Channel partners, Content, Security Program Controls/Technologies, MDR, MSSP

MSSP Alert 2022 Top 250 MSSPs Company Profile: M.A. Polce

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M.A. Polce Consulting, ranked No. 216 on MSSP Alert’s 2022 Top 250 MSSPs list, was founded 25 years ago by Mike Polce in Rome, New York.

At the time, Polce was an independent contractor who quickly built his business, which today has grown to 35 employees, 20 of whom focus fulltime on cybersecurity. He soon advanced to assisting clients with connecting their business to the internet that required setting up routers and firewalls. This work eventually led him into cybersecurity.

Becoming an MSSP

In 1999, Polce partnered with Cisco Systems, which remains his longest standing partner to date. He has seen his cybersecurity practice flourish over the years, and believes that one of his best strategic moves was scaling his managed security services practice (MSSP) and continuously tweaking the offerings to meet customer needs.

“A big strategy of ours has been, and will continue to be, placing greater emphasis on cyber initiatives and services,” he said.

As an extension of M.A. Polce's focus on managed security, the company also has a strong emphasis on managed risk and compliance. This is a significant differentiator for M.A. Polce because it shows how the company provides a comprehensive approach to security services, from risk assessment to front line threat defense.

Going All-in On MDR

In early 2022, Polce decided to make a bold move. He made managed detection and response (MDR) a requirement for all managed service clients. The decision came after extensive research on the latest advances with threat detection and the ultimate conclusion that MDR was one of the single best ways to secure client networks.

As he explained the business move:

“When it comes to cyberattacks, time is of the essence. With MDR and a 24x7 security operations center, we are notified of alerts within minutes. This is how we get in front of issues for our clients.”

We’re there any missteps along the way? Sure, but in Mike's opinion the most important part of making missteps is learning from them. A recent misstep worth noting, and one that Polce continues to learn from, is “not letting perfection get in the way of progress.”

He acknowledges that there have been times when he has taken too long to act on his instincts because of “overthinking” Overthinking, he says, leads to not moving fast enough and missing opportunities. Now mindful of this pitfall, he is making a point to take more decisive action in 2023.

In recent years, M.A. Polce opened the door to a new vertical market by bringing its services to K-12 school districts. The business now equips school districts across New York State with secure technologies and helps them navigate education-related security regulations and industry standards.

Partnership Reaps Rewards

In terms of notable alliances, Polce notes the company’s partnership with Blackpoint Cyber. Explaining the value of the partnership, Polce said:

“Blackpoint is one of the best when it comes to being a responsive service provider. They get it. They have talented analysts and a CEO who is a native upstate New Yorker. We have a lot of faith in them.”

As for key priorities in 2023, M.A. Polce will continue to grow its managed security services capabilities. This includes constantly rethinking how services should be delivered based on changing technologies, customer needs and the evolving threat landscape. As such, managed risk and compliance, as well as MDR, will take center stage this year.

Another key priority for 2023 is bringing new tools and automation to the company’s managed IT practice. The hope, says Polce, is to streamline operations for efficiencies and a better overall client experience.

In addition, the company is taking on new marketing initiatives to reach its target audience. This includes website enhancements, launching a branded podcast, creating rich content, leveraging digital communication channels and focusing on lead generation.

The efforts are designed to build awareness of M.A. Polce and the need for advanced security services that can be delivered by a highly talented team. On that note, Polce believes he is lucky to have an "unbelievable work culture" made possible by great employees...

“I truly believe our employees are the key ingredient in the company’s success. As such, this year, a top goal of his is for everyone to have more fun."

Jim Masters

Jim Masters is Managing Editor of MSSP Alert, and holds a B.A. degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. His career has spanned governmental and investigative reporting for daily newspapers in the Northwest Indiana Region and 16 years in a global internal communications role for a Fortune 500 professional services company. Additionally, he is co-owner of the Lake County Corn Dogs minor league baseball franchise, located in Crown Point, Indiana. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and recording his own music, oil painting, biking, volleyball, golf and cheering on the Corn Dogs.