Leo Galletta's love for computers began at age 10 when his mother gave him an early model microprocessor for Christmas and lured him away from video games by showing him how to program the machine to make bleeping sounds. Soon he was racing home from school each day to teach himself Basic. By the time he graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in information systems engineering, he knew four programming languages.
He began his career as a service tech at Computerland in Bohemia and progressed to work on operating systems, data centers, voice video and data solutions. In 2006 he and a colleague, Steve Drgon, launched Converged Technology Group. "It was two guys and two laptops working from our home offices," said Galletta, 42. The company offers clients a manned, 24/7 network operations center.
Can you explain "the cloud" in simple terms?
No two companies define it in the same way. I think that's what creates a cloudy view of cloud. It could be a network, it could be an application that resides remotely outside of a customer environment that they consume on a subscription basis. It ultimately boils down to the consumption of technology on a subscription basis from an external provider.
How much of what you're doing now is cloud-based?
Just about every one of our customers is consuming some amount of cloud.
What are the risks associated with it?
A loss of control. You lose the ability, more often than not, to innovate at the pace that the organization may need to [in order to] leverage IT for competitive advantage. There are security concerns because once you move your data, which is intellectual property, in many instances, you are challenged with regulatory compliance. If that cloud provider has a breach or ultimately falls out of compliance, you will be out of compliance. There is also concern around availability of services; you are dependent upon connections to that external service. And cost . . . it appears very inexpensive on day one. As the data continues to grow over time, it may be much more cost effective to have it implemented internally.
What are the costs?
A combination of the front end investment plus monthly reoccurring charges.
What's one of the more popular services the cloud provides?
For the small or medium business, one of the most common is hosted voice. Prices range from $19.99 per user per month for basic dial tone and messaging, up to maybe $34.99 per user per month for voice, messaging, video, collaboration technologies, Web conferencing technologies.
How big a threat is cybersecurity?
It's big, and it's growing. A network is only as strong as its weakest link. We may access corporate information from our home PC, a tablet, a smartphone, right? Now each of these devices effectively become extensions of the network, but they also become potential sources of security risk.
What should companies consider when choosing an IT provider?
Expertise, reference-ability, and, with that, track record. You cannot over-estimate the complexity associated with information technology in a world that's increasingly connected, and is also at risk from a cybersecurity perspective. It requires very specific skills in order to do it successfully with minimal risk. The other thing that's critically important is to work with organizations that not only work with companies like yours, but are of a similar size. You're looking for a true partner. Bigger isn't always better, better is better, right?
NAME: Leo E. Galletta, president and CEO, Converged Technology Group Inc. in Bohemia
WHAT IT DOES: A provider of advanced technology solutions for mid-market commercial customers
REVENUE: $25 million to $35 million