First responder, IT services evangelist, and Mailprotector Partner Advisory Board member
Paul Nebb is a driven technology business leader who not only understands what it means to give back to the community but continues to find new ways to accomplish that objective. The multidimensional CEO of Marlboro, New Jersey-based Titan Technologies represents the IT industry well, from his contributions in peer groups and associations to his promotion of various public and tech-related initiatives.
I had the opportunity to talk with Paul recently about his work and philanthropic philosophies, and here are some of the highlights from that conversation:
Mailprotector: Who is Paul Nebb? Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Paul: I consider myself multi-dimensional. There are many different sides of me, and each a unique profile, from IT services business owner and EMT to pet owner. For the past 17 years (since I was 16 years old), I have been waking up in the middle of the night to take people to the hospital. I also enjoy helping as a member of the board of trustees of my synagogue.
Mailprotector: You do seem to be quite the world traveler as well.
Paul: Travel is one of my hobbies. With family in South Florida and California, I do like to spend time in those places. Of course, I also love attending channel events in different cities for the educational and networking opportunities.
Mailprotector: How did you get your start in IT?
Paul: Like most of my colleagues, I started helping out friends and family and getting calls from my grandparents and everybodyâ€™s friends for computer support. After finishing graduate school, I realized I didnâ€™t want a â€œjobâ€, but rather wanted to create a business that would allow me to continue to help others. I have always been an entrepreneur, starting with selling video games and other items on eBay during lunch in High School. Whenever there was a new X-box release, I would pay my friends to stand outside overnight, and purchase systems that I had already pre-sold.
I credit my uncle for helping to drive my entrepreneurial spirit. I admired his work ethic and wanted to follow a similar path.
Mailprotector: which aspect inspired you to start your own business?
Paul: The freedom. Even as an entrepreneur, I know that my time is not completely my own. However, I control my own schedule and can take long weekends, even if there’s a price to pay for that ability âˆ’ I’m not getting in trouble for those decisions.
Mailprotector: Tell us a little about your company.
Paul: Titan Technologies is a six-person IT services firm located in central New Jersey, though we have plans to grow our team to nine in the coming months. We primarily support CPA firms. We understand their unique challenges and the seasonality and pressures of those businesses, and the software and vendors used by those professionals. We try to take ownership of as many problems as we can for our clients, and if we cannot resolve those issues ourselves, we escalate them quickly to the appropriate vendors or other suppliers.
Mailprotector: Have you always focused on that vertical market?
Paul: For the most part. I find that CPAs, lawyers, and other professional services firms value the advanced IT support and security products that we offer. Those industries are also a sphere of influence for others. When businesses need something done, they typically ask an accountant or attorney and then make recommendations to other organizations based on their experience. We receive a fair number of referrals from those clients.
Mailprotector: You mentioned plans to expand your team by almost 50% this year. What is behind the growth?
Paul: Marketing. We are moving to a larger office since space has limited our growth, and putting myself in a less comfortable expense position is additional motivation.
Mailprotector: Letâ€™s talk security. What potential client security issues concern you and your team the most?
Paul: The unknown. The issue is really with people setting up a third-party Gmail account or a Dropbox because it’s a simple option. Unfortunately, the things we don’t see and cannot control are the biggest risks. We encourage clients not to share passwords and accounts and then perform a dark web scan and find that information in ten different places. Those become vectors into their network that we really cannot prevent unless we can implement MFA and other measures.
Mailprotector: What was the biggest challenge that your company faced during the pandemic, and how did your team respond to that challenge?
Paul: Not being together in the office created issues at first. There was a flurry of calls from clients wanting to go remote, and I would estimate that 80 to 85% already had some means of working from home thanks to VPNs and the cloud. So many of our calls were about setting up laptops or helping configure systems for their home offices? We missed having everyone in the office together.
Mailprotector: What was your biggest success over the past year?
Paul: When the pandemic began, we already had about 85% of our clients on platforms allowing them to work remotely, and the others quickly wanted the same things. That was a success. On our end, from the VoIP system to our hosted PSA, we were similarly able to work from home without any delays.
Mailprotector: Do you see many of your clients returning to their past office setups?
Paul: Some of the larger companies may consider getting rid of their buildings and have everyone work remotely because it would be a huge contribution to their bottom line. But smaller businesses have a lot to gain by being together. That’s how those companies and their teams grow. Many of our CPA clients continued to run their offices at full speed, even at the height of the pandemic.
Mailprotector: What was the most interesting thing you’ve done during the pandemic?
Paul: At the end of last year, I was invited to be in Times Square along with many other first responders. About 40 honorees and their families were there for the drop of the ball, and I was one of those chosen to be part of the Heroes of 2020 program.
Mailprotector: What other plans do you have in store for your business in 2021?
Paul: We really see this year as an opportunity to continue to grow our team. I feel there may be a recession on the horizon, and though that could have a negative effect on some clients, it re-levels the playing field in some ways. Larger companies with an onsite IT presence might look to an MSP for a cost-cutting standpoint. As an outsource provider, we can help them cut costs and grow our revenue and profits.
Mailprotector: What advice do you have for other MSPs?
Paul: I encourage everyone to join some type of IT peer group. Iâ€™m involved with Robin Robins and ASCII and regularly attend industry events. Get out there and connect with others in 2021. It was my involvement in the channel community that helped me bring my business to the next level.
Mailprotector: What does it mean to you to belong to a vendor advisory board?
Paul: It is really an honor to be appreciated for my technical as well as my business vision and to be able to contribute to making their product better for the community. The advisory board also shows Mailprotectorâ€™s dedication to MSPs, and it’s a privilege to be a member.
Nebb is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a masterâ€™s degree in Law and Terrorism and has numerous industry and community service awards. An EMT for the Morganville First Aid & Rescue Squad since 2003, he also serves as a CPR instructor and on the board of directors for several local organizations. That â€œgiving backâ€ attitude surely contributed to Nebb receiving the 2015 “Man of the Year Award” for his community service.
Paulâ€™s civic-mindedness and IT business success are just two reasons why Mailprotector asked him to join their Partner Advisory Board in 2020.