The COVID-19 pandemic is redefining how businesses across the globe serve their customers. Ritesh Deokar, Country Manager for Milestone Systems India, explains to CRN India how the company has gone the extra mile to expand its tech support and Learning & Performance Program for both customers and partners to improve their operational skills.
How do you assess the current scenario and lessons learned? What’s your preparedness to handle such an unprecedented situation?
These are challenging times, but Milestone is agile and adapting to the evolving situation. Our teams operating from their homes are working harder than ever to maintain the same level of care we provide our partners and customers. During these tough times we are offering upgrade options, value-added support, and other value offers of our Milestone Care, a complete service program that offers an effective way to learn, operate and maintain our video management solutions (VMS) and take full advantage of the technology’s capabilities.
Milestone is also making every effort to facilitate seamless delivery at the sales and support levels. We are innovating in our service execution and have upscaled our online training capabilities with more instructor-led classes.
To keep stakeholders updated on our products and service capabilities during the pandemic, we’ve been holding a series of APAC webinars. Split into partner or customer enablement and technical facilitation, the discussions are centered around trends in IP video surveillance, optimum utilization of the XProtect software platform, first-level technical support, and the Milestone Care program.
Our webinar series have been very well subscribed by over 2,800 APAC participants to date. Next up will be topics on situational awareness with XProtect Maps and the pre-requisites and installation of XProtect. We are planning the second round of webinars in APAC to begin in June.
How are you safeguarding your customers’ assets/premises in order to ensure continuity of their business operations?
The Milestone VMS comes equipped with an array of security mechanisms. These make it possible to protect customer assets from both internal and external security threats, without compromising the system’s flexibility or usability.
Following the mandated lockdown, our support teams extended technical support services beyond regular business hours. They also proactively approach our customers about system health checks to ensure issues at their premises are addressed.
During this time of total lockdown, how are you ensuring 24×7 service and support to your customers?
As a global company with flexible work arrangements, Milestone has been regularly using teleconferences with video. As a result, our support team is fully equipped to work remotely, and the pandemic situation has not really disrupted our support services.
We have also updated our business continuity plan in accordance with the advisories of the governments and health authorities in each region. In India, all our business units are available 24×7, providing timely service and support to all our customers.
To help the Milestone community gain expertise, we expanded our Learning & Performance Program for our channel partners and customers by providing relevant courses, video tutorials, and best practices. This improves operational skills and performance on the job. Accessing the Milestone Learning Portal requires a My Milestone account that is created at the My Milestone Login page. Those who already have an account can log in to the Milestone Learning Portal directly.
Our support teams have also formulated a service support handbook for partners and customers. In addition, our APAC online webinars enable them to handle first-level technical issues and conduct regular system hygiene checks.
Soon we will witness business models changing: there will be far more remote workers. In such a scenario, what are the best cybersecurity practices that your customers should adopt?
Remote working demands that video management systems (VMS) must be easily deployable and adaptable to the needs of an organisation. These solutions must be secure to minimize risk of data exposure. The network design considerations for VMS play a critical role in ensuring system performance, data integrity, and threat mitigation. Our products’ design is based on the Open Web Application Security Project’s top 10 list (an industry consensus of the most critical security risks), to mitigate the most common vulnerabilities.
Milestone also releases regular product updates. Our XProtect software installation should be updated every four months to access new features and performance enhancements. These upgrades are delivered free of charge if the product remains updated and Care Plus has been engaged.
What’s your message to customers to be assured of full support today and in the days to come?
The Milestone XProtect platform enables partners to deploy effective solutions quickly and securely. The open platform is already a game changer, allowing bi-directional integration between VMS and multiple access control and video analytics solutions. It also provides endless possibilities for device integrations. Developers can add best-in-class options to customize the functionality of XProtect products using our application programming interface (API) and Software Development Kit (SDK).
We are dealing with a rapidly evolving situation, and this requires agile responses from organisations. Our open platform integrations will help businesses meet their video management needs with established third-party applications, hardware and services that work with XProtect. And as a community-centered company, Milestone is committed to connecting competent integrators and partners globally, helping them find Milestone-verified applications, hardware and services, so we can continue to support safer and smarter cities together.
Ritesh Deokar, Country Manager, Milestone Systems India