Partner Talk: Mike Follmer from Folco Communications

June 3, 2022
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Partner Mike Follmer is the founder of Folco Communications and has been introducing LiveAction solutions to his clients for years. He’s out there in the offices and on the road and sees what organizations look for in APMs and NPMs. We met up to discuss where he sees LiveAction ‘s sweet spot.  

Mike begins with a disclaimer. “I’m in sales management, so my perspective is in client satisfaction and less about the technical details,” I ask him where he sees LiveAction taking root. “Well, I’m seeing a very strong opportunity for LiveAction to replace folks currently using a legacy network management solution.”   

Follmer gave us a few reasons why. 

Competitors are Taking Their Eyes Off the Target

 NetScout – relying on brand recognition

“NetScout is an excellent solution. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with it, but it’s old-fashioned as far as its capability. It is costly, and it’s clunky. It requires a lot of probes and taps and agents, and it’s hard to set up. 

LiveAction offers the cloud-based NetFlow and the device-based packet capture product for people who need extended visibility and ties these technologies into one platform. The future is cloud-based, and LiveAction has the complete solution, but people go with NetScout anyway because they’ve heard of it. 

NetScout is a publicly-traded company. They’re massive, and they’ve got a marketing budget to put ads on the front page of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, but they haven’t made any improvements to their product. It’s been the same for years.” 

Mike compares LiveAction and NetScout to the phenomenon he sees with PaloAlto and Fortinet. “I often go into an enterprise and see Palo Alto as the firewall. Why is that? Fortinet can provide a better solution for less cost, but you know it always goes back to the saying, ‘Nobody got fired for buying, ‘fill in the blank. It could be Cisco or AT&T, and now it’s PaloAlto. Sometimes you see that too with NetScout. I guess that’s just the reality of brand recognition. 

In all my 40 years of being in business, you have come to find out that some of the most prominent enterprises -as big as they are – with all the staff that they have with all the money they have – it’s amazing how they seem to push the same products without ever improving them. 

In the case of NetScout, people are starting to realize it’s just an older, bulky product that’s the result of a bunch of acquisitions. It’s a legacy tool.” 

LiveAction is a next-generation solution.”  

Riverbed – focused on survival

 “RiverBed filed for bankruptcy just last year. They got caught asleep at the wheel. Now their customers see the writing on the wall, and many are running for the hills. A company with 2 billion dollars in debt and actively trying to reduce that by half focuses on cutting costs, not investing in product development and support.”  Riverbed is another example of a legacy provider that didn’t adapt its products to the changing times. For example, there is no use for a WAN accelerator that compresses traffic when over 90% of traffic today is encrypted and uncompressible. When SD-WAN arrived, there was no innovation made to the product line. Today, Riverbed is struggling to survive off renewals from their legacy kit while battling debt.

SolarWinds – security concerns

 “LiveAction saw a huge windfall from that security breach, and it’s still riding that wave.”  

We are all very familiar with the Russian hack of SolarWinds. Russian hackers took advantage of an unpatched, known issue. The hacker remained undetected in the system for at least six months while planning their attack. They planted a trojan horse back door into product downloads. This gave hackers could access to any SolarWinds customer running this version of the product.  

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In court, it was determined that a class-action lawsuit over the data breach could move forward due to the “reckless” behavior, of using the password “solarwinds123” for critical infrastructure like the update server. While the weak password wasn’t tied directly to the Orion breach, it does not inspire confidence in the organization’s overall security practices.   

“Trusting a company’s cybersecurity posture that cannot follow basic security principles or catch their own attacker is a big ask.” 

LiveAction Keeps Pushing Ahead 

Not Just Innovation but Smart Integrations

LiveAction builds deep integrations to expand its reach. From Cisco to Fortinet to VMware to Gigamon, LiveAction invests in creating a cohesive monitoring ecosystem that closes all telemetry gaps. 

Follmer sees a lot of value from the Gigamon integration when working with his clients. “The LiveAction partnership and integration with Gigamon is very compelling. It puts the whole package together and gives you a competitive advantage that puts you a toe ahead of anyone else out there.” 

About LiveAction

LiveAction is always innovating and striving to be the best-in-class NPM and APM solution available. 

We love to hear from partners like Mike Follmer. He keeps us on the pulse of what our customers and prospects need, and how we can continuously improve to deliver the best solution.  

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