Ben Birchall - WPA Pool / Getty Images
show image

Sooraj Shah

Contributing Editor

Sooraj Shah is Contributing Editor of New Statesman Tech with a focus on C-level IT leader interviews. He is also a freelance technology journalist.

“If a client isn’t serious about security we would walk away,” says OryxAlign CEO

OryxAlign is a managed services provider (MSP) that has been running since 2007. The size of the business has doubled over the last three years. It now has 80 employees, with two main offices in London and Manchester.

The MSP’s key focuses are around cyber security and cloud, providing infrastructure management, user support and management, data management and a whole range of on-site engineering and remote service desk functions.

“We’re targeting clients that have between 50 and 500 users – that tends to be where our sweet spot is,” says CEO Carl Henriksen.

The aim, Henriksen explains, is to provide a partnership approach rather than an outsourced provider approach – something that most MSPs are keen to emphasise. 

“We’re doing a lot of work around cloud migrations and transformation-type projects. If I look at our project delivery around the last six to 12 months we’re delivering more around cloud migrations into multi-cloud environments, in addition to the usual Office 365 and SharePoint migrations,” he says.

“When you’re moving an organisation off legacy file servers which are either sitting in a private cloud platform or an on-premises data centre, and moving them into AWS, Azure, SharePoint and others, we are transforming the business quite significantly,” he adds.

Henriksen says these types of projects are far more challenging than three years ago when the company was focusing more on replacing servers and virtualizing servers – in line with customer demand at the time. He puts the added complexity down to a lot more business change, including changes to workflow and the way in which organisations are processing and accessing data.

“We’re becoming a lot more involved with the client’s organisation as a whole, in terms of how they operate,” he says.

The company provides a fixed monthly cost to support client environments, manage infrastructure, and ensure that the infrastructure is both available and secure at all times. In order to maintain profitability, Henriksen says that the aim is to minimise the amount of support tickets, incidents and problems that stem from each environment.

“As most service providers do, we track our time down to the minute so we know if we’re spending hundreds of hours on a client side dealing with tickets and fighting fires then we’re effectively running at a potential loss,” says Henriksen.

“So cyber security is an interesting area because we have to make sure our client sites are secured and that they’ve invested correctly in technology because in the event of a cyber attack it is just so time consuming for us as well as the client to get back to business as usual,” he adds.

This means that OryxAlign has to be vocal about cyber security and insist on its clients taking it seriously. If they don’t take it seriously then Henriksen says the company would walkaway because the workload and the burden of having to deal with the aftermath is not worth the hassle.

On the security side, OryxAlign overlays a vendor’s product – such as Microsoft or Barracuda’s – on the security endpoints of a customer. The managed service is then around monitoring, reporting and alerting what comes out of those applications. In addition, the company is soon to launch a proactive threat hunting service, which would monitor endpoints and look for potential vulnerabilities within that client environment.

“We’ve been managing the infrastructure for years and now we’re effectively moving and evolving into managing the security applications that we’re implementing to secure the client’s environment,” says Henriksen.