21st Century IT: Staying Strong in the Storm: Advice From Cetrom CEO Christopher Stark

Staying Strong in the Storm: Advice From Cetrom CEO Christopher Stark

By: Alison Diana, Editor in Chief, 21st Century IT When selecting a service provider, VARs and SMBs should dig deep into the technologies, histories, and datacenters in place at their prospective partners’ locations. That is some of the advice from Christopher Stark, founder and CEO of Cetrom Information Technology, whose services were unaffected in the June storms that damaged many other provider networks and wreaked havoc on some large organizations’ operations. Cetrom, which was founded in 2001 as an application service provider (ASP), evolved into a cloud-computing provider with a focus on uptime and availability. He told me: From the ground up, the commitment of redundancy, security, and disaster recovery was part of the vision from day one. In the hosting business, minutes are forever. Seconds are forever. If a client is experiencing pain, that’s lost time, money, and ultimately could affect our relationship with our client. It’s the value and our guarantee, and [in] our 11 years and several months of being in business, knock on wood, we’ve never been down. To protect uptime, Cetrom operates datacenters on the east and west coasts, as well as in the center of the United States. The company invests heavily and frequently in availability technologies and readily admits Cetrom may not be the least expensive option. The company does internal and external audits to evaluate its service, security, availability, and redundancy, said Stark, in an effort to find and shore-up any weak links. Sometimes, the weakest link is lack of knowledge. Although cloud is an oft-bandied term, misconceptions abound. Typically, Cetrom discusses cloud, what it means, security, virtual private networks, encryption, best-practices, training, and other aspects of the entire architecture before entering into an agreement. This increases a client’s comfort level and ensures they understand what the solution can do for their company. “It’s a financial, business, and technology decision,” said Stark. Companies should know where their cloud partner is based, whether they use encrypted systems, who has access to their datacenters, the security they use, the built-in documentation in use, and the systems they use, he noted. Like many cloud service providers, Cetrom works closely with solution providers via a formal, yet flexible, program, he explained: We’re supporting them to support our clients. It’s a great relationship. It’s often a win-win. Who better to judge our products than other solution providers? We often team up with them to provide a solution to their client. Flexibility is a must in IT. You really have to customize your approach. Some people can’t live within a box. Info technology is here to support the business needs, not the other way around, so we really strive to be flexible. (Article PDF)

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