Pyrotek Finds Hot Security Fix

Case Study: The materials maker is undergoing a rapid acquisition strategy that challenges its security infrastructure; AIS and Symantec help fight the fires.

The sun may have set on the British Empire, but such is not the case for Pyrotek, a company that has grown at a rapid rate over the past few years, adding offices and manufacturing plants in all parts of the world to its overall global operations.

The result for Pyrotek is a business that touches nearly every continent on the planet.

For its IT staff, such as Network Operations Manager Michael Brandley, that has meant finding ways to tie the infrastructures—including IT security—of these disparate locations together in to a more easily manageable solution.

Five years ago, Pyrotek was an approximately $50 million company. Now, thanks to an aggressive growth strategy that has included a wide range of acquisitions—eight over the past six years—the revenues for the Spokane Valley, Wash., company are nearly $95 million, and plans are in place to continue that growth.

Pyrotek is using the acquisition strategy to create turnkey solutions for aluminum, steel and glass manufacturing plants across the globe.

"Weve had one large [purchase] and several smaller acquisitions," Brandley said. "Weve been a pretty aggressive growth company."

The many acquisitions have meant a plethora of disparate IT systems that have been integrated into a single cohesive environment. Key among those systems is the companys security infrastructure, which Pyrotek has been pulling together under the umbrella of security software vendor Symantec, with the help of systems integrator Advanced Internet Security.

"They decided [about four years ago] to try to find a single security provider to provide their security needs on a global basis," said Gary Cannon, AIS president, of Pyrotek. "As their company grew and security became even more important to protecting their assets, they decided they needed a single security provider."

Pyrotek develops, manufactures and sells high-temperature materials that are used in industrial applications. Its reach spans the globe, including Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan and New Zealand.

Pyrotek has been using Symantec products for some time. However, such rapid growth brought the need to add more security tools and to bring the new parts of the company into the fold. Brandley said it became obvious that Pyrotek was going to need some outside help.

"We had myriad sites of different sizes and capabilities," Brandley said. "We needed a third party to ensure that we got what we needed, basically holding our hand and designing an infrastructure that helps with worldwide connectivity."

Officials at Pyrotek were comfortable with Symantec and wanted to continue with that relationship, Brandley said. "We consider Symantec software a central part of our environment."

Pyrotek also wanted an experienced partner, Brandley said. As the company grew, Pyrotek officials decided they needed help in areas such as technical support, configuration and overall design. They asked Symantec for a referral and were directed to AIS, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Initially, Pyrotek was looking for the ability to address their security needs, and they lacked the expertise in this area, which is not uncommon for a company of that size," said Randy Cochran, vice president of Americas channel sales, Americas, for Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif.


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Brandley agreed. "For a company of our size, we dont have a budget to have in-house security expertise," he said. "Because of this, its important to have a third party to partner with that has a relationship with the vendor to make sure we get to where were going and that were protected against security threats."

Brandley said Pyroteks first inclination was to find a partner in the Spokane area. However, none of the local companies had the expertise in Symantec products that Pyrotek needed. AIS has that expertise, which is why Symantec recommended it, Cochran said.

AIS holds several certifications from Symantec, which is important for users who are "relying on a certain level of expertise to be that trusted adviser," Cochran said. "[AIS is] up to speed on all that we have, because thats all AIS does."

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