Sentinel Technologies’ Biggest IT Investments In 2020
'We’ve invested in our own system modernization with big investments in both ServiceNow and Splunk with extensive data ingestion capabilities, data visualization and automation powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence,' says Sentinel Technologies CTO Robert Keblusek.
Solution provider superstar Sentinel Technologies believes 2020 will be the year of secure data transformation as the decade of “data is the new oil” is officially under way, according to Chief Technology Officer Robert Keblusek.
“Customers are rearchitecting applications, migrating to and consuming cloud services, modernizing networks and starting their journeys in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Keblusek, whose Downers Grove, Ill.-based company ranks No. 108 on CRN’s 2019 Solution Provider 500 list. “We must enable our customers to get more from their data while keeping it safe and secure.”
Sentinel Technologies is one of the country’s most innovative solution providers and is racing ahead of the pack with a top-notch enterprise life-cycle services practice and consulting arm, which witnessed over 100 percent revenue growth in 2019 year over year. Keblusek has more than 25 years of experience as a solution provider and helped make Sentinel Technologies, which made CRN’s 2019 Tech Elite 250, into a top Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies and Microsoft partner.
Here is where Sentinel Technologies is placing its investment bets in 2020.
What are Sentinel’s biggest technology investments in 2020?
Our office of innovation is investing in some key areas: enterprise networking, cybersecurity and compliance, data center and multi-cloud, transformational collaboration experiences and advanced cloud services and DevSecOps [integrating security practices with the DevOps process]. We also have formalized a program to incubate and mainstream next-generation technologies.
Last year we launched our customer success program designed to align our customers’ business outcomes with their technology investments, and in 2020 we’ll continue to expand the program to more customers and offerings. Our consulting services division had over 100 percent growth in 2019, and we expect even more in 2020. The demand for our consulting has been fueled by our customers’ needs in cybersecurity, business continuity, risk management, compliance and long-term technology strategy and road maps. To support all of this, we’ve invested in our own system modernization with big investments in both ServiceNow and Splunk with extensive data ingestion capabilities, data visualization and automation powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
What are the biggest challenges facing customers in 2020?
Businesses are being asked to evolve very rapidly today to survive, and IT [needs] to move as quickly or more quickly to meet these new business demands. At the same time, it’s expected that consuming IT is simple, safe, secure and trustworthy. Technology is moving faster than ever and both traditional and new vendors have been rapidly bringing solutions to meet these needs, often delivered via cloud services. Our customers simply can’t keep up with it all. They need a partner, someone that has great depth of resources, robust services and is on this journey with them.
The amount of data generated by an enterprise today is staggering and it continues to grow at a breakneck pace. To further complicate things, the data is everywhere—on-premises systems, multi-cloud services, SaaS platforms and more. Traditional networks and security solutions are not up to the challenge and our customers need to modernize quickly while assuring a secure experience. This is a big ask of the enterprise and will continue to be a challenge beyond 2020.
Can you dive deeper into just how important data has become?
At the end of the day, every organization is dealing with data. If you’re a factory and you're connecting your machinery, it’s generating a tremendous amount of data. If you’re a financial services firm, there’s a tremendous amount of data. Data is being generated from all different types of services, some from devices, some from people—but what do you do with it all? It’s being generated all over the place. I look at our own organization as a channel partner and a hosting partner and a cloud partner—we are over 50 percent SaaS services. So a lot of data is in a lot of different locations. It’s about how do you bring that data together and correlate it and find meaning from it. Are there some things you can look at to make some decisions on that data? That’s when we start to talk about machine learning and possibly the systems helping to make a recommended decision in an AI type of format. Those are all things businesses and technology companies are trying to get their arms around.
What is Sentinel Technologies doing with data to drive business outcomes for customers?
In the collaboration space, conversational-type chatbots are an example. We’re providing the ability to help organizations put in place conversational chatbots whether for their customer service experience or maybe it's revenue-generating—that’s an important component. They have to be pretty intelligent and very easy to use or you can lose your customers. They can be internally facing like HR chatbots, for example. It would provide a tremendous amount of savings [when deployed].
More and more I’m seeing the ability for correlation, machine learning and AI to protect from things like anti-virus, anti-malware and make decisions for our SOC [Security Operations Center] service, for example. One day soon, our top analyst will probably be a bot. It will probably allow us to not only make better and faster decisions on what we’re seeing in an environment, but also investigate more because from a security perspective, you’re really looking for a needle in a haystack. Doing that manually, you’re never going to win or get ahead and you can’t be cost-effective and efficient. So we have to combine machine learning and AI with skills and experience to be a really effective security provider.
What's the biggest market opportunity you’ll tackle this year?
We’re focused on helping our customers as they migrate to multi-cloud services, modernize applications, transform networks and mobility to compute securely everywhere and enable an efficient collaboration experience among their teams. We’re helping with all this and offering consulting and services to make sure this is delivered in a safe, secure and trustworthy way.
We are continuing to expand our support and managed services offering and our customers' options to choose the level of hybrid IT they require for success. Our consulting services had a breakout year in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020 driven by system modernization and heavily driven by cybersecurity and compliance initiatives. We are investing in DevSecOps initiatives to help our customers move IT at the speed that business demands while assuring a safe and trustworthy experience. Many customers are consuming cloud in a 'lift and shift' fashion but more mature customers demand containers, Platform as a Service and advanced capabilities such as ML and AI easily consumed by cloud providers.
If you could fill in the blank: 2020 will be the year of ...
Secure transformation. Customers are rearchitecting applications, migrating to and consuming cloud services, modernizing networks and starting their journeys in machine learning and artificial intelligence. We must enable our customers to get more from their data while keeping it safe and secure. ... In an era where 'data is the new oil,' IT needs to move with incredible speed and one poorly handled security breach can cost the entire business. The stakes are high so we are here to help.