enjoy business books, and you know someof the great things that I took away from his book as opposed to some of theothers out there. As I came away with instant tactics that I could deploy inwhatever order, I preferred, and that would help me start managing ourorganization better. So first it started off with something simple as hmorning: Huddles, you know, stand up puddles that are Ou ncyfically socialedwith agil, but h. You know, evolved into quarterly themes and all kinds of other tactics within ourorganization, including annual planning, and it basically took us five years.But after five years now you know vast majority of the things recommendedwithin scaming up. We started deploying within our own organization, includingthings like something as simple as start: stop keep exercises once a yearwe pol our team and honestly and say hey what what things would you like isto start doing? What would you like us to stop doing, and what would you likeus to keep doing, and you know through that simple exercise? It gives us awhole bunch of ideas from the front lines n. You know how we can dehassletheir lives and make things easier, and you know I think, t it helps our teammembers buy ind our organization, because if they make a suggestion thatwe actually take on, then it feels like you're you're part of the managementprocess, and that's always one of the most important things with engagementis feeling like you're you're part of the process and that people take youradvice as a as an employee. I love that and along those same lines,you know great leadership is crucial to a successful company and you like tocall it specifically visionary leadership. Can you kind of expand onthis and you know what does it mean and how can small business leaders promoteforward thinking in their organization?...

Well, for for me, I guess, being atwenty year veteran an I t, you know I catch myself sayingthoroughly regularly. Oh, you can do that now, just because it seems likeyou know, the industry and technology changes so rapidly. You K O every threeyears, my business partner. I comment it feels like we're running a differentbusiness or focing on different outcomes for our clients to to keepadding valued and I think for provisionary leadership. It's it's easyto believe your own stuff. You know early in our existence. I think there'sOthir, like twelve cognitive biases and you know I definitely felt victim tothe confirmation, biased that whatever I believe to be true, I would try andimplement that because the fact seemed to support it, but you know I was maybenot being honest with myself. You know it's just a a natural thing thathappens to leaders, it's easy to follow victim to your own beliefs and so forus. You know we've had o surround ourselves with experts. You know, we'vegot an experter, you know HR and legal and accounting and tax and selling andand management in general. But you know people we can bounce ideas off of andseek out Er own biggest critics on how to do things to to try and make surethat we're making thed decisions in our own best interest. As you ere sayingyou are part of the Trustex community, which is part of something that Ingermicro does. Is there something that you feel you e really gotten out of it inthe last couple of years as being a part of it, something that you're justso grateful to be a part of it? I think there's a a lot of things. Youknow, tha the the relationship with ingrer Microo, the trustexs alliant Tit's kind of a it's kind of a three legged relationship between partners.So you know I've got a relationship with other partners that are like me,and you know I love Agraam and they've been a big part of our business, and sothat's one of the legs. But out of the partners, I've got kindof thatuntainted truth speaking peer. That...

...will tell me like it is so you know Ilove everything that Ingram does, but it means so much more when anotherpartner says yes Ingram and here's why you know we've had this greatexperience. It's just that UH confirmation that you know, if not justsomebody trying to promote something that you know th, they really s, standup for what they're doing. They really offer this service, and it's justbeeextremely helpful for steering me through the you know the vast majorityof technologies and tools and products and solutions and andvendors. Now youknow, through this whole interview and for people that know you have readabout you. You obviously are very passionate about what you do. You areconstantly learning trying to grow when you look at technology as a whole,where do you see it going within the next year Butin the next year? I think security is going to continueto to drive a lot of a lot of our activity, just trying to protect thatdata that we have trying to protect our clients from having things happen tothem through our relationship, one of the form of directors, security for forthe government said something like it's not a matter of. It's not wher theyreyou're going to get breeched anymore, it's more of a matter of when so. Ithink we always have to keep an eye to the h, the security areas, and you knowhow to how to limit the you know. The plan of exposure to youknow to all the threats that are out there, and if people want to get intouch with you personally or with your company, where can they find out moreabout you or your business? Be a social media or a website? So I'm prettyactive on Lincoln some of the research and readings that I've had were aroundsocial median. So my understanding is that the top three things associatedwith bt B commerce is h. h, the top the social medias are going to be linkan.Twitter, O and utube, so within our...

...organization, we're trying to stayactive on those in those three areas and UH. If you look up for me in Linon, youshould be able to find me and my nickname is a doctor around ourorganization, so look for Steve Making the doctor and you should be able totrack me down perfeell. This has been wonderful. Thank you so much steeve forbeing here. Well, thank you for having me carry outlike I said I am very passionate. I still love what I do and feels great toget up and feel like I'm, making a difference in company's' lives andhelping helping our associates grow personally, and I just absolutely loveit still. If you like this episode or have a question, join the discussion ontwitter at Angran Texsol with the Hash Tag, a bee to be TEC tolk. Thank you,fer tuning in and subscribing to be to be Tek talk with anger. Micro you've been listening to Beto, betactop with anger, micro posted by cerry Roberts and sponsored by peelingtechnology. Betobetetok is a joint production. My sweetish media and anglemigro anger. My Gro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan tonot miss an episode ubscribe today in your favorit potcast platform,.

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