Cincinnati’s LEAD Tribune Media Group recently released its list of the 10 IT Tech Firms to Watch in 2017. This year’s list includes 6 new firms, including E-Technologies Group, Encore Technologies, Expedient Technology Solutions, Immedion, Roundtower Technologies and Zimcom. Returning from last year’s list are C-Forward, Global Business Solutions, Intrust IT and Orchestrate Technologies.
This year’s 2017 spotlight focused on NEXT-GEN technology. (See the 2016 article here.) Each tech firm gave us a snippet of what’s NEXT-GEN in their world. Learn about what’s NEXT-GEN in our world as featured within the article on page 2 here.
ATC is proud to be sponsoring this year’s “10 IT Tech Firms to Watch in 2017.” This year’s list represents a diverse range of companies offering unique platforms and services to help local and national businesses create differentiation and succeed in today’s rapidly changing technology landscape.
WHAT’S NEXT-GEN IN THEIR WORLD?
C-Forward Information Technologies
Brent Cooper, President and Owner
Due to the increasing rise of cyberattacks, C-Forward is looking ahead to NEXT-GEN products and services designed to help businesses better protect themselves. Security solutions that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to provide real-time evaluation of applications and automatically quarantine malicious code are in the works. The potential for this kind of advancement will be a giant leap forward for cyber security.
“Cyberattacks have reached epidemic proportions,” says Brent Cooper. “At C-Forward, we take a multi-pronged approach because, unfortunately, there is no single solution. The big NEXT-GEN for us – which doesn’t sound very flashy but will make a big difference and help a lot of people – is anti-spam filtering technology. That’s an exciting development for us. New anti-spam solutions that automatically convert attachments to PDFs or monitor attachments in a sandbox area to confirm they are safe before sending are on the horizon, as are a variety of new firewalls that can provide cached web browsing and enhanced security services.”
New disaster recovery solutions that enable real-time testing and quick restores for the mobile workforce are also exciting developments, Cooper adds. New mobile solutions that automatically configure new devices, provide security updates, and enhance the mobile experience are right around the corner.
Steve Veldhuis, CEO and Co-Founder
At E-Technologies Group, the IT division partners with clients to provide managed IT services and expertise wrapped around networking, storage, security, and collaboration solutions. By using innovative, NEXT-GEN technologies such as cloud-based computing, big data (the Internet of Things – IoT), and augmented reality (AR), E-Tech offers clients real-time “usable” data giving them a unique, competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Solutions and practices forged in manufacturing systems integration – where downtime can be measured in real dollars on a quarterly report – is what has fundamentally differentiated E-Tech from its competitors. E-Tech’s sensitivity to outages, downtime and losses creates an authentic focus on results, and ensures benefits in the form of bulletproof and mature client-focused solutions.
“With technology moving so very quickly, we’re always looking three years out,” says Steve Veldhuis. “We’re a systems integrator, pulling all these current and NEXT-GEN technologies together, putting them in a usable format for all our customers.”
E-Tech delivers solutions to the commercial, government, and manufacturing industries with stringent, measurable, up-time demands, while providing full U.S.-based support of installations, and detailed technology path planning for the future.
Jay Vollmer, General Manager
NEXT-GEN data center providers continue to refine strategies to improve the efficiency of network, server and storage resources. For many Encore customers, NEXT-GEN truly is their first step into a cloud strategy where they are replacing discrete assets with virtualized assets, allowing for optimization of resources while automating much of traditional IT.
For larger organizations, NEXT-GEN data centers like Encore are looking to provide dynamic orchestration and optimization across multiple cloud environments (public and private) to continuously balance the consumer’s business, technical and financial requirements.
“Encore Technologies is a data center-centric provider of IT solutions for the enterprise, healthcare and SMB markets,’” says Jay Vollmer. “The offerings we provide are cloud services, managed services, professional services, staffing and value-added reselling.”
“The foundation for our managed and cloud services is our robust, enterprise-class cloud data center, which opened in mid-2016,” adds John Burns. “The data centers we’ve built offer improved efficiency, which significantly reduces our customers’ operational costs.”
Providers are leveraging Software Defined Networking and Platform As A Service offerings to make it easy for an enterprise customer to push out specific services with little to no interaction or required customization within the data center. Collectively, Encore’s strategies provide continuous improvements in IT efficiencies that are trans-parent to the customer, allowing enterprises to focus on their core businesses.
Expedient Technology Solutions (ETS)
Marcus Thompson, CEO
Security concerns are increasingly an issue for small and medium-size businesses. They typically have fewer re-sources available to monitor and combat cyber threats, which makes them easy targets for hackers and other opportunists. Many of these also are required to comply with regulations – such as PCI or HIPAA – and don’t know how to get started. For clients of Expedient Technology Solutions (ETS), optimization of cloud strategies provides opportunities to manage, share and control their data.
As compliance drives adoption of NEXT-GEN security tools for SMBs, Expedient’s powerful collaboration of managed and controlled services help clients become NEXT-GEN by assisting with daily operations while keeping all team members and mobile users functional and effective during their day. ETS provides a broad range of expertise to design, deploy and manage clients’ networks and critical business systems with “Stress Free IT,” delivering vital technical support.
“It comes down to how responsive we are, how easy we are to do business with because of the knowledge we bring to the table,” says Marcus Thompson. “We bring the enterprise level – NEXT-GEN cloud services – to smaller businesses at a price they can afford. We give mobile users the tools to make sure they and their data can work remotely, and securely, from anywhere at any time. ETS offers that special set of tools to make sure they and their data are properly protected.”
Global Business Solutions (GBS)
Gaby Batshoun, President
Global Business Solutions (GBS) is a one-stop shop, paving a path to the cloud by working unassisted or with a client’s internal IT staff to calculate storage, compute and bandwidth requirements. But security is GBS’ primary focus, offering an array of services that include multi-factor authentication, encryption solutions, auditing practices and data retention policies. There’s no cookie-cutter data integrity – GBS personalizes every solution provided. That’s the GBS path to the cloud now and NEXT-GEN, working with people and for people to bring passion and excellence to clients’ businesses.
Instead of juggling multiple technology providers, GBS makes sure clients end up with one complete solution. Additionally, by taking advantage of the shift toward the cloud, GBS helps customers realize a more efficient use of resources per dollar spent.
“We understand not only cloud security and IT, but also telephony, audio-video, and physical security. We understand the integration between all the technologies,” says Gaby Batshoun. “Where most companies specialize in one area, we have expertise in many different areas and we know how to integrate all these technologies into one to give our clients a complete package that satisfies their technology and business needs.”
Chris Stuttler, Senior Director of Operations
As cloud adoption continues to grow, enterprise-class organizations are seeking NEXT-GEN cloud solutions that are easy to use, yet secure, flexible and performance-guaranteed. Recognizing the need for more control and easier cloud infrastructure management, Immedion’s cloud allows administrators to provide business unit segregation and management, security control and a re-source-usage module from a single interface. NEXT-GEN cloud solutions must also allow for virtual machines and applications to be seamlessly migrated, without the need to rebuild or modify the current running configurations. Greater efficiency in resource management, seamless migrations, and performance guarantees mean IT departments can focus on adding business value rather than managing their cloud infrastructure.
“We’re a lot more than just a typical cloud provider. We offer in-depth support and guidance for our customers. We blend on-site, hands-on support with a full MSP practice surrounding our cloud offering,” says Chris Stuttler. “We’re that trusted IT vendor organizations need to manage the entire process to get them to the cloud and then manage those systems that remain on-site, and manage the customer base so they have access and can function within the cloud applications. We have many customers for whom we manage a blend of services both on-site and in the cloud.”
Additionally, enterprise organizations look to the cloud for simplified disaster recovery solutions to meet compliance requirements with no additional overhead. The Immedion Recovery Cloud provides industry-leading recovery point and recovery time objectives from a simplified, fully managed disaster recovery suite. Cloud-based DR makes failover testing easy so customers can rest easy knowing their DR solution will work when they need it most.
Tim Rettig, President and CEO
NEXT-GEN cyber security solutions for small and medium-sized businesses should be simple, effective and affordable, while keeping businesses safe and productive, says Tim Rettig. Traditional signature-based anti-virus and anti-malware doesn’t cut it anymore, but companies have had to rely on these narrow products because there hasn’t been a proven replacement. Until now.
“What we’ve been trying to do is figure out a simple way small businesses can protect themselves from ransom ware and other security breaches happening in the world these days, considering how fast cybercrime is accelerating,” Rettig says. “We’ve put together a protection package that comes with a cyber security guarantee. If you’re system is compromised, we guarantee we can get it re-solved. It’s significant because the protection isn’t signature-based but behavioral-based. We’re watching every computer to identify any rogue behavior and stop it. It’s very much NEXT-GEN, very new to the market.”
The protection package is very affordable for companies of all sizes and features a $1 million cyber ransomware guarantee. “Our turn-key solution features multiple layers of protection and recovery that are fully managed by Intrust. This isn’t a single silver bullet, but multiple layers of proven protection to protect our client’s valuable data. Those layers are what we wrap our guarantee around,” Rettig says. “Business owners want to be able to sleep easy knowing someone is watching their back 24 hours a day.”
Jonathon Bristow, Co-Founder
The landscape of IT technology is a fast-moving and ever-changing target. Keeping ahead of the curve and focusing on NEXT-GEN security for Orchestrate Technology’s clients is the company’s highest priority. As technology advances, the threat that malware, ransomware and other viruses impose on business continues to proliferate. To combat these attacks, Orchestrate has taken integration and investigation to the next level.
Orchestrate now offers additional endpoint protection that increases productivity by preventing ransomware encryption of all files, protected and corrupted, and reverses files back to their original state. Its Sophos Cloud solution – combining best-in-class endpoint protection with firewall integrations – offers NEXT-GEN coverage for a secure IT environment.
Orchestrate’s mission is to level the technology playing field for small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits so they can compete at a higher level. But its NEXT-GEN focus also emphasizes a grassroots appeal.
“The key to our company is giving back to our community,” says Jonathon Bristow. “Ten percent of our gross profits are donated to the community, and we donate $500 to the causes our employees are passionate about. We also encourage our employees to donate their time volunteering throughout the community during work time.”
Orchestrate is part of a growing community of more than 2,000 Certified B Corps from 42 countries in more than 120 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business by using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
Andrew Gallimore, Practice Manager for ServiceNow
In the heightened age of security breaches of various size and forms, security operations are at the peak of every company’s mind. RoundTower leverages its experience in security and its partnership with ServiceNow to offer a NEXT-GEN enterprise platform for not just customer service management (CSM), but also security operations management, service mapping and orchestration. ServiceNow is best known as a premier IT service management application. However, now with RoundTower, it serves as a NEXT-GEN business transformation tool through these new capabilities.
“It’s the only platform that gives a holistic approach, an end-to-end enterprise view, making security actionable by bringing visibility to a breach. Companies quickly get out of panic mode and into action plans and task management, which can tie into the company CMDB and business service mapping,” says Andrew Gallimore. “The platform is so exciting that I actually changed my career path for it, so it’s a pretty powerful tool.”
ServiceNow offers an automated capability to map business services, helping companies move away from tribal knowledge management and into an age of real-time network views. These capabilities combined with Round-Tower’s integrated portfolio of solutions tie into key cloud platforms like VMware, AWS and Azure for orchestration and automation of environments.
Steve Searles, CTO
Multi-cloud operations and SD-WAN technologies should be top of mind for CIOs and CTOs moving forward, says Steve Searles. These NEXT-GEN technologies can provide a more resilient environment for their users, thereby enhancing a company’s ability to execute even the most complex business continuity and disaster recovery plans. With software-defined “everything” now playing such a large role in purchase decisions, the future is promising for continued innovation and holds substantial rewards for those willing to embrace these emerging technologies.
Zimcom, founded in 1999, is one of the Midwest’s premier providers of internet and hosting solutions, concentrating primarily on data protection and availability. With data centers in both Cincinnati and Dallas, Zimcom has a proven record of delivering unique yet affordable BCP/DR service offerings for their clients, including near real-time replication between the two facilities.
“SD-WAN aims to reduce the burden on companies’ telecommunications budgets by making use of multiple lower-cost internet-style circuits,” says Searles. “There’s a problem to be solved when it comes to connectivity from the medium office to the data center that’s economical, reliable and fast. You can choose two of those things in today’s world. You can have an economical connection but it’s not going to be reliable or fast. You can have a reliable connection that’s fast, but it’s not going to be economical. SD-WAN hopes to address all three of those, getting all three under one roof.”