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.”
Keeping Up with Licensing
AIS came in and helped in a number of areas. The solutions integrator ensured that all Pyroteks licenses with Symantec, for areas such as anti-virus protection and firewalls, were in place and up to date.
AIS also improved the companys overall licensing structure, bringing the various licenses in line with one another.
Because AIS was able to qualify Pyrotek for an “Elite” contract by December 2006, all the licenses will expire at the same time.
This enables Pyrotek to deal with all their Symantec costs with one large bill, rather than dozens of smaller ones, Cannon said.
The Elite contract also gives Pyrotek discounts of 20 to 30 percent on products, he said.
“It streamlines a lot of the processes,” Cannon said.
Both Cannon and Brandley said keeping up the various licenses was a huge challenge for Pyrotek, which increased the importance of bringing them all together.
“AIS was instrumental in getting us to look at the infrastructure as a whole,” Brandley said. “They helped bring it all together into a single bundle. It saves us money in our licensing and made it a lot easier to deal with expirations … so we dont have to do it in a piecemeal fashion.”
Symantecs Cochran said that getting that view of the environment as a whole is critical for companies such as Pyrotek, which are looking to get a better handle on their infrastructures. Integration of the products from a single vendor is increasingly important.
“Customers like Pyrotek are not only looking to do that, theyre demanding it,” Cochran said. “They have a lot of point products that theyre trying to get rid of.”
Having a single platform was important to Pyrotek, Brandley said.
“We really wanted something thats integrated, so when we talk about administration, we dont want to find pieces of the puzzle and try to fit them together,” Brandley said. “We want to be sure that when we put something online, it will run with our management software.”
The relationship between Pyrotek and AIS has grown since, maturing from simply dealing with licenses. AIS and Pyrotek officials meet occasionally at the Spokane Valley offices to review what Pyroteks growing needs are and what products Symantec offers that can meet those needs.
AIS also lets Pyrotek know what products Symantec has in the pipeline.
“Were looking for AIS to tell us whats on the horizon so … when a new company gets acquired [by Pyrotek], we can get the necessary infrastructure in place,” Brandley said. “Its become, basically, a real close relationship. … As we grow and technology changes and new threats evolve, were making sure were taken care of in the security realm.”
Pyrotek also was looking last year for help in protecting its e-mail environment against spam. AIS suggested Symantec Mail Security, and Pyrotek brought it in for a trial and evaluation. Last year, the company put in a purchase order for two devices, Cannon said.
In addition, AIS is helping Pyrotek implement the Symantec Enterprise Security Architecture. The SESA enables users to collect and manage security data from other Symantec products from a single console, a crucial need for a company that is as fast-growing and far-flung as Pyrotek has become. The data collected includes everything from virus information to intrusion alerts.
- Customer Pyrotek
- Location Spokane Valley, Wash.
- Business need Pyrotek has been involved in an aggressive acquisition strategy, which has included eight acquisitions in the past six years; the result of this rapid growth has been a need to protect the companys assets globally and to find a single security provider that could help the company protect its disparate IT systems
- Technology partner Symantec
- Recommended solution Symantec directed Pyrotek to AIS, of Colorado Springs, Colo., which helped Pyrotek tie in its various IT systems to a single integrated bundle, increasing the security of the system and aiding Pyrotek in its licensing agreements; AIS is helping Pyrotek implement the Symantec Enterprise Security Architecture, which lets users collect security data from other Symantec products