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Pinnacle Is Raising Cloud Governance Bar With Elite AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Certification

‘This is a big deal for customers looking at who is raising the bar in terms of security and governance consulting. AWS has really upped the bar on the partner program. This lets customers know we have the right talent in place to serve enterprise customers,’ Pinnacle’s Ethan Simmons tells CRN.

Pinnacle Technology Partners, a born-in-the-cloud Amazon Web Services security and governance managed service provider, has just been named an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, one of seven members of the elite club based in New England.

The AWS Advanced Consulting certification puts the Norwood, Mass.-based company at a higher tier than tens of thousands of registered and standard AWS partners with top-notch engineers with DevOps, SysOps, cloud governance and security expertise. The Advanced Consulting Certification means Pinnacle is one of the first to achieve tougher new advanced consulting requirements focused more on technical capabilities and proven customer engagements.

The new AWS certification mandates a minimum of four technical and four business accredited professionals with a minimum of 20 customer satisfaction engagements.

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"This is a big deal for customers looking at who is raising the bar in terms of security and governance consulting," said Ethan Simmons, a managing partner for the two-year-old company, which grew its sales by 77 percent last year. "AWS has really upped the bar on the partner program. This lets customers know we have the right talent in place to serve enterprise customers. We put in hundreds of man-hours on the engineering side to meet the competency requirements.Our team took this as a challenge and we made it through some tough new program requirements."

The Pinnacle AWS Advanced Consulting achievement ensures a tight working relationship with the AWS sales teams, said Simmons. "The AWS field teams want to work with the best of the best out there," he said. "Our sales team is super excited that they now have that visibility with the AWS field teams."

Ultimately, the AWS Advanced Consulting certification is a validation of Pinnacle's governance and security managed services, which pave the way for rapid adoption of AWS services, said Simmons. "What we are finding is many customers do not have the governance and security to move production workloads to AWS," he said.

In fact, when Pinnacle does security audits of AWS environments, 99 percent of the time it finds security vulnerability issues usually related to configuration, said Simmons. "Our platform gives customers the ability to have the confidence, visibility, security and governance they need to be able to run production workloads in AWS, and we deliver that as a managed service," he said. "We see a lot of data center engineers who are being asked to be cloud engineers, and there is a learning curve there. Our goal is to help those customers with that learning curve so they can move workloads to AWS in a secure manner."

Among one of Pinnacle's recent big wins: a biotech customer that decided to move application workloads to AWS after a rigorous Pinnacle security, governance and cost optimization consulting engagement. "That customer wanted to make sure they had the right security, governance and financial controls in place in order to move to AWS," said Simmons. "We put them on our managed services platform. We gave them confidence to know that their AWS environment was secure and they had controls in place so that they could budget for what their AWS bill was going to be going forward."

Simmons, who has owned several solution provider businesses and been in high-level executive channel positions for 21 years, compared the AWS cloud opportunity to the virtualization boom driven by VMware and the converged network communications boom driven by Cisco. "This is that same kind of inflection point,” said Simmons, speaking about the off-the-charts AWS sales growth. "Many of the traditional VARs just aren't built for this. They are still trying to sell server, storage and compute boxes when customers are looking to consume it as a service from a cloud provider. We saw that transition happening and we built Pinnacle just for that, to serve those customers’ needs. This is the next inflection point in IT. This is the biggest opportunity we are going to see in IT over the next decade. This is our time to attack that market and take advantage of the opportunity."

Simmons said there are still only a small number of enterprise customers that have moved their production workloads to the cloud. "There is a massive opportunity for us to move more of those production workloads to the cloud. We feel AWS is the strongest partner out there for us to do that. We feel getting on the ground floor with AWS is going to help us be more successful."

The Pinnacle AWS Advanced Certification is already drawing a lot of attention from potential customers, said Simmons. "This is the busiest day we've ever had on our website," he said. "You can really see that customers are looking for help on their cloud initiatives and are looking for partners with advanced certifications. This is key to our growth going forward. The amount of interest we are getting from customers on our platform is keeping us very busy."

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