The 1,000 customers converging on the Foxwoods casino in rural Ledyard, Conn., for the annual Whalley Computer Associates (WCA) technology conference on Thursday were more interested in beating back the barrage of cyber-security threats than beating the house at games of chance.
Thomas Guyer (pictured), director of information technology for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a non-profit that has delivered HIV/Aids treatment in developing countries, was one of many customers at the show working with the national solution provider and top security vendors to stop hackers. He said security is absolutely "top of mind" for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which supports 1,400 employees in over 30 countries.
Guyer, who has been at the last four WCA conferences, met with Carbon Black for end-point protection, Sophos for data encryption, and Barracuda for email protection and anti-spam. "We have a lot of standalone users, disconnected country offices with low bandwidth," he said. "These are high-theft environments, so we have got to make sure our data is secure."
Guyer said he is currently looking at expanding encryption capabilities with Sophos and upgrading to Carbon Black for end-point security. "Security is huge given all the reporting requirements," he said. "With reporting requirements, we need to make sure our laptops are encrypted and if they are lost or stolen the data is still safe and secure. We work around the world."
WCA, No, 225 on the CRN 2017 Solution Provider 500, has built the show over the last several years into the largest technology conference in the Northeast with 1,259 people and 63 manufacturers attending the conference this year.
Guyer says Whalley Computer Associates' customer service and responsiveness separates the company from the rest of the solution provider pack."I can pick up the phone and call one of their engineers at 10 pm on a Sunday night and they'll pick up a phone and resolve the issue," said Guyer. "That is huge. We just don't see that from others. We are a global organization. It is 24/7 for us. When I have that problem, I need to be able to pick up the phone and get the problem resolved. That customer service and responsiveness is Whalley's big differentiator."
That best-in-class customer service has proved to be a key differentiator time and time again, said Guyer. "That is the main reason we work with WCA," he said. "It is customer service and responsiveness. That is what we have to have and Whalley delivers."
Several years ago, a top Clinton Health Access Initaitive's laptop failed on a Thursday night and WCA shipped out a system that night so it was available the next day. WCA also fixed an Exchange outage on a July 4 holiday for the organization.
Guyer said Clinton Health Access Initiative worked with WCA for seven years and he has never had a project fail. Among the projects the organization has completed with WCA are SAN implementations and implementations of Exchange, VMware and Veeam.
Among the 63 manufacturers showing off their wares at the show were top security vendors including Carbon Black end-point protection, Sophos encryption, Barracuda security solutions, Faronics Technologies' layered security, Unitrends ransomware defender, Preempt adapt threat prevention, Mimecast email security, and PC Matic's innovative white listing end-point protection.