Speaking with IT decision makers about the problems they're facing, what products they've considered to address those problems, and what product they chose — and why — can be very enlightening. Such conversations cut directly to the chase and avoid a great deal of catchphrase marketing from vendors.
This time I spoke with two contacts from SecureTrading, Inc. — EVP Kevin Dodson and COO Ted Friedman — to learn why technology from Connectria was selected.
(Note: A quick discussion of who Connectria is and a bit about its "No Jerks" philosophy follows the notes from our discussion.)
Please introduce yourself and your organization.
We're Kevin Dodson and Ted Friedman both of Secure Trading, which is owned by the UC Group.
We intend to help land-based casinos and others to enter the U.S. gaming market smoothly once the marketplace regulations are finalized. SecureTrading Inc. is poised to provide a complete suite of services that ensure safe financial transactions and required consumer protections. The company will enable licensed gambling operators quickly and efficiently to be in full compliance with Internet gambling regulations as they are finalized.
We don't have anything to do with the actual games — that is handled by the gaming companies. Our offerings include providing player registration, verification and validation to ensure that the player is in a location where online gambling is legal and meets the conditions of that jurisdiction.
The company also provides financial payments processing; tax computation, collection, payment and reporting; and responsible gambling tools that will allow players to self-exclude from future online gambling activity or elect online to seek help for problem gambling.
What were you doing that required this type of technology?
We needed a custom hosting solution because of the requirements for security, reliability and a specific software stack. We are using IBM's hardware and a suite of Oracle software. The service provider had to have high levels of expertise and have in-depth knowledge of PCI standards and practices.
The type of data we hold is sensitive. It must be held in a PCI compliment way. We needed a cloud service provider that had a history of success supporting this type of application.
Furthermore, we needed a service provider that could safely handle the transactional load our application imposes on the infrastructure. We also needed to be able to scale as the workload scales.
What products did you consider before making a selection?
We actually considered several providers, but only a few knew how to deal with PCI standards, worked with IBM systems and Oracle software. A couple of the providers were not interested or willing to support a gaming workload.
Connectria had the experience and the knowledge that fit our needs. They were also willing and able to deal with our strict requirements. Their flexibility was a factor in our decision.
Why did you select this product?
We felt comfortable with Connectria's services and support. The company had in-depth understanding of IBM's server offerings. They suggested moving to IBM's Flex servers which was an upgrade from our current systems. They were also comfortable supporting our Oracle software and our PCI compliant processes.
Connectria's responsiveness was a major factor. They were willing to get down into the trenches with us to develop a workable environment.
What tangible benefit have you received through the use of this product?
It is a bit hard to answer this question, we're still setting up the infrastructure at this moment. We have gotten the benefit of their expertise and that has been quite helpful.
What advice would you offer others who are facing similar circumstances?
Make sure that you select a data center partner that really will be a partner. Make sure that you select a partner that can work with you to accomplish your goals. We've seen how it can be done well and how it can be done badly.
Just because you've outsourced some pieces of the problem, you can't walk away from the responsibility for the results. The responsibility applies on both sides. Both parties have to agree to accept that responsibility and work together to handle it.
Our dealings with Connectria showed that they would help even if it was an area they normally don't handle. They would still help us diagnose problems and would work with us to create a solution. They promised that type of working relationship and have been true to their word.
A bit about Connectria
Connectria provides cloud computing, managed hosting and custom hosting solutions to over 1,000 customers in over 30 countries. The company delivers complex multi-vendor solutions, and supports a very broad range of technologies, managed services and security in the industry.
One of the most interesting components of Connectria's approach is its "No Jerks Allowed" company philosophy. The company points out that as "The Jerk Free Company", it has established a unique culture where every individual goes "the extra mile" to take care of customers.
The company also claims that "Being The Jerk Free Company extends beyond our people too. We make it easy to do business with us through flexible terms, scalable solutions and straight-forward pricing to serve the hosting needs of large and small organizations alike."