50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2021
The Silicon Review
“We sell whatever our SMB customers need, from desktop products, telecom, network products, and services to full IT phone support. We aim to be their IT department or assist their IT department to be more efficient and successful as they support their business.”
Visual Edge IT provides managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the US, including remote office locations. It offers a full line of office technology and services; including 24/7 remote monitoring and administration of networks, service desk support, data backup and restoration to improve business processes across various industries. Backed by more than 20 years of technology service and a national network of expert engineers, Visual Edge is uniquely positioned to support business technology needs.
Visual Edge IT was founded in 2000, and it operates nationally from Indianapolis, IN, with headquarters in Canton, OH.
Austin Vanchieri, CEO of Visual Edge IT, Spoke Exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. Have you always been passionate about technology? Tell us what inspired the creation of Visual Edge IT?
I graduated from CCNY with a BS in physics and a concentration in engineering, and I have always used that broad understanding of technology in my work. After obtaining an MBA from the University of Rochester, I moved towards technical management roles and, at Xerox, pressed for broad office product offerings which went beyond copiers — that has always been a goal of mine. I envisioned a suite of products which included desktop publishing, word processing products, facsimile, desktop printers, and the Xerox Agent program, which could be sold to MFPs in the rural markets across the country.
Q. What are the unique benefits to businesses in engaging Managed IT Services from Visual Edge?
Through both our remote national command and security operation center we provide end-user support by monitoring, managing, inspecting, detecting, responding, and remediating cyber security threats, 27/4, 365 days a year. Visual Edge offers a local presence for onsite presales, as well as break-fix and customized support for unique project needs. Additionally, our team drafts IT strategy roadmaps and 3- to 5-year budgets for customers’ IT assets and solutions while managing the lifecycle for all IT assets, both on-premises and in the cloud. We also leverage strategic partners, including Microsoft, Paxe8, HPE, Acronis, and Datto.
Q. What is the importance of Managed Security Services in saving businesses from today’s security risks, and how does a data backup plan from Visual Edge uniquely help mitigate some of these same security risks?
Thirty percent of all small businesses will experience a breach in 2021. Every company must be proactive to mitigate as many risks as possible. This not only means following the proper safety protocols but having recovery measures in place. Managed security services provide five main types of assistance areas: awareness, protection, detection, response, and recovery. Each of these areas require specific expertise, tools, processes, and staff – 24 hours a day.
When assessing the status of a businesses’ current security environment, the first phase is pinpointing: 1) critical data/access points 2) impact and 3) costs. The second phase is using the assessments to determine what type of protection should be provided. The third phase dictates how a business will monitor, correlate, and detect security threats, and the fourth focuses on threat response. While many companies could potentially complete the first two phases, the remainder requires trained experts and continuous monitoring.
The first three phases are proactive, while the fourth requires escalation and action. In some cases, this last phase also includes backup creation, which safeguards critical information by creating an offline copy of the company’s data. It’s considered a best practice to have three versions of critical data: a production copy, an onsite backup and an off-network backup. This is useful in a situation where all data has been taken, or ransomware has been installed and the business doesn’t want to pay the ransom. The last phase can also provide high levels of mitigation through the use of a detection tool, which in some instances, may be able to roll back the malicious attack without impact.
To manage all the above effectively, a security team needs to be available 24 hours a day and is different from the network operation team.
Q. What is the importance for businesses to invest in communication and collaboration technologies, especially those cloud solutions that support communication and collaboration?
Since the workforce has swayed almost entirely towards remote work, collaboration has been adopted to replace traditional VOIP solutions. Employees not only need dial tone, mail, and conference room access, they also need to be able to share documents in real-time use virtual whiteboards and have version controls. For employees to work outside their network, traditional, onsite phone solutions require a tremendous amount of oversight, security controls, and bandwidth constraints Cloud collaboration allows employees to connect directly from wherever they are and avoid the complex corporate network. On the backend, supporting a cloud environment is still complex and requires a trained expert. However, making changes and or adding functionality for every user can take seconds, and when planned/completed, apparently, it’s a great asset. If not, it could have a hugely negative impact on the company.
Q. What strategies are in place to encourage innovation in your company?
In addition to the usual revenue and profit goals, we celebrate our people’s innovative ideas and forward-thinking successes by awarding stock options in the market. As resellers, we have access to the best technology in the country, so applying these tools to satisfy our customer’s goals is key.
Q. Who are your clients? Could you provide us with one or two case studies describing the quality challenges your clients were facing and how did your solutions help them overcome those challenges?
Because IT services are crucial for all businesses, our clients really span all industries; however, we see strong interest in our services from companies in the financial, educational, manufacturing, healthcare, and professional services verticals.
The Problem: A toxicology laboratory was looking for a larger, more experienced IT provider to help them improve their security infrastructure and avoid another ransomware attack. The ransomware they’d experienced previously had infected their network with multiple viruses and malicious files. They were unable to recover their data with their current provider and were left with no choice but to pay the ransom. They were seeking an experienced, knowledgeable IT company to not only manage and protect their data, but to improve their overall workflow with cybersecurity challenges.
Visual Edge IT to the rescue: The laboratory interviewed three IT providers and selected Visual Edge IT for our knowledge and expertise in the areas of IT support, current technologies, and data security. We provided them with managed IT services for the help desk and IT support. We also provided several layers of security to their infrastructure, including advanced email protection and advanced endpoint protection. Additionally, we helped the laboratory create end-user computing standards focused specifically on security policies and procedures.
The laboratory has experienced more peace of mind knowing that their data and network are properly monitored, managed, and protected. A short- and long-term technology roadmap was created to allow the company to plan and budget for additional security and technology going forward. Onboarding was challenging due to the ransomware clean-up, but the customer is delighted that those challenges have been overcome and with our service.
The Problem: A disaster restoration service provider for water, fire, storm, and mold damage was using two server applications hosted by another MSP in Canada. This MSP was hosting their applications and data on the same hardware as other clients. Furthermore, one of those clients happened to be a competitor of the restoration company, which made the company concerned about data security — not to mention that the location of the server was causing latency issues.
Solution: Because the customer has a distributed environment, they wanted a cloud solution to deliver the appropriate applications to all their locations. Our imaging rep learned that the customer was challenged by their current provider, who was unable to provide a cloud solution. We conducted an assessment and engaged the customer’s existing consultant as part of the discovery. Based on the results, we created a recommendation and a custom configuration for the company. In addition to the imaging services we already provide, we set up a Microsoft Azure instance from two cloud servers and migrated data/applications. We also provided the customer with remote access to both servers and desktops and on-demand support services.
Now the customer’s business is running effectively using this custom strategy and solution approach., making us the most important partner in their business. The customer appreciates the services we provide and can count on us for are receiving full support/access— anytime, anywhere! From a compliance perspective the company is much more secure and are achieving much better system performance with the improvements we’ve made, the customer has scaled their business, adding both manpower and brick-and-mortar locations, without adding any additional infrastructure.
Q. What plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?
We continue to transform our heritage in the MFP copier space from sales and service towards a full, IT sale-and-service mentality. We sell whatever our SME customers need — from desktop and network products to telecom and services to full IT phone support. We aim to support their business by acting either as their full-service IT department or as a partner to their own IT team.