Tim Loney, CEO of Solutions IS, joins us to talk about fractional CIO services.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to Texas Business Radio; texasbusinessradio.com is the website. You’ve been to the website, do yourself a favor, get to the website. We have a wealth of information on there, including this entire broadcast in beautiful high definition video, right there, texasbusinessradio.com; 844-814-8144 is our 24-hour call-in line as well. Get your calls in. We’re going to get some experts in here and make sure you get the answers to those questions. I’m your host, Matt Register. Jay Curry is over there in the co-host chair. What do you think, man?
Jay Curry: This is a hot topic and it’s one that all CEOs, all business owners need to be aware of. There’s no reason to be in an IT business. It’s just impossible. It changes every 18 months. You can’t keep your people trained. This is good. This is good stuff.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. We’re talking about IT outsourcing and we have Tim Loney who is the CEO, Solutions IS here in the studio, tell us all about it. Tim, welcome to the show, sir.
Tim Loney: Thank you, guys. It’s great to meet you guys. I appreciate you having me on the show today.
Matt Register: No problem. Solutions IS, what do you do, who do you do it to?
Tim Loney: Solutions IS is an IT outsourcing company. We pretty much provide IT services to small- and mid-sized companies. As we’ve talked about, the primary focus of our business is to be able to provide those IT services and supporting our customers. Those that are the small- and mid-sized businesses don’t have the time or the resources to be able to provide that to their company. That’s where we-
Matt Register: Or generally knowledge, right-
Tim Loney: Or knowledge, yeah, absolutely. This is our core focus. This is our business. This is what we do day in and day out is work with technology, resolving problems, deploying new technology, deploying desktop, servers, routing configurations, firewalls, security, you name it. Anything that you would find in a corporate IT department, you’d find in our business.
Matt Register: And small- and mid-sized business now has the opportunity to get that caliber of service without having to hire the staff and essentially get into the IT business ’cause at the end of the day, unless you’re in the IT business, that’s not what you’re good at, right?
Tim Loney: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more is that we often find people either use a family friend or a friend from church or maybe try to do it themselves. They’re doing a disservice to their business because they’re taking time away from their core business and they’re spending it on things they shouldn’t. I have a dental firm that the guy, he’s a dentist. That’s his job.
Matt Register: Sure. That’s where he makes his money and he’s really good at it and he’s just not an IT guy, right?
Tim Loney: Yeah, yeah, exactly. When he came to us, he came to us and said, “Tim, I’ve been building this server for three weeks. I think I got it working, but I’ve been spending my nights and weekends trying to put this thing together. Can you … But there’s something wrong. I don’t know what it is.” He came to us and we identified a lot of things that were set up wrong. We fixed those configurations and made the system operate. Again, his core focus isn’t in running the IT of his dental practice. His core focus is being with patients and that’s what makes sense, and that goes across all industries.
Jay Curry: Now we just had a storm and it was a major storm, and it brought this attention of business continuity and disaster recovery, which is a major, major reason, if for no other reason, that you need to have an outsource firm. What are you guys doing in that area?
Tim Loney: Absolutely. That’s a core piece of our business because the biggest piece is protecting your data, the information that’s being stored on your systems. We have a backup and disaster recovery solution within our practice that we sell back out as a service to our customers. And you’re correct, Hurricane Harvey was devastating for the city of Houston. So many people lost so many things from a personal standpoint all the way through to a business standpoint.
We saw a lot of that in the business community where buildings had been 8 feet under water, 3 feet under water. And there’s so many aspects of where is your equipment stored? How is it being stored? How is it being backed up? What is your recovery time objective? By recovery time objective, I talk about how long does it take for you to recover if you were to lose that information?
We have a facility that went completely under water, 8 feet under water. They were not on our backup and disaster recovery plan. They lost the entire system. The entire system went under water. It’s those kinds of devastating things that put businesses out of business because you no longer have that information that you’re so dependent upon that you put stuff into every minute of the day.
Matt Register: The time to recovery is going to be different, the requirement is going to be different for every business. Anything can be done. It’s time and money. A 5-minute recovery is technologically possible, but a whole lot more expensive than a 24-hour recovery perhaps, right?
Tim Loney: Sure, sure, but you’d be surprised at how reasonable it is for small, mid-sized businesses and that’s our core focus. The smaller, 25- to 200-employee type companies, those are the type of companies we work with day in and day out, and this is an affordable solution for them to be able to provide that backup and recovery capability at an affordable cost.
Matt Register: Business continuity though is very different than disaster recovery. You not only have during a hurricane the issue of some businesses were under water. Some businesses were not. However, none of their employees could come in, right?
Tim Loney: Absolutely. Business continuity is the continuity of your business during the storm. If you look at it, if you have business or do business outside of the city of Houston, your customers don’t care. They don’t care that you were impacted. They want their information. They want access to your company. They want whatever you’re selling, whether it’s a service, a product, whatever it is that you’re doing. They don’t understand why you can’t get the job done. In those situations, the business continuity side of the business is keeping your business operational. That might be just answering the phones, to be able to answer the phones to respond to your customers.
We had a customer that the first floor of their building went about 6 feet under water. Their office was not impacted because they were on the 4th floor of the building, but their building was inaccessible. With it being inaccessible and without there being any power in the building, they couldn’t have access to their systems. Their employees couldn’t get into the office. They couldn’t do stuff. In that scenario, we actually did a disaster recovery for them, and we brought their trading floor to our facility, and actually got them in operational so they could go back into business of trading oil and gas.
Matt Register: The beauty of the cloud has changed that business significantly, right. Your ability to access your information, if you’re not relying on a server in your physical location has gotten easier, but there’s some trade-offs with that, right?
Tim Loney: Sure, absolutely. Yeah, that’s a great development in our industry is being able to host your information or store your information out on the cloud, which is in multiple data centers replicated by large vendors like Microsoft and Google just to name a few. The trade-off is that your data is now somewhere in the data center that you don’t have physical access to. You can’t go push the button. You can’t go pull the drive. You can’t create a backup on the fly and do those kinds of … I shouldn’t say on the fly, but you can. It’s just a little more difficult and you are dependent upon those vendors’ response times and availability to go do that, push the button, move my data here, make it available to me.
We saw that with this particular oil and gas client. They did have some technology in the cloud and they executed those plans. The recovery time objective was not as best for them in that environment.
Matt Register: Yeah. No, I understand. One of the interesting things we talked real quick during the break right before this, one of the things I found interesting is you actually go through rehearsals of this. Having a client and helping them build a plan on how they’re going to … Hurricane season comes around very regularly. This is not an unforeseen event. Going through rehearsals with them I thought was fascinating and I like it.
Tim Loney: Excellent. Yeah, yeah, prior to hurricane season, we go through the business continuity plan that we may have already developed or maybe we’re developing that for the first time for our customer, but we go through and we execute that plan to make sure that it is successful, and close any gaps in that process to make sure that we can recover the environment according to the plan that’s been written. Because the last thing you want to do is to not have access to your facility and you’re doing the plan for the first time.
Matt Register: Yeah, that’s not the time. I like it. Tim Loney is the CEO, Solutions IS. Tim, thank you very much for joining us.
Tim Loney: You bet. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.
Matt Register: The website is thebestitcompany.com. Correct?
Tim Loney: Absolutely. That’ll take you directly over to us.
Matt Register: All right, thebestitcompany.com. We’re going to have that linked directly from texasbusinessradio.com. If you’re driving and can’t take notes, we’re talking about IT outsourcing today here on Texas Business Radio. We do have to go take a break, pay a couple bills of our own, but we’re going to be back right after this with a whole lot more. Calls, 844-814-8144 or use #tbr on Twitter. We monitor that as well. We’ll be back right after this. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.