Enterprise-Level IT and Cybersecurity for Cost-Conscious SMBs

HPE Compute

The statistics are staggering: 60% of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) that are hacked go out of business within six months, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. The risk increased exponentially when the pandemic forced companies to send workers home. At the same time, organizations with less than 50 employees needed to equip remote workers with the same level of performance, security, and support they enjoyed at the office.

It doesn’t matter how big your company is—if an employee clicks on a malicious link and infects your servers with malware, your operations grind to a halt, and the damage can be incalculable. My idea was to take the security posture of a billion-dollar company that might spend anywhere up to 10 million dollars a year on infrastructure and sell it in small parts to small and medium businesses.

It doesn’t matter how big your company is—if an employee clicks on a malicious link the damage can be incalculable.


SMBs don’t have the same financial resources as larger companies, but they face similar IT and cybersecurity challenges, albeit on a smaller scale. But how can we best equip small and medium businesses with high-capacity, high-availability, highly secure infrastructure on a budget? And how can they protect remote workers logging into networks from home or on the road?


I asked myself these questions a few years ago, and as the co-founder of MBI Solutions in Granby, Quebec, I turned my answers into a service we could offer our clients.


MBI does more than just serve SMBs—we are an SMB. So, we researched and tested our business case on our own operations. Could we increase our security posture to enterprise levels and offer our people remote performance and support that equaled the workplace experience? And could we do it at a price point that made it accessible to other SMBs? That was the challenge, and through this process, SVEN was born.   

A Turnkey Solution with Predictable Pricing

SVEN (Solution virtuelle environment numérique, or Virtual Digital Environment Solution) is a new company I launched with MBI’s Maxim Beauregard. We market a turnkey solution that costs CAD $250 per user. It includes the rental of a Microsoft Surface laptop equipped with Microsoft 365, OneDrive, MFA (Multi factor authentication), anti-spam and anti-virus protection, continuous backups, 24/7 monitoring, a fully staffed help desk, data encryption, and robust network and cyber security.

Users connect to VDI (Virtual desktop infrastructure) at our data center through a low-latency 10-terabyte fiber connection for desktop performance anywhere in the world. In essence, our data center is a supercomputer shared by SMBs, each of which pays for a portion of the overall capacity that is typically available to much larger companies with much deeper pockets. The environment that we created helps SMBs obtain a security standard as high as international businesses such as Nasdaq, Air Canada, or Bombardier.

By partitioning resources, SMBs can access equipment that is otherwise out of their reach.

By partitioning resources, we can offer SMBs access to equipment that is otherwise out of their reach. For example, a backup server costs $65,000, which is unaffordable for companies that have less than 50 employees. When you add up the traditional cost of the services we offer to SVEN subscribers, a company with 15 employees could save up to $35,000 a year on backup, security, and tech support expenditures by using our solution instead of buying hardware and hiring in-house support personnel.

We Faced the Same Financial Challenges as Our Customers

The challenge of engineering a solution like SVEN is that—like our customers—we have limited financial resources. Building a data center with bare metal servers was far too expensive, so we looked at various VDI software vendors. Unfortunately, these solutions were also cost prohibitive, with the initial investment being a barrier to entry. Like our SMB customers, we needed infrastructure that could scale as we rolled out SVEN, and our IT partner, Insight Canada, recommended HPE GreenLake.


The HPE GreenLake platform is built on HPE ProLiant DX380 servers and offers several advantages over the competition. From a purely technical perspective, HPE GreenLake for VDI is fast, reliable, and easy to deploy. We can configure VDI workloads within minutes when we onboard a new customer or user. The HPE GreenLake solution includes ProLiant DX380 servers that deliver the performance we need along with Nutanix software to offer the best VDI solution for our situation. From a financial perspective, HPE GreenLake allows us to align our spending with our business requirements as we grow our VDI-as-a-service offering. We didn’t have millions of dollars to invest in CapEx infrastructure, but HPE GreenLake allows us to pay per user. For example, even if a server has enough storage and compute for 200 VDIs, we only pay for the users we were hosting. This allowed us to launch SVEN, despite not having unlimited capital.


It was a perfect match. With HPE GreenLake, we could use only the servers we needed so we could scale as we grew. HPE GreenLake also established our infrastructure as a managed service. Rather than having to hire people with the knowledge to set up the VDI solution that powers SVEN, MBI chose to rely on HPE GreenLake to build and manage our infrastructure while we focus on attracting and supporting new customers.

We Launched with Five Customers and an Eye on Growth

We launched SVEN in December 2022 with five customers and within a few months, grew that number to 20. That first group of users comprised long-time customers who trusted us enough to take a chance on a new service contract where we take care of everything. They don’t necessarily understand the complexity of setting up laptops, configuring VDIs, and securing every user. Still, they appreciate the ability to work from anywhere in the world or in their office with the tools they’re accustomed to using.


We currently have 50 companies using SVEN, but another 150 have signed contracts and will be coming online in March 2023, and we are aiming to sign 600 customers in the first half of the year. We’ve made it easy for companies to subscribe online and use AI (artificial intelligence) to configure their users’ VDIs and laptops.


We are currently focusing on customers that use Microsoft Office and enterprise applications that run on a typical laptop or desktop. These include automotive dealers, government long-term care facilities, doctors, lawyers, among others. We haven’t yet expanded to serve engineering and architectural firms, but we eventually plan to offer an advanced version of SVEN with more processing power. Of course, we will adjust pricing to reflect power and costs of this upgraded plan, but it will still be more affordable than purchasing dedicated graphics workstations and render farms.

HPE GreenLake and HPE ProLiant are Instrumental to our Success

SVEN streamlines infrastructure management for our customers and creates a consistent, secure experience for their users. One of the biggest benefits of VDIs is every employee has access to the same reference architecture. We provide them with identical applications, storage, security stack, and processing power because their virtual machines run on our architecture. We even provide cybersecurity training to show our customers and their users how everything works. It is a complete SMB IT solution in a box.


This product holds a lot of potential for our business. SVEN gives our customers speed, security, and support at a predictable cost. We think about IT, so they don’t have to.


HPE GreenLake allowed us to launch this new venture by offering scalable infrastructure and flexible pricing that met our technical expectations while respecting our financial limitations as a new company. We could never have done it by building and financing a data center the old-fashioned way.