Executive Suite: Tim McKnight, Melville

Tim McKnight often supplies a virtual IT staff

Tim McKnight often supplies a virtual IT staff to fix problems remotely. (Dec. 23, 2013) (Credit: Heather Walsh )

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Nearly half of small businesses report having been the victim of a cyber-attack, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association. Data catastrophes and antiquated systems are a headache for small and midsized business, and in-house technology employees are often too overloaded to stay up on the latest solutions, said Tim McKnight, managing partner and senior vice president of 25-year-old Total Technology Solutions in Melville.

His tech company builds business by handling information technology concerns so its clients can focus on their core businesses. It often supplies a virtual IT staff, and can assess, fix problems and scan systems remotely. Total Tech Solutions changed its name in October from Total Computer Solutions to send the message that it handles more than hardware, and McKnight, 54, said the company is on track to grow revenues by $2 million in fiscal 2014.

On the heels of the Target data breach, what can companies do to protect their data?

We just implemented a new assessment service [that] will go out and scan the network, give us the data [and we will] give it to the client and say, "Here are some of the risk factors . . . You've had multiple employees leave, you never disabled their user account." It will assess if anybody was trying to get in from the outside. These are the things we need to modify, change just so that your risk level is lower. It will also assess expired licenses, warrantees and if you need software upgrades.

What should businesses know about saving money with technology?

Hosting your exchange, your email, out in the cloud is very inexpensive. You don't have to buy servers, you don't have to maintain it, you don't have to have licenses. Businesses will save 35, 40 percent.

What's a common mistake companies make with technology?

A lot of companies on Long Island don't take their data off site. You really need to have a way of saying, "Hey, if a disaster happens tomorrow and we had to rebuild the server or we need our data, where can we get it from?" [Ensure] every day that your data is being backed up and it's being encrypted and it's being secured at a secured location.

How do you plan to grow by $2 million in one year?

We had developed an application for law enforcement called Total Enforcement. We spent a lot of time in the last eight years concentrating on that and developing it . . . it interfaced with Google Maps, had a single point of entry; a license swipe pulled up the national crime information center. We sold it to a company out west called Tiburon.

How are things changing for you since you sold Total Enforcement?

We're debt free, [and] it gave us an influx of capital to work with. We weren't really marketing before. So now this is allowing us to bring the right folks on, put the right people in place in sales and marketing and grow the business and make a bigger footprint here on Long Island.

What industry is in your sites as far as business development?

The health industry is huge right now and it's in flux . . . we get a lot of the same regulations (and are accustomed to) supporting our clients dealing with sensitive data.


CORPORATE SNAPSHOT

Name: Tim McKnight, managing partner and senior vice president, Total Technology Solutions in Melville.

What it does: A full-service IT provider of network hardware and software solutions.

Employees: 35 full time; 32 on Long Island.

Revenue: $8 million

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