IT Best Practices.
Meet the team – A word (or two) from our CEO, Reyner Natahamidjaja
A discussion of “the big picture” and the future of tech
As the founder of Global IP Networks, now operating as CloudKeySM, what was the beginning of the company like?
Compared to now, it was certainly very different. Back in 2000 when we started it, the internet was emerging, and we thought, wouldn’t it be nice if our church had a website to help reach beyond our local community? So, we took the plunge and made the investment. It’s been a truly humbling journey and experience to be where we are today. Now, we have an amazing team of people, multiple layers of management, and a wonderful executive team, all serving a multitude of clients, with dedicated departments running 24/7 to serve and support our CloudKey platform.
How have the clients you serve changed over the years?
Before the cloud, customers were owning and operating their own hardware. Then, when the cloud started to really emerge 12-14 years ago, there was a noticeable shift in the market. We were still getting colocation customers who preferred to have their own infrastructure, their own hardware, but that has decreased significantly with cloud adoption. More and more organizations now focus on their key competency and applications, and much less on the management and maintenance of the infrastructure. Now they can utilize our CloudKey platform and no longer worry about the hardware or recycling the hardware or the maintenance of it all.
What has been the mission for CloudKey, and has it changed since you first founded Global IP Networks?
The essence has always been consistent since the beginning: To provide the critical technology and infrastructure that businesses need. Connectivity, managed security, servers, network services, and so on. They change, but yet in many ways remain the same. We take the new technology and provide it with a little more sophistication. The mission has been the same, to turn the legacy system into something modern, reliable, secure, and scalable. That has always been our mission.
Through the years as CEO of the company, what have been the keys to continued growth?
The people. We’ve been blessed with really good people. As the years have passed by, I’ve realized that we rely on good people and good leaders. It’s through their leadership and the unity among the leadership that we have continued growth. Our executive and management teams help to create a culture that is very healthy, and that is also key to growth. The idea is to help everyone on our team to find their purpose, to recognize their talent, and to actively share ideas. One of our founding principles is “in everything, do the right thing, and let wisdom prevail”. It allows people to collaborate with each other. First and foremost, though, is good leadership from the team.
I also want to say that for the growth of our company, it’s not just the leaders themselves. It’s everyone on the team that helped us achieve so much. They’ve all been great contributors who work tirelessly to deliver “WOW” service to our customers. They come in and consistently give their best. We have truly incredible teamwork that exists at all levels of our organization, and I think a lot of that comes from the culture that we foster, which ultimately facilitates the growth.
The leadership team realizes that when we are together, we can go so much further. Our executive team can call themselves subject matter experts in their field, possessing a lot of wisdom and cumulative experience between them. Sometimes, it’s not about what we do, but what not to do to avoid pitfalls, right? So, the leadership style we have is the value of always wanting to do the right thing internally.
We also have a major focus on faith and family, and encourage that this always comes first, followed by your duty here at the company. We encourage our team members to grow and provide feedback. We always tell them, “One day you will make mistakes, and that’s okay! We’re here to fix it together.” And I always tell everyone when they start working here, “You’re talking to the person who has made the most mistakes at the company,” but we all learn from each other in that way.
In the end, people, communication, leadership, and teamwork will always be key elements of growth.
What has been the biggest challenge for the organization?
One of them has been trying to find our place in the market. We are structured much differently compared to some of the giant cloud companies like AWS and Azure. We are a self-funded, minority-owned private company. We’ve grown nearly 100% organically, and so, sometimes resources can be a challenge when we want to make strategic acquisitions of any kind. We must remain a good steward of each resource. Our CFO is terrific, she does an incredible job of managing the economics of our organization. Thankfully, we’ve been able to overcome each challenge.
Sometimes, it’s also about recognizing our core strengths and where we might be stretched too thin when serving certain projects. We don’t want to risk running through our resources and causing burnout. I remember one project we took on, and by the end, it felt like trudging through quicksand, the way it sucked us down. That said, we still managed to overcome the situation and gain valuable insight from the experience.
When it comes to what CloudKey offers, how would you describe the cloud platform?
Of what I consider all our crowning achievements, this platform sits at the top. All the past experience that we cultivated has made it possible to bring to market our public cloud platform that is completely automated and drastically reduces the complexity a customer experiences. We know there are many cloud offerings out there that require highly technical people to manage and operate them. With our CloudKey platform, everything is already done for you in the background. The idea behind our platform is to provide a very solid, completely protected, scalable workload that’s met with a very low RTO and RPO.
If there’s a disaster event, the RTO is how soon you can recover. The RPO looks back at a point before the event from which you want to recover. When RTO and RPO are really shortened, it gives you higher resiliency. There’s a lot of automation and a lot of work in the background. A lot of maintenance that we do in this cloud platform means that we are able to take all of the complexity, or I should say the majority of the complexity, and present it to the customer in a very user-friendly way. People with a high degree of IT experience or very minimal IT experience can operate CloudKey. And plus, a huge advantage is the option to be multi-site from day one. Not only are we replicating your passive data, but your active workload on each site, at or near real time. If there’s a disaster, you’ll still be able to operate quickly from your designated replication site.
What are some common issues that you see with the cloud today?
Public perception today about the cloud is somewhat inaccurate. When people say, “oh my data is in the cloud,” they think their data is already redundant. But if there’s no disaster recovery component, then thinking everything is just going to be okay is not accurate.
If you want to have a true, true cloud, to where you can fail over, even from a local disaster event, for example, CloudKey has the ability to handle that for you. You can go to certain cloud providers, and they can offer various things, but if they go down, there goes your service level agreement. You will still be down. It requires a concerted effort to ensure disaster recovery. Depending on your risk appetite, it takes not just local redundancy but also georedundancy to help make sure local disaster doesn’t bring you down. That’s a common misconception still.
What do you imagine is next for CloudKey? What is next for the cloud industry?
Expanding! We are operating from multiple CloudKey locations now, but sooner than later we’ll expand our nationwide footprint, as well as internationally in Europe and Asia. The proliferation of the cloud industry is still quite aggressive, with big sections of the market still yet to adopt the cloud.
As for the cloud industry, I’d say once the technology is more advanced, as the price decreases and becomes more accessible, more organizations will start to abandon their own infrastructure and move to the cloud. It’s going to be very common, with the price going down, for organizations to start using cloud functions more regularly. From there it’s going to be as common as the internet. You might not hear it as much from the consumer level, but most of the B2B will be in the cloud.