The ICJ has transformed the Chicago Convention Center into a huge hospital for patients with COVID-19.
Company name: Stratosphere Networks
Company SME 501 Rank: 89
CEO: Steve Melchiorre
Headquarters: Evanston, Illinois
Stratosphere Networks, which entered the top 100 on the SME 501 this year, decided a few years ago to become a cyber security service provider as well as a managed IT service provider. It now serves as a single source for all the needs of its clients in the field of IT and cyber security.
The company offers solutions including Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Sonicwall, Cisco, Juniper, Aruba, Meru, Extreme Networks and more. The Professional Services Group designs, implements and maintains IT infrastructure at all levels.
Companies that lack IT staff turn to Stratosphere Networks for full support, server and infrastructure support. Businesses that have IT staff can use company overlap services to support their group.
CEO Steve Melchiorre touches on coping with the pandemic and turning to managed cyber security services.
The future of the channel: What new opportunities and challenges have come with the global COVID-19 pandemic?
Steve Melchiorre of Stratosphere Networks
Steve Melchiorre: Fortunately, most of our clients have already migrated from local technology to the cloud for their phone systems and critical business applications before the pandemic. For those who still needed cloud or remote infrastructure, we quickly implemented the necessary solutions.
Internally, our staff members already had the necessary technology (IP phones and laptops) to work efficiently from home. At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty because, after the initial implementation of the infrastructure for remote work, work on the project and the demand for on-site support slowed down.
However, the City of Chicago and the Illinois Emergency Agency called us and asked us to help them transform McCormick Place (the largest convention center in North America) into McCormick Alternate Care Facility, a field hospital with more than 3,000 beds to prepare for potential growth. patients as a result of a pandemic. This preoccupied us because our team worked day and night, taking advantage of our relationships with IT solution vendors to get the hospital started as soon as possible. We confirmed the availability of equipment and designed the IT and telecom network architecture for the facility.
Our team dealt with the procurement of devices, installation and installation on site, project management services, security services, coordination of communication between all involved and much more. In the end, with the help of our partners, we completed a project that would otherwise take a year or longer in just two weeks. It was also the most challenging and meaningful project we have ever undertaken. We knew that many lives were potentially endangered. And I am incredibly proud of our team that, under pressure, showed exceptionally good results and met the deadline.
CF: Tell us the story of the biggest pivot you’ve ever had to make.
SM: To meet the growing needs of our clients for cybersecurity, as cybercrime has become an increasingly urgent problem, a few years ago we decided to become a provider of guided cybersecurity services as well as a managed IT service provider. This required a lot of time and effort. It was essentially tantamount to starting another business that required different experience, skills and technologies to properly protect our clients ’data and networks.
In the end, it made sense to us. This is because in the end there would be too much finger pointing if we used a third party provider for security solutions. There would be too much overlap between them and us in terms of firewall, antivirus and so on. It is better for us to serve as one source for all the needs of our clients in the field of IT and cyber security.
Today, our state-of-the-art Network Operations Center (NOC) is also a Security Operations Center (SOC). And our CISO has carefully evaluated many solutions on the market and selected the best cyber security offerings to create the best-in-class portfolio we deliver and manage for our clients.
CF: If applicable, why own a business instead of working for someone else? What is the appeal of entrepreneurship for you?